Traveling and teaching in England this summer I've had a remarkable release from childcare responsibilities. Part of it is that my kids are older now — my 19-year-old daughter requires almost no additional care (though she's happy to have someone else buy her lunch!), while my son, who just turned 12, can certainly stay home alone for an hour or two without anxiety. Part of it is that my husband is along with me, and has no other formal responsibilities of his own, so he is picking up all the slack.
Why are we training students for a dying industry?
My college, like so many others, has a student newspaper. It's published on newsprint, it comes out twice a semester, and it sometimes gets facts right. (I always enjoy the man-on-the-street parts the most.)
Our local daily newspaper, meanwhile, is in a death spiral. That's a common enough phenomenon that I can say that without really revealing my location.
The serial crises that affect higher education in America carry with them an accompanying enthusiasm for big thinking. Big thinking involves the expansion of good ideas into major movements, transformations, inflection points, and other moments of significance. Big ideas serve many purposes. They offer hooks for conferences, papers, and symposia sponsored by associations and foundations, each seeking a position on the leading edge of revolutionary change.
As longtime readers know, I'm no fan of the "D" grade. Basically, I don't understand it. (For the longer version of my anti-D diatribe, see here.) It's passing, sort of, but it won't get taken in transfer unless it's safely hidden among other, higher grades. It gives credit, but in some sequences, it doesn't let you move forward. As grades go, it's particularly ambiguous.
Last week, I heard a new twist on the evil of D's.
I interned at a VA medical center in the early 1990s. In some ways, the experience was a glimpse into the future: funds recently allocated to assist veterans of the first Gulf war had allowed the VA system access to state-of-the-art equipment and training opportunities and the ability to hire first-rate clinicians. In other ways, though, the place was a throwback to the 1950s, when all of the patients and doctors were male, and sexist jokes and attitudes were de rigueur.
According to an article in The Guardian last week, new photographic evidence of climate disruption was recently released by the Obama administration.
While it doesn't contain anything truly startling -- the featured symptom is shrinking of arctic ice sheets, which is already well-established -- it does provide some striking photographs.
-- Yesterday I phoned in a conference talk as Dean Dad. Scott Jaschik did a panel at a regional conference of community college leaders, mostly presidents, discussing changes in the venues for public discourse on higher ed. He spoke primarily about journalism and the blogosphere, and I addressed the group via speakerphone as a sort of Exhibit A. There's something strange about doing a conference talk when you can't see the audience. It reminded me a little of my radio days, except that I never went that long uninterrupted on the air.
Today I'm fortunate enough to post the first of three parts of an extended interview with writer and teacher Thomas E. Kennedy, by writer and teacher Okla Elliott. (See here for a review I wrote back in May of one of Kennedy's novels.)