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July 2, 2009 - 12:39pm
I woke up this morning to hear the end of a seemingly pleasant tete-a-tete between Mark Zandi (of Moody's Economy) and Robert Reich (currently at Berkeley). The statement that stuck in my mind came from the mouth of Zandi; he said "I don't think there's any other issue that policymakers face that is as difficult as the current housing foreclosure crisis." Ummm ... wrong.
July 2, 2009 - 12:28am
Because I’m on such a tight deadline I pretty much read, write, or think about my topic all the time, so when I go to bed I like to treat myself to something diverting. That’s why I’ve been reading Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621; selected edition by Michigan State UP, 1965).
July 1, 2009 - 8:50pm
My college is grappling with this issue now, and I’m wondering how others have handled it. We have some twelve-month professional staff – counselors, librarians, etc. – who would like to be able to teach the occasional class during their regular workday as part of their regular workload.
July 1, 2009 - 8:46pm
I’ve just realized that when I’m exercising I take responsibility for the whole room. Let me clarify: I’m not teaching this class, just working out. But I feel compelled to smile encouragingly to the newbie, notice when the person behind me seems exhausted, and worry about the folks who are off-rhythm. I watch the clock, check out the muscle tone on the (much) younger woman in front of me, and wonder how much work I’ll get done when I get home.
July 1, 2009 - 2:31pm
It's just dawned on me that we shouldn't be talking about "accountability" in the educational system. The current connotation of "accountability" is that somewhere there's a responsibility to identifiable individuals, and that's the wrong way to look at any particular system of delivering education. Educational system quality is certainly a topic for attention, but "accountability" isn't a useful construct.
June 30, 2009 - 9:36pm
As someone integral to the hiring process at a public institution, I take particular interest in the New Haven firefighters' case, Ricci v. DeStefano. I don’t want to address the specific facts of the Ricci case, since specific facts aren’t what Supreme Court decisions are (supposed to be) about. I want to try to figure out, based on this case, what employers are supposed to do when they use a criterion – any criterion – that may have a ‘disparate impact’ on minority candidates.
June 29, 2009 - 9:17pm
There was a time when I faithfully brought lunch to work. It was economical, and it saved driving, and it seemed vaguely virtuous. But I noticed, gradually, that never leaving campus made me batty. It felt like house arrest.
June 29, 2009 - 3:27pm
"Accountability" is one of those lightning-rod words in the educational community. Far too often, it means teaching only those things (easily memorized) that can readily be tested. After all, if you can't measure educational success, how can you know that you're achieving it?
June 28, 2009 - 8:38pm
I just finished Bruce Weber’s new book , As They See ‘Em, which is about professional umpires. As a longstanding baseball fan, it’s a hoot, but I couldn’t help but notice a few, oddly-comforting parallels to the academic world. Take, for example, this excerpt is from an interview Weber did with Pat O’Conner, who was at the time the chief operating officer of Minor League Baseball. He was in charge of negotiating contracts with the minor league umps’ union. Minor league umps make ten to twenty thousand dollars a year.
June 28, 2009 - 8:25pm
Psychology is a second career for me. I returned to graduate school at age 36, and turned 40 during my internship year.

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