Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bring in the "real" scientists...

Here is a piece from Inside Higher Ed talking about recommendations to get "real" scientists in K-12 classrooms. Mention is made of how scientists who have done research enough for a PhD don't want to take time away from that work to teach. I love the line about getting those in science to stop looking down their noses at classroom teaching!

What kind of incentive could possibly be given for someone who is excellent in, and intent upon, research to work in the K-12 system? Certainly it would have to be prohibitively high I would think, for all but the altruistic. And aren't those who are already interested in the fascinating issues of science learning already working in science education, or researching that area? I will have to think more about this...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Summers to leave Harvard Presidency June 30

Well, this is all over the higher ed news today, so I thought, why mention it on this blog, but...I have followed this story with great interest, so here is one of its final chapters...and I probably will have more to think about and say later...on to class prep.

Update: after class, a wonderfully allusive and nuanced discussion of Russo's Straight Man, btw...and Sherman Dorn is right, Tim Burke's posting on Summers is the sensible one.

Update, 2/22 NYT, gotta love it: "Dr. Summers also offended some with what many saw as a style more suited to Washington than to Cambridge. He was driven in a black limousine with a license plate reading "1636," the year of Harvard's founding; Dr. Bok, by contrast, had driven his own Volkswagen bus."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Open Minds

And, to the north of us here, the conflict of "values" at Notre Dame, with concern about Brokeback Mountain and The Vagina Monologues. Hello? Minds open?

Poor Mike

Well, not really. The men's hoops coach at Indiana University, Mike Davis, stepped aside this week, effective at the end of the season, but with a cool $800K severance package. But poor Mike: how can someone graduate from, and then spend years working at, a university, and speak of its graduates as "alumnize"?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Charlotte Simmons and Rebekah Nathan

Two fine talks of the four this month in the tradition laden Books and Coffee series at Purdue are up on the podcast site. Today, Janet Alsup discussed Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons, one of the books we are reading in my higher ed in film and fiction course, and last week Samantha Blackmon discussed Rebekah Nathan's My Freshman Year. Both talks are about 30 minutes, and both talks draw upon descriptive data about college students today. As the father of a female college student, both books demand my attention, and both books ring true more often than not.

Amen, Jenny!

BU anthropologist Jenny White publishes her first novel, and gets all sorts of reactions. But a big AMEN to this quote from the article:

It occurs to me, not for the first time, that academics are some of the few people in our knowledge economy expected to make available the intellectual fruit of decades of labor for a pittance, or for free, to publishers, journalists and others asking you — indeed, giving you the honor of spending hours or days of your time — to evaluate manuscripts, give information or travel across the country to give a talk. I regularly remind commercial textbook publishers that their offer of a $150 “honorarium” for reading a 500 page manuscript and writing an extensive review is inappropriate for a money-making enterprise.

The continuing saga on the banks of the Charles

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bear 141

Finishing up a book chapter this afternoon, paying bills, thinking of firing up TurboTax (figure that our taxes are no longer complicated enough for our $$ accountant to do), and dipping into SB pregame coverage (waiting for 12 minutes of the Stones at halftime, given I have no strong feelings about the Steelers or the Seahawks, but think the Steelers will win!)...

...last night though, had a Grizzly Man fest with Rita. Watched it on DVD, finally (am a huge Werner Herzog fan, still waiting for my copy of Aguirre the Wrath of God to show up), watched the documentary of the music being made (dug especially Herzog's comments about artistic creation, and his interactions with terrific guitarist Richard Thompson), then the Discovery Channel's special on the film, and then of course surfed the web for more. I especially remembered Herzog's comment that filmmaking is like musicmaking, that film is more like music than literature.

I think about Timothy Treadwell and his obvious emotional needs being played out solipsistically in the "grizzly maze." He crossed the line, but many of us do every day with our animals. I need more time to process this film.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A simple name change would have made all the difference...

Why did the creators of the film Mona Lisa Smile, filmed at Wellesley, actually name the college in the film...Wellesley? Go figure. It caused them lots of headaches afterwards, when, rightly, many protested the portrayal as stereotypic and just plain wrong. They could have created a fictional university, just as Tom Wolfe does in I am Charlotte Simmons, and avoided all this trouble. I found it quite distracting to have an actual college portrayed in a dramatic film. Several Wellesley graduates have said to me that the film does not capture the intense intellectual atmosphere of that college, or the close mentoring by faculty.

Oh...Lucky Jim!

I meant to post this review, 50 years on, of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim, which we discussed, and watched, a few weeks ago in class. Ain't so crazy about the review's author, but this is apt.

Thanks to Michael Bittinger for the link.