Herman Berliner

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September 23, 2012
The cheating scandal at Harvard which could involve as many as 125 students in a single class has gotten extensive publicity. And the impression given is that this is an unusual event.  For example, as quoted in the New York Times, Harvard’s dean of undergraduate education noted that this cheating incident at Harvard “is unprecedented in its scope and magnitude.”  This may be correct, given that it involves almost half of the class, but cheating and academic dishonesty are not unusual events and the “scope and magnitude” of what happens nationwide is certainly disturbing.
September 16, 2012
I’m watching our students, especially our 1st year students, walk around campus from class to class- with backpacks filled with books.  And I know from looking at course outlines that textbooks in paper format continue to dominate higher education classes as they did when I went to college.  There is even a feeling, still prevalent, that regardless of all the technological advances, textbooks, as we have always known them, will continue their dominance for at least another decade.  I don’t think that will happen.
September 9, 2012
I just returned from a family vacation week in the Netherlands spending time at the Floriade (which is the once every ten years flower show) as well as time in Amsterdam and th surrounding areas.  I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  Certain observations and comparisons are inevitable and these observations may help us and our county in the years ahead.
August 26, 2012
With much of high education in a constrained situation, there are more and more discussions regarding how to operate in an ongoing environment of greater than historical constraints for much of higher education. I have talked about a number of possible alternatives to deal with these constraints in a relatively recent blog including larger class size, more adjuncts, etc.  Another important part of this equation are the choices that are provided and how extensive those choices are.  And here, I am writing about the choice of courses within a major as well as areas of major.
August 19, 2012
As I have noted before I am a car person and so last night I took advantage of an opportunity from a local dealer to take a preview firsthand look at the new 2013 Cadillac ATS.  The ATS is aimed at the Mercedes C class and BMW 3 class competition, a competition that BMW has dominated for a number of years. The luxury entry level cars are key bread and butter cars for the upscale brands and Cadillac has been absent from this market for many years. I actually remember when Cadillac first entered this market — the vehicle was the Cadillac Cimarron, a mediocre leather trimmed version of the Chevrolet Cavalier.
August 12, 2012
Part of my non-work identity is defined by three interests – Broadway musicals, chocolate and cars. In the cars category, I read virtually every car magazine and look at virtually all car related websites. I don’t claim this is in any way intellectual but growing up at the time that cars helped define the national and individual identity, and personified progress, made a tremendous impact.
August 5, 2012
I always enjoy a good laugh bit it rarely happens when I am reading economics. I’ve never thought of economics as the “dismal science” but likewise, it never seems to be a barrel of laughs. Two weeks ago, while reading one of the Sunday newspapers, I came across an interview by Mary Ann Gwinn of The Seattle Times with Yoram Bauman, Ph.D. who describes himself as “the world’s first and only stand-up economist.”
July 29, 2012
For many years, beginning when I was in college, I went to a dentist whose office was within two blocks of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).  Whenever the opportunity presented itself, I would also stop at Chock full o’Nuts next door for a brownie.  (For those of you who have never heard of this chain, consider it a more vanilla Starbucks.)  And if I had extra time, I would spend some time at the MOMA.  I won’t say that this made visiting a dentist pleasurable but I always enjoyed the time spent at the MOMA.
July 22, 2012
I am optimistic that the “Flipped Classroom” learning strategy has the potential to enhance learning. The actual class material is presented on-line and then the classroom becomes a setting for questions and in-depth analysis and discussion that builds on the on-line lesson.  I know that this learning strategy is presented as the newest approach to learning. It may be very effective but in reality it builds on what has been in place for many many years. 
July 15, 2012
In a typical year, I attend one Hofstra commencement ceremony in December and four during May.  The May commencement exercises have individual ceremonies for undergraduate, graduate, Law, and an Honors Convocation while the December ceremony has all of the above for midyear graduates.  Only one of our May ceremonies, the undergraduate ceremony, has been held outdoors regularly and for this year’s ceremony, the weather was perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold, nice breeze, not raining, no thunder and lightning.  For an outdoor ceremony, you could not have had better weather. And yet, within two weeks of this year’s ceremony we made a decision that going forward the undergraduate ceremony would be divided by colleges and schools into two separate ceremonies and would be held indoors in our comfortable air-conditioned arena.


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