Herman Berliner

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May 20, 2012
My older daughter came home last week, after taking a New York State ELA (English Language Arts) statewide exam. Normally after she takes a test, she mentions whether the test was easy or hard and what, if any, were the areas that give her difficulty. This time it was different. She complained about a reading passage concerning a race between a pineapple (that did not move) and a hare. 
May 13, 2012
On the same day a few weeks ago, I happened to be looking at a Hofstra Alumni newsletter and an article that I had clipped from The New York Times.  To digress for a moment, “clipped” is the right expression since I was reading the actual newspaper, not the online version.  I only read the paper version on weekends.  During the week, I read my paper online and am very efficient in reading only those articles that I identify as of great interest.  On the weekends, and at a more leisurely pace, I look through the entire paper and just by skimming find additional interesting articles to read.  There is clearly a role for both, though it will be interesting to see if the economics of printing a paper, in an online world, is viable.
May 6, 2012
It is clearer and clearer that incorporating active learning and incorporating experiential learning enhances the learning experience. And I believe that any robust assessment program will underscore the importance of more such learning opportunities. It is also clear to me that experiential or active learning shouldn’t take place only in higher education. It should in fact be built into as much of the k-12 learning experience as possible.
April 22, 2012
I’m was not at all surprised when Santa Monica College abandoned their  proposed two-tier fee schedule.  Charging more for more popular courses alienates both students as well as faculty.  And if one three credit course earns as much credit toward graduation as another three credit course, how can there be a differential pricing mechanism?
April 15, 2012
The worries began as soon as the economic news was released.  After three months of strong economic growth, the March figures just recently announced were a major disappointment.  The gain in March was a modest 120,000 jobs, half of what the gains were from December through February.  And of course as soon as the statistics were announced, both the economic doubters as well as the political opponents of the Obama administration began to question the strength of the recovery. For me, one month of bad news doesn’t represent the start of a new recession just as one month of good news doesn’t represent a vibrant recovery. 
April 8, 2012
I read with interest the recent article in Inside Higher Education regarding the retiring President of Westminster College preparing for retirement by compiling an eportfolio.  President Bassis prepared the eportfolio both “to reflect on his 41 years in higher education…but also as a way to communicate to students and faculty members his steadfast belief in electronic portfolios as a method of cataloging and assessing student work.”
March 25, 2012
We are just completing our search for the founding dean of our School of Engineering and Applied Science. The finalists are all impressive but the search process itself has also been impressive. 
March 18, 2012
We have a very active and respected Center for Civic Engagement on our campus. The Center has undertaken many worthwhile initiatives including the development of “a brief workshop for students who will be working with off campus communities.” This workshop, which is slightly over an hour in length, examines how students feel about working with off-campus communities and how these communities feel about working with students. 
March 11, 2012
I am just back from a family vacation in Hawaii.  And it really is a family vacation when we go to Hawaii.  Not only is it a great venue for a vacation with always spectacular weather, but since we also have family living there, we also get a chance for some valuable family time.  This time we split our visit to Hawaii between two vacation clubs. 
March 4, 2012
I was reminded a few weeks ago, in response to a situation I will outline in the next paragraph, of how important customer service is throughout education and especially at the very competitive higher education level.  And by customer service, I am not suggesting a weakening of standards; rather, I am just suggesting that we, especially in private higher education, do all that is necessary to minimize administrative hassles and in that way help our students succeed.


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