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October 22, 2008 - 6:10am
I had one of those moments of cognitive dissonance this week, when I was at a meeting trying to establish a regional consortium to prepare workers for a particular industry.
October 22, 2008 - 5:44am
At breakfast Monday morning my husband came downstairs to announce that he’d thought of something for his Christmas list. Hurray, I thought, quickly grabbing pen and paper to write down an idea from the world’s most difficult person to shop for. “I need a new dive watch,” he said. “Oh, great,” was my sarcastic response. “Something nice and cheap.” We agreed that it was probably too extravagant a gift and that we’d have to see if we could afford it. But our son suddenly chimed in from his waffle:
October 22, 2008 - 5:38am
So, when all is said and done, what matters is getting Greenback to a position of sustainability. We need to get out of the habit of taking more (of anything) than we put back. We need to learn how to stop creating wastes we don't resorb. We need to get out of what the cyberneticians call "positive feedback loops" because, after a while, the feedback doesn't seem all that positive. We need to find, and model, and pass on to our students a sense of balance, of equilibrium, of stability.
October 20, 2008 - 10:04pm
The comments on Aeron Haynie's post last week got me thinking: are benefits for working parents fair? Some commenters suggest that they aren't, that parents get "extra compensation" in the guise of health insurance, tuition remission benefits, etc. Of course, those don't end up as money in the pockets of said parents -- but they are additional expenses paid by the employer, it's true.
October 20, 2008 - 10:00pm
An alert reader sent me this story from the Seattle Times. It's about the hiring and abrupt firing, with allegations of physical assault, of Washington State University Provost Steven Hoch. It's worth reading in its entirety, since every detail seems sillier than the one before it. Even without any additional information, I read the story very differently than its author apparently does.
October 19, 2008 - 9:47pm
If you want to watch a dean's eyes roll back into her head, just ask for something and tell her to "find the money in the budget." I've heard this phrase dozens of times over the last several years, but it still strikes me as slightly odd. It gives the impression that funding new projects is a matter of looking for change between sofa cushions. And, in a way, it is.
October 19, 2008 - 6:17pm
In the endless Sisyphean task of explaining university finances to many audiences, we often encounter considerable skepticism about our permanent need for more money. No university worth its diplomas will argue that it has enough money to do its job. Not even the richest among us.
October 17, 2008 - 6:32pm
First, a word of clarification about the title. "Plotting the course" was a phrase that first popped into my alleged mind in reference to preparing a campus carbon neutrality plan. But then, I realized that such would only lead to confusion. I might think of a carbon neutrality plan as a "course of action", but (somehow) the term "course" brings other images to most minds on campus. So, bowing to the inevitable, lets think of "course" as a unit of curriculum.
October 17, 2008 - 6:27pm
Drama Mama is officially leaving the building. This is my last post for Mama PhD. Just so you know it’s not because I am getting “outed” at my university as someone concerned with issues of parenthood and academia (see last week’s post) or because I got my ego crushed a few months ago (see my post on sodium laurel sulfate) or because this doesn’t count as scholarship (although I still might consider Mama PhD the musical).
October 17, 2008 - 3:21pm
I know: I’m the one who chose to write, and to complain about the problems inherent in one’s own choices is tiresome. Hemingway says it more colorfully in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, when he upbraids himself for getting discouraged (and hungry, supposedly) as an apprentice writer in the early days in Paris. “Outside on the rue de l’Odeon I was disgusted with myself for having complained about things. I was doing what I did of my own free will…. You God damn complainer. You dirty phony saint and martyr,” he says.

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