Monday, January 31, 2005

The Fake Academic Freedom Debate?

A posting on Sherman Dorn's blog about the David Horowitz and Graham Larkin exchange, with thoughtful commentary.

Trading Places

Here is a proposal to deal with the the overrepresentation of "liberals" in the professoriate, from Craig Koslofsky, assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The liberal dominance of the professoriate must be balanced out - the sooner the better. Training a new cohort of conservative profs will take too long. I propose an immediate solution: "liberal" profs trade jobs with Fortune 500 CEO's and board members.

The only quick way to balance academia is to "harvest" conservatives and Republicans from a similar white-collar field where they are even more grossly over-represented than "liberals" in academia: the corporate leadership of the USA.

Corporate board members and CEO's begin teaching: o.k., they'll have to take a pay cut to about 1/100 of their former salaries and trade the corporate jet for the bus or maybe an old Volvo wagon or a Prius. But they're all "people persons" - real motivators. They'll inspire students in a snap. They may have trouble sealing off their conservative views from their teaching and research, but hey, they're known for their restraint.

Faculty become CEO's: I volunteer! I may have to hire someone to help me spend my money, but that shouldn't be a problem. What if I screw up due to lack of experience? I've got a list
of the excuses in the testimony and statements of Lay, Kozlowski (no relation!), Ebbers, Eisner, etc. handy to claim ignorance of any damage I might do. In the end, there's always the golden parachute. It is a violation of my conscience to earn 200X the wages of a typical employee in my corporation, but it's a sacrifice I'll make - if the CEO's agree to "trading places."

Let's take the offensive on this problem of imbalance... in the boardroom _and_ the classroom.

I think Craig is on to something...and I plan to get my old Toyota ready for the trade up!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Tiskit, A Multi Task-it...

While on AIM with my daughter about her stolen coat, I figure this may be the least distracted part of today to listen more carefully to Henry Farrell's NPR interview with Scott Simon from yesterday, about blogs and blog rumors.

Good...glad to see the site offers a link to the Foreign Policy article upon which the interview is based... Reading my e-mail while the story cues up...there goes an instant message about the errant comes Scott Simon's instantly recognizable voice...hmmm, to complete the chaos, better turn on the tube, about time for Desperate Housewives...such may have to be the balm for a frustration filled, frittered Sunday here in the brilliant, white, frozen tundra.

Higher Ed, Inc - from Branded Nation

Bekke Aaron sent this to me a few days ago, and just as I was blogging it today, I read University Diaries, and saw there a longer post about it than I intended. So, go there to read more and better...

The essay linked above is an excerpt from a new book by James B. Twitchell, professor of English at the University of Florida, titled Branded Nation: The Marketing of Megachurch, College Inc., and Museumworld. Twitchell, the author of a number of books about American culture, discusses the forces of corporatization and commerce in today's universities, churches, and museums in a lively prose style.

The Academic Freedom Watch: Horowitz and Larkin

Thanks to Nick Burbules for bringing this to my attention: a debate, if one can call it that, between leftist turned ultra conservative commentator David Horowitz and Graham Larkin, professor of art and art history at Stanford University. Larkin draws us in with evocation of his walking to his art department office in the shadow of the Hoover Institution, where Horowitz was speaking. Terrific juxtaposed image...

New Cell Phone Hazard: Students Take Note!

College Then: Drunk Driving.
College Now: Drunk Dialing.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Pit Bulls and Academic Freedom, part 2

My friend Alan Beck, whom I talked about yesterday, continues to be contacted by the pit bull lobby. Here is a message from him on the continuing pressure on his academic freedom:

From my latest 'slide' I was blamed for also causing Boston's law, which I didn't know existed. Sure enough, Boston has a pit bull law, not a ban, but significant management restrictions.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Say what you want...unless it is about MY pooch!

My dear friend Alan Beck, director of Purdue's Center for the Human/Animal Bond, has been giving testimony in Ontario about a bill to ban pit bull terriers. He came forth with years of research on why this breed is especially dangerous.

Beck has received an avalanche of hate mail threatening his job and impugning his integrity from, you guessed it, pit bull owners. Though the Canadian bill would not take away any existing pets, it would not allow folks to get any more pit bulls.

I have worked with Alan on a number of projects in the nascent interdisciplinary area he has pioneered, anthrozoology, and we have gotten grants and written about the moral and cognitive dimensions of keeping pets in classrooms. His own cutting edge research dates to the early 70s, and he believed, perhaps naively, that he was merely exercising his academic freedom in offering these data, gathered by him and many other scientists, and reported in peer reviewed journals.

But talking about limiting one's pets raises the heat in a way that is eerily like the abortion debate. And academic freedom can be a casualty of such efforts to intimidate and silence free inquiry.

Happy 70th Birthday David Lodge!

From Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac today…

It's the birthday of the English novelist and critic David Lodge, (books by this author) born in London, England (1935). He is the author of several novels, many of which resemble Lodge's own life.

Lodge was born in suburban London to a traditional Catholic family, and he was raised in the years following World War II. His early novel, The Picturegoers (1960), is about a Catholic family in South London who take in a university student as a lodger. Other early novels bear striking resemblance to Lodge's own life: Ginger, You're Barmy (1962) draws upon Lodge's own compulsory service in the British military, and The British Museum is Falling Down (1970) follows the comical story of a Catholic graduate student working on his thesis. Aside from his semi-autobiographical novels, Lodge closely protects his privacy.

Lodge is the creator of the fictional town of Rummidge, which is based on Birmingham, England, and has been the setting for several novels. He has also created the imaginary American state of Euphoria, located between North California and South California, and is home to a state university in the city of Esseph, which is a fictionalized version of Berkeley, where Lodge taught for a brief time. His novels set in academia are usually satirical in nature.

David Lodge said, "A novel is a long answer to the question 'What is it about?' I think it should be possible to give a short answerin other words, I believe a novel should have a thematic and narrative unity that can be described."

Great...we are all dipping into Rummidge and Euphoria right now, as we read Changing Places as our next novel in my course. Guaranteed to warm us up in the frozen tundra of north central Indiana!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sandy and the Professor

OK, guilty pleasure night...The OC...some daughter bonding and sharing next day on IM and email fo sho...and well, just love watching Peter's pretty painful watching Mischa Barton...can't decide if she is SUPPOSED to be Miss Slateface, or her facial expressions are naturally petrified. I'll give her the benefit of the former...she is younger than my daughter, and I am generous tonight.

Gallagher's character, Sandy Cohen, a former public defender now living in a palatial Newport Beach house, gets a call from his favorite law professor from Berkeley, who wants to find his long lost daughter, who was Sandy's love back in the idealistic days of law school. Don't get to see much of the professor, guess I will have to extend my guilt next week to see another Hollywood perfesser type. He looks kindly...he has retired to Princeton...he is dying...hey, he's the Fox's Mr. Professor Man! No imperial Professor Kingsfield from Paper Chase here!

...BUT what if I want to STAY in my little box of soft feathers?

A colleague of mine is taking advantage of Purdue's Faculty Program of Study in a Second Discipline. It allows a few faculty some modest release time and supply and expense funds to pursue further knowledge and expertise in a second discipline.

The program is not well known or talked about much. In spite of rhetoric from administrators about inter- and multidisciplinary research, and the genuine desire of faculty to get out of our departmental "silos," many of us are too chicken to do it. Tenure and promotion aim one toward specialization, as does merit pay review. But from the folks I have spoken to about this program, it is well worth the effort they took to climb out of their nests.

Nickleby Meets Hollywood

On Eduwonk, a posting calling Coach Carter the first post No Child Left Behind (NCLB, Nickleby, unfunded mandate, you choose) movie.

Hollywood usually goes for the simple, stirring narrative structure in its "ed" movies: Think To Sir With Love, Conrack, Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds, Lean on Me...the list goes on.

The emphasis is on the individual teacher or principal standing up for the kids, against the bureaucracy. What educational theorists call the "social context of education" tends to drop out with these tales of individual effort, creating the illusion that the singular, heroic, dedicated teacher or principal can effect systemic change. But Eduwonk makes the case for this film being "data driven," at least in part, and thus moving beyond the romance of the singular, virtuous teacher or principal carrying everyone along to a brighter new world of educational promise.

Journal Day...

Today I need to clear away more blogging, no more reading RSS feeds on, I am already experiencing withdrawal from this curiously addictive activity!

I need to make headway on the journal I am editing. Gotta get information off to Bepress to set up their nifty online management system, and then soon the journal will be completely online and in paper. Best of both worlds. Then there is the sending out of manuscripts for review, the submitting of applications to indexing services, the author queries piled up. Fortunately none of this is by paper, thank goodness. What did we do before computers? Ah, I am old enough to remember actually typewriting my dissertation and using correction tape or fluid. Good god.

Journal editing is a timesuck, a black hole...but I am lovin' every minute of it. I just need some more help...our associate dean promises some...good!

But HOW do you spread it??

From the NY Times...

    "The story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people. I understand that. We value life. And we weep and mourn when soldiers lose their life. But it is the long-term objective that is vital, and that is to spread freedom." PRESIDENT BUSH

    I vote that the hard work my colleague Chuck Kline is doing, rebuilding Kabul U. in Afghanistan, or converting the Soviet style higher education system in Mongolia to a western model, as a better way to "spread" freedom!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Repositories enhance researching process from the Purdue Exponent (student newspaper)

I found this on Peter Suber's open access news article in my own campus student newspaper. How is that for the reflexivity of the blogosphere? Thanks, Peter.

The President speaks...and you listen...

Another perspective on the style of Harvard president Larry Summers, beyond his recent remarks on gender differences. Seems like he suffers from a lack of what Daniel Goleman calls "emotional intelligence." Sharp discussion should be welcome, but not when it is accompanied by humiliation of your interlocutor.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Thanks, Corax, for the link to this New Yorker's a blip...

" was started in 1999 by Josh and Ricky, who grew up in a suburb of Baltimore called Timonium and have been friends since sixth grade. The site began as a place to collect all the jokes, links, and silly photographs that college students like to e-mail around, and served as a kind of nerdy diversion for Josh, who went to the University of Richmond, and Ricky, who was at Wake Forest. Eventually, they recruited Jakob, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology (whom Ricky and Josh met online, although he also grew up in Timonium), to help manage the site; Zach, a college friend of Ricky’s from Wake Forest, joined later."

More on Diploma Mills...New Year's Resolution #9

Found this on the University Diaries blog, quoted from the student newspaper at Wash U.:

"9. Buy your Ph.D. from a bogus diploma mill Here are your options. (1) Remain in school for another grueling decade, slavishly writing your pathetic doctoral dissertation while working a part-time job at Applebee's. (2) Pay a measly $3,600 for a Ph.D. from prestigious Hamilton University, where you can work at a leisurely pace in one of their "self-based external programs." All you need is the money, the time to take online courses and a 2,000-word thesis. Plenty of diploma mills, or "correspondence schools," exist, ranging from Hamilton, a converted Motel 6 in Wyoming, to Adam Smith University, which operates out of a hostel in Monrovia, Liberia, to Stanford University (of Arkansas). Sure, many of these institutes of higher learning have been discredited as fraudulent, but hey, if you can pull the wool over the eyes of some corporate interviewer using a degree you purchased for three months' pay at Blockbuster Video, what's stopping you? Earn your Ph.D. in 2005!"

But is it Art?

You will have to be a subscriber to the Chronicle to read the full linked article, but here is a bit...

* TWO ART PROFESSORS at the University of California at Los Angeles have retired to protest the university's failure to punish a graduate student who pointed a gun at himself in a classroom as part of a performance-art piece. One of the professors, Chris Burden, who was shot in the arm in a
well-known gallery performance in 1971, says times have changed.
--> SEE

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Squashed Philosophers

Found this via a post on David Weinberger's Joho the Blog...and he got it from "Staci"...good, got that attribution right, concerned with all this Rohan Pinto stuff going down (thanks to Nick for the heads up on RP)!

"There's no room at school for passion and imagination"

Last sentence..."But I am fearful that the tyranny of curricula, exams and league tables increasingly compels schools to rear battery students, when we all know that free-range is best."

Tag...Yer It!

I am trying to figure out tagging...and this after dinner talk listed on 1/22 by David Weinberger helps...lots of laughs in the background. The new mapping of knowledge post Dewey Decimal system...repeats some of the tropes from a previous talk Nick Burbules brought to my attention, and I discussed here on 12/29...but with more laughter, audience participation, and glass clinking!

I can just see a conference namebadge for this one...

* Dean
Confidential (Location undisclosed)
(date posted: 1/21/2005)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Academics give lessons on blogs

More on blogging, from the Merrie Olde...

Lagniappe...Growbag my good friend Nick Burbules 's "bonus items" at the end of his daily posts, I need a category to put stuff too good not to share.

I found the Growbag link on Randy Malamud's website. Randy is an English professor at Georgia State who writes about human/animal relations, an area I have also explored. He did the text for the In the Zoo slideshow. The others are worth dipping into also...some haunting, some alarming...some fun.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Maud Newton: A Blogger on Blogging

This essay describes with grace and self deprecating wit what is captivating, and engrossing, about blogging: the magnetism of informal, generous, hospitable prose characteristic of many blogs. Maud also hits straight on, though, the obsessive quality of blogging, and how it may interfere (odd word for what I am trying to express...crowd out?) with other writing, reading, or even interaction F2F with significant others.

How much of blogging leads to other, more distilled writing? Should I draft my articles and book chapters on my blog? It does help me with the higher education in film and fiction I am teaching...

Enough...Hazel, our kitten, needs tending. She keeps fighting with Gia, our older tabby. Jay Leno, a few feet away...on the inauguration: "So what is "pomp" it a fat pimp?" Good night....

Educating Rita...

We had a great time discussing Educating Rita in my Higher Ed in Film and Fiction class the other night. NONE of my students had seen the film...well, it is 1983...and I hadn't seen it myself in 20 years. It is still fresh and funny...and delves into some great issues in higher education.

One of my students consulted his wireless Palm during the film itself, to refresh his memory of Peer Gynt and Howard's End, and made an eloquent case for how these particular pieces of literature played off character developments in Educating Rita at the moment they were introduced. Nice touch, especially doing the Palm thing while the film is rolling!

Gotta read the Willy Russell play wife gave me a copy of that.

On to Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim on Tuesday night!

Here is the handout...schmushed the questions up close to save space here!

Film: Educating Rita (1983) Michael Caine as Frank, the professor, and Julie Walters as Rita, his student.

1 What does the title mean? Discuss.
2 Describe the two main characters, as well as Rita’s family, and Frank’s colleagues.
3 Is Frank typical of many professors?

4 What are Rita’s views of education? What about her husband, Denny?
5 What are Frank’s views of education?
6 What did Frank teach Rita, if anything?
7 What did Rita teach Frank, if anything?
8 Would Frank’s behavior be tolerated at Purdue?
9 Comment on Rita’s assignments and Frank’s advice on revision:

Her essay on Ibsen’s Peer Gynt.
Her essay on Macbeth.

10 Comment on Rita’s desire to go to Frank’s party, and the outcome.
11 What does Rita mean when she says she is a “half caste” and “in between”?
12 Is the “song” Rita sings at the beginning or the one at the end a better one?
13 Why does Frank not want to teach her a) in the beginning, and b) at the end? What are his reasons?
14 Are the changes brought about by education always good? Why does Frank bring up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the end?
15 Comment upon Rita’s roommate Trish.
16 Take 5 minutes and write what you think would happen to Frank and Rita in the 5 years after the ending of the film. Share with the class.

A New Revenue Stream!

When one of my colleagues asked me for help with his retirement planning, I thought something was up. Seems like the listing for Purdue University Press in the alumni magazine had me switched to be the editor of a book on personal finance and retirement, and those editors, from our business school, were now flogging my Dewey journal!

The husband and wife editors of the finance book were upset about this, and he called my wife at home when I was teaching, perhaps thinking I would be upset too.

I wasn't, really, but I thought it was hilarious, and so did my wife, that I, with the plodding TIAA CREF funds, was now considered an expert in retirement planning!

I wasn't quite sure of what was said about this, that "any publicity is good publicity..." but I know that my journal will get another plug in a correction next issue. So that is twice what the others got.

Say what, if I get that book on retirement planning, I plan to hang a shingle out and charge for my wisdom, while the two others can handle manuscript submissions on Dewey's legacy!

Take that Paper and Shove it, I ain't workin' for you no mo...

This from the Chronicle of Higher Education...:

"PAPER PROTEST: Susanne Lohmann has found an unusual way to protest the fact that the economics department at the University of California at Los Angeles has refused to grant her a joint appointment. She says she is "boycotting" requests to review articles submitted to national economics journals.

Ms. Lohmann, who has been a professor in the political-science department at UCLA since 1993 but earned her Ph.D. in economics, has long wanted to be part of the university's economics department. Her interdisciplinary research has been published in both leading economics and political-science journals. One international ranking of scholars shows her work cited more often than that of any other female economist in the world.

But the economics department at UCLA rejected her bid for a joint appointment in 2000 and has refused to reconsider. "Economics is very, very narrow and hostile toward new approaches," she says. Ms. Lohmann, who is 43 and a native of Germany, is now considering a job offer in economics from the University of Hamburg.

Professors in UCLA's economics department acknowledge that Ms. Lohmann is a good scholar. "Intellectually, she's certainly on par with other members of the department," says David K. Levine, interim chairman. But he says the bottom line in the department's decision to reject her was her "horrible personality." And he says he can't imagine why she would think refusing to review articles would improve her bid to join the department.

So far, Ms. Lohmann has turned down at least two dozen requests to review articles submitted to major economics journals. She won't halt her boycott, she says, until UCLA's economics department makes her a member."

Wow...when an ECONOMIST says someone has a "horrible personality" out! :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Study of Arabic Takes Off at Purdue

This is heartening news...

Why not just put up about an "invisible fence" like for Fido...or...?

What is education coming to? From the Beeb...

The Pomp, The Circumstance...The Collateral Damage

While watching the CBS coverage of the inauguration...the puff pieces on the Oscar de la Renta gowns worn by the faithful at the (count 'em) 10 balls... the parade...the $40 million spent on this...thinking back to FDR's 1945 inauguration, wartime too, a $10,000 budget slashed to $2000 out of respect to fighting soldiers and bereaved families...FDR's brief speech, a plain swearing in at the White House (first and only time), and a lunch of chicken salad and unfrosted pound cake...

and then this...

What does this have to do with higher education, dear reader? Well, I am a professor, home now, time away from the office, the work, or the fighting for "freedom" that men and women half my age are engaged in...I have the time to do this, to watch this spectacle, to dip into the think about where the heck our country is going.

Dan Rather blathering on about the Presidential Cadillac limo, with a concealed desktop and 10 disk CD changer and the protective glass...pretty pimped out...God help us.

I'm Sorry....So Sorry....

The text of Harvard president Larry Summers's letter to the Harvard community about his remarks about women and science, heavily reported elsewhere and buzzing in the blogosphere.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tsunami Before and After Pictures

Thanks to Bob Evans for this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

BA, Red Roof, MA, Day's Inn, PhD, Motel 6

An article about a top government official's PhD from a bogus diploma mill with a Motel 6 address in Evanston, WY.

God on the Quad

More to read about religion and higher education. Gotta get to that Fish piece and Steve's comments.

Better 'n Botox!

A British ad campaign that claimed that teaching is better than any anti-ageing cream.

Monday, January 17, 2005

#10, on Blogging, from Dave Pollard's How to Save the World

This entry below conjoins nicely with my previous post about writing, writing fluency, and the so-called "crisis" in academic publishing:

10. The Ultimate Utility of Blogging: Last, but certainly not least, is this remarkable statement from blogger Rob Paterson on the utility of blogging: "The utility of blogging to me is that it is recreating the lost world of a humanity that is connected to itself and hence to everything." Rob and I and a group of bloggers have been working on a compendium of our best and most important work, and we've been exchanging ideas on a theme or shared vision for the book. I suggested that, if it's going to sell, the book needs to have utility to the reader, especially the reader who barely knows what a blog (or online journalism) is. Rob identified three 'values' of blogging to him personally: Finding one's voice; Noticing what gives and what drains one's energy; Redefining the meaning of work as a function of community and fellowship instead of wage slavery. So he's saying, and I agree with him, that blogging (the participation in the conversation as both a journal reader and writer) re-centres you, frees you from being like, and seeing the world like, everyone else, and allows you to see the world and yourself differently, more profoundly (for better and for worse), and hence to liberate yourself and take charge of your own life. Self-awareness, self-reliance, and the personal liberation that comes from deep knowledge. Could there possibly be a higher utility for anything?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Production and Overproduction

An article, can't remember where I found it (Crooked Timber?) about the (over) production of scholarship in the academy. There seems to be a great deal about this on academic blogs lately, perhaps coincidental with the several midyear academic conferences (APA, AHA, MLA) that traditionally have meat market hiring components. I don't quite know what to do about this so called overproduction. I think much of the self publishing of blogs and the web is good...let a thousand flowers bloom... Following Robert Boice, a keen psychologist who has written wisely on academic writing, many, many more than the typical 10-15% who do most of the publishing could be publishing if they gained writing fluency and made writing less of a priority (Boice has interesting things to say about binge writing as well as academics who say they don't have time to write).

With Boice, I don't buy the argument that some academics should not bother publishing because they don't have anything to say, or that there is too much published.

Lindsay Waters's booklet, Enemies of Promise, which I have yet to read (ah, there is too much for me to read...hahahaha), says, if I remember the part I have skimmed, that we are forcing scholarship too early in a person's career. The claim, oft said, that there are books that should not be books. I begin to wonder about this too...will have to think about it. Boice talks about getting you to write BEFORE you are ready, and getting stuff out.

My major professor essentially thought that unless you could match Plato, you shouldn't publish it. Well, this may be a bit too strong...but I do remember that nearly crippling sentiment from graduate school. On the other hand, I did have another model...the "good enough" model of getting writing out, and using writing as a mode of communication and inquiry... I think I like this latter is healthier, and besides, Plato has been dead a long time.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Age of Egocasting by Christine Rosen, in The New Atlantis

A grad student in our College of Ed, whom I don't know well, sent me this fascinating article...thanks, Bekke!

Update: Christine Rosen interviewed on NPR on 1/23

The Little Professor...on Too Much Effort

I guess we need something truly ridiculous and moo2 to start the holiday weekend. Thanks, Miriam, for this link and your right-on commentary!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Religion and University Life

I am slowly building up to discuss this issue here...I have a piece that Stanley Fish has written about this topic in the Chronicle, called One University Under God, I have to read well as digest what I have learned about UCLA's Spirituality in Higher Education project.

So, here is a tidbit I have in waiting...

This is from the 1/4 Academe Today, the daily email update to subscribers of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

A glance at the current issue of "Religion & Education":
Students and spirituality

In separate essays, scholars at two colleges discuss student
spirituality and the need for physical spaces for religious
activities on their campuses.
In "The Complex and Rich Landscape of Student Spirituality:
Findings From the Goucher College Spirituality Survey," Kelly
Denton-Borhaug, a chaplain and assistant professor of philosophy
and religion at the Maryland college, discusses the results of
her recent study of undergraduates' religious practices.
While 77 percent of students consider themselves "spiritual,"
Ms. Denton-Borhaug writes, less than a quarter of those surveyed
connect their spirituality with a particular religious tradition
and only 16 percent participate in religious organizations on
the campus. The Goucher chapel, she says, is rarely used, except
for weddings, lectures, and musical performances. Few students
even mentioned it when asked in the survey to describe their
concept of a spiritual space.
Students overwhelmingly said they wanted solitude and privacy in
their spiritual experiences, but Ms. Denton-Borhaug believes the
campus still needs a place dedicated to spiritual concerns,
perhaps a more flexible one that could provide more solitude and
fit more-diverse needs.
Meanwhile, at Knox College, L. Sue Hulett, a professor of
political science, bemoans the lack of a religious space of any
kind on the Illinois campus. The college's chapel was torn down
in the 1960s.
Ms. Hulett, who also conducted a student-spirituality survey,
says she found that 19 percent of Christian students at Knox
perceive the college's culture as hostile to religion. A
dedicated spiritual space might help, she says, and the college
should provide one.
In her article, "Being Religious at Knox College: Attitudes
Toward Religion, Christian Expression, and Conservative Values
on Campus," Ms. Hulett writes: "Our celebration of pluralism,
tolerance, and diversity is not much of a party, if we say,
'sorry, religion is too scary, divisive, controversial,
emotional, or other-oriented for us to allow a space dedicated
to its activities.'"
Excerpts from the articles are online at

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Study Abroad, Learn the Culture, and BE LEFT BEHIND

Thanks to Steve Meyer for this great moo2 story...

EAST LANSING -- Michigan State University is investigating a complaint that one of its international studies programs left a student behind in Peru after a thief took her passport from a hotel room.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Did this small group exercise in my first class. Quite imaginative stories were created!

Scenarios of Higher Education

In your group, make up two stories that illustrate issues that may be faced by this person. Discuss why you chose to tell the stories the way you did, and the issues involved. Feel free to think imaginatively and add other characters.

Group 1 Setting: Small liberal arts college in the Midwest
Person: Male African American professor, mid 40s, tenured

Group 2 Setting: Large urban research university
Person: Female grants administrator, mid 30s, divorced, 2 small children

Group 3 Setting: Midsized comprehensive university in a rural setting
Person: First year football coach, graduate of the university, knows the president well

Syllabus for Higher Ed in Film and Fiction

I just started my new course tonight, handing out this syllabus:

Purdue University
College of Education
Department of Educational Studies
Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations

Higher Education in Film and Fiction

Spring 2005
Tuesday, 5:30 – 8:20 pm
Beering Hall B255


Professor A. G. Rud
Beering Hall 5142 (best option)
moo2 (my blog on higher education):

Office Hours

By appointment. I am on e-mail every day, so feel free to contact me. Unless I have to get somewhere, I usually should be able to chat after class.

Course Description and Rationale

In this new course, we will examine college and university life through the lenses provided by writers and filmmakers. Fiction and film provide ways to investigate character and motive, as well as cultural context, allowing us to access meaning and significance beyond theoretical and analytic inquiry. We will become more sophisticated observers of higher education, as well as more effective in our careers in higher education, as we seek to understand the complexity of higher education through artistic representation. Current theoretical descriptions and analyses of higher education will form the context for our discussions of art. The following questions plus others shall guide our inquiry:

What images of university life are presented by fiction writers and filmmakers?
How are different institutions (liberal arts colleges, land grant universities, and such) portrayed?
How do these portrayals match other descriptions and analyses?
What can we learn as higher education professionals about our chosen workplace from film and fictional presentations?

Course Activities

Weekly meetings will alternate between a film, which we will watch in class and then discuss, and a student presentation and discussion of a novel. Should you not be present for one of the films, these are generally readily available for rent at video stores, or for checking out at the university or local public libraries

Dialogue and the formation of a community of inquiry around student presentations will be central. I ask that you share any articles, websites, or book chapters with me and others, either in class, on the discussion list, or as comments on my blog, so that we can further our understanding of the topics.

Course Requirements

You will lead the class in discussion of one of the novels. You will team up with classmates to do this, and you should coordinate what component each will take. Discussion should include a synopsis of the book, and a relation of its themes to higher education and your experiences as a student or employee of a college or university. You should also have questions for your classmates that can spark discussion. Please prepare this brief set of questions and topics in advance (which may be shorter than what you present in class) and submit them by e-mail to everyone on our course discussion list by Monday noon prior to the class, so we can think about how we can contribute to the discussion you will lead before we meet the next day. 25 points

You will make regular contributions to class discussion in class, or online on the course discussion list and/or my blog. (I do not take attendance but please do let me know if you need to miss a class) 5 points

You will write two 2000 word papers, to be submitted as e-mail attachments to (no paper, please) by the due dates listed below. Late assignments will be docked 10 points. Paper guidelines will be distributed. 35 points each, 70 points total

Course Schedule (subject to revision)

OOPS, looks like the table didn't copy...oh well, you get the idea...

Read Novel Prior or Watch Film In Class
January 11
Introduction and Overview of the Academic Novel and Film

January 18
Film and Discussion
Educating Rita
January 25
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim
February 1
Film and Discussion
Mona Lisa Smile
February 8
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
David Lodge’s Changing Places
February 15
Film and Discussion
Wonder Boys

February 22
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Philip Roth’s The Human Stain
March 1
Film and Discussion
The Human Stain

March 8
Film and Discussion

Higher Learning
March 15

March 22
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Richard Russo’s Straight Man
March 29
Film and Discussion
Dead Poets Society
April 5
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Jane Smiley’s Moo
April 12
May Sarton’s The Small Room
April 19
Film and Discussion
April 26
TV Episodes and Discussion; Course Wrap-up
The Education of Max Bickford
April 29

Books (Available at Von’s Bookstore)

Amis: Lucky Jim (Penguin, 0-14-018630-1)
Lodge: Changing Places (Penguin, 0-14-017098-7)
Roth: The Human Stain (Random House, 0-375-72634-9)
Russo: Straight Man (Random House, 0-375-70190-7)
Sarton: The Small Room (Norton, 0-393-00832-0)
Smiley: Moo (Random House, 0-8041-1768-3)

Friday, January 07, 2005

The semester approacheth...

I start my new course on higher ed in film and fiction next week, and will be using the blog to continue thoughts on that, with my students coming in with their thoughts too. In tweaking the syllabus for the course, I notice how much the offerings are weighted toward the life of the professor. With the exception of Moo. That novel goes over a larger landscape of the land grant university, with its particular entourage of characters. Many of my students are in higher ed administration, and I am interested to see how film and fiction can illuminate their world and their work.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

IM'ing all the day, and night, long

Instant messaging rivals cell phone use by college students I know. Especially the frequent use of "away messages" to let others know, even hour by hour, what you are doing, how you are feeling, and so forth. Our daughter updates her away message throughout the day...and we can gauge, from 140 miles away, what is going on in her life.

Maybe a bit too much connection at times, you say? A good backup alarm clock for her early theater class...I turn on the computer early, and if she hasn't logged on by when she needs to get up, then I know, hey, Dad better call...

(I need to learn more about the phenomenon of "facebooking" now...)

A gaggle of blog readers...

From the CHE's online Wired Campus Newsletter 1/5/05:

Blog Reading Explodes in America: Web logs apparently are here to stay: A new survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that blog readership rose by 58 percent in the past year. BBC News

Blogs are being read by many, but many fewer have created one, according to this article. The typical blogger is young, male, well educated, and tech savvy, and blogs have come to the fore in politics this past year.

Hmmmm, are all the female Xanga users, like my college age daughter, under the radar? Maybe it is because Xanga itself prefers the more intimate and older terms "journal" and "diary"?

Schlepping North

Been away for a few days, but still had the higher ed jones. Sunday was spent schlepping daughter back to college. Car piled high. Many trips up and down stairs. Students these days (there I go, I should be puffing a pipe and scratching my chin) have so much stuff! What happened to the days of a backpack thrown in the trunk or heaved high in a Greyhound?

Getting ready for my film and fiction class. Still putting the final touches on the syllabus.

The first issue of the journal I just started editing, Education and Culture, just came out. My wife, who has worked on a journal, said editing is a great deal of work. I never realized how true that was...but a friend also said that this work would lead to many interesting conversations. That is true too. I am looking forward to working with Berkeley Electronic Press, who have teamed up with my publisher, Purdue University Press, on production of subsequent issues.

Ice, ice, baby...what ghastly weather we are having...ah, Indiana in January.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Inside Higher Ed

A new online journal on higher education, with an MLA preview issue out now (and an article on "bloggers in the flesh," which I found on The Little Professor's blog), and a launch in early 2005.