Monday, January 31, 2005
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...
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 coat....here 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.
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.
New Cell Phone Hazard: Students Take Note!
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!
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!
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 answer—in 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
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?
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
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.
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...
QUOTATION OF THE DAY
"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
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
"CollegeHumor.com 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
"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?
* 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 http://chronicle.com/daily/2005/01/2005012504n.htm
Sunday, January 23, 2005
I can just see a conference namebadge for this one...
Confidential (Location undisclosed)
(date posted: 1/21/2005)
Saturday, January 22, 2005
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
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"...is it a fat pimp?" Good night....
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 soon...my 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!
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!
"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"...watch out! :-)
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Why not just put up bars...no...how about an "invisible fence" like for Fido...or...?
The Pomp, The Circumstance...The Collateral Damage
and then this...http://billmon.org/archives/001652.html...
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 blogosphere...to 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.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Tsunami Before and After Pictures
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
BA, Red Roof, MA, Day's Inn, PhD, Motel 6
Better 'n Botox!
Monday, January 17, 2005
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
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 model...it is healthier, and besides, Plato has been dead a long time.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Update: Christine Rosen interviewed on NPR on 1/23
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Religion and University Life
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.
MAGAZINES & JOURNALS
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
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
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
College of Education
Department of Educational Studies
Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations
Higher Education in Film and Fiction
Tuesday, 5:30 – 8:20 pm
Beering Hall B255
Professor A. G. Rud
Beering Hall 5142
email@example.com (best option)
moo2 (my blog on higher education): http://moodeuce.blogspot.com/
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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
Introduction and Overview of the Academic Novel and Film
Film and Discussion
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim
Film and Discussion
Mona Lisa Smile
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
David Lodge’s Changing Places
Film and Discussion
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Philip Roth’s The Human Stain
Film and Discussion
The Human Stain
Film and Discussion
PAPER 1 DUE BY MIDNIGHT
SPRING BREAK - NO CLASS
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Richard Russo’s Straight Man
Film and Discussion
Dead Poets Society
Student Novel Presentation and Discussion
Jane Smiley’s Moo
AERA – NO CLASS, ONLINE BOOK DISCUSSION BY ALL
May Sarton’s The Small Room
Film and Discussion
TV Episodes and Discussion; Course Wrap-up
The Education of Max Bickford
PAPER 2 DUE BY MIDNIGHT
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...
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
IM'ing all the day, and night, long
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...
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"?
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.