Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    New Approaches to Faculty Hiring

    The e-newsletter Inside Higher Ed as, again, an intersting article. I wonder if Dean Dad has read it. It seems right up his area of interest.

    One of the more interesting pieces of advice (and the article was aimed at CC search committees, but I think it would hold for others) is to measure past teaching success. Not easy, but probably pretty effective.

    But, who needs metrics anyway?

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    Web Savvy Pookie

    5 year old Pookie calls me today to see if I could go onto the internet. Ever since she learned that I was raised in Texas, she has had an on again, off again interest. Today was on. She wanted to know if I could go onto the internet and find her some pink boots. She even had the URL:

    "Just go onto the internet and type in www.pinktowdirlboots.com" That, she said, was sure to get what she wanted.

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    Memorial Day vignette

    Over the weekend (blogging a little late on this), I overheard a young, uniformed National Guard cavalryman talking about his upcoming deployment.  He was talking to the slightly older, buzz-cut guy in the line behind him.  I don't know how they started talking, the uniformed guy was holding a baby in a car seat and was standing beside a young girl who turned out to be his sister, but they were well into it when I approached behind.

    The experienced soldier, he too of the National Guard, had spent two years in Iraq, was listing the pros and cons of the upcoming deployment: around Bagdad airport, good, good—a safe zone inside a safe zone.  What?  They are not housing you there?  You have to drive in?  That's not so good.  

    Two older guys were in the line ahead, one with a Korean vet baseball cap on.  I can only assume some sort of grandfather or uncle to the uniformed guy.  If right, that put a family history of service into the mix.  

    Both of the young guys talked about going into the Guard because in the area there is not much else to do.  They talked in terms of how much longer till their contract completes (December for the experienced soldier).  The uniformed kid, shifting the baby from arm to arm, said that his unit is being activated for the first time since WWII.  Theirs is apparently way down the food-chain, but they are being called up now.  He was from the area (small town to the north) as was the experienced guy.  

    An older veteran wearing his cap proudly.  A young, spit-polished soldier on his way out, spending time with his sister and niece, wearing his dress uniform smartly.  And a young, experienced soldier with Oakley shades perched on his three-finger cut.  A random encounter on Memorial Day, small town middle America.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

    "Cheaters" and technology

    A graduate student from Michigan State has written a provocative article about cheating and the use of technology. The provocative part is that Ira comes out in favor of using technology, and if that action is coded cheating, then the institution needs to change.

    Check it out.

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    The Weblog

    Adam Kotsko recently argued that blogs should not, are not and probably will not mutate into viable academic venues. He cites various reasons why and then states:
    So I would say that blogging is a great way for academics to socialize and should be encouraged -- it's especially great for academics who would otherwise be quite isolated from other academics of similar interests. But what goes along with that is a tacit agreement -- nothing can exceed the level of rigor of a conversation at the pub after class.
    After some of my own recent encounters with "scholars," I wonder if the community aspect is even viable.

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    I was raised with corporal punishment



    I was raised with corporal punishment.  Not often, but enough.  So, when I hear advocates of spanking make the claim that "it was good enough for me" or "I turned out OK," I feel that they are more akin to hazers who pass on the activity to the new recruits.  It was done to me, so…

    Salon's article on fundamental advocates of corporal punishment brings back a lot of memories.  As a past member of the Church of Christ ("we take the 'fun' out of fundamental"), I was well immersed in the Biblical justifications.  Yet, even as a young 'in, I sensed they the verses used were gerrymandered, excluding examples or passages that didn't fit the idea.  So, no proof-texting here, one way or the other.  They found what they were looking for.

    So, how does one approach raising a happy, healthy, intelligent and independent child (of great concern to myself, raising a 5 year-old "Pookie")?  We follow a form of attachment parenting.  Our daughter's feet didn't touch the ground for much of the first year.  She was bundled in with either a parent or relative.  She was breast-fed, nursing as will (some parents seek to regulate the times and amount; we did not) and slept in our bed.  

    Now, I wish that I could take credit for much of this.  I can't.  I have been a student along much of the way.  Lovely Spouse, seemingly having read every book on the topic, has an instinct that "feels" right to me.  I see the results, feel the relationship, and notice the results in myself.  We have a lovely daughter with a keen and wicked sense of humor that I recognize as my own.  She has empathy, intelligence and sass.  

    My feeling is that those who seek to instill control, discipline or "training" upon a child don't, in an ironic twist, have enough faith in that child.  Do I let Pookie touch a stove?  Of course not.  If she gets close, I warn and move her away.  But life is not a series of stoves.  

    I am having some trouble here because even the advocates of the Rod teach to love and embrace, to use the Rod only as a means of correction.  I guess that is the main departure point.  Where they seek to control, we seek to guide; where they seek to show negative consequences, we seek to navigate through life's negative consequences (lack of privileges, talk through it, etc.).  Would a good swat make a point.  Certainly.  I remember some of my own.  However, I don't remember the correction, only the swat.  I don't remember the guidance or the lesson.  I remember the encounter.  

    Pookie graduates from pre-school today.  She may or may not get up with the rest of the class.  She, like I did as a child, suffers extreme stage fright.  If she gets up, great.  I know the struggle she has overcome.  If she chooses not to, I will swat away any feelings of embarrassment, hug her close, and celebrate her end of year.  

    She is only 5 once.  

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    The Core, small class and mentorship

    The Core, small class size and mentors     

    Having opened up a mini-debate with my call to abolish-then-modified-to-change the core (actually the approach the core), I will synthesize a few of the running ideas from my blog and others.

    I looked up the core requirements of some of the ranked colleges (US News for online ease) and picked each 5th one in descending order, skipping Harvard (#1).  They differed in only small ways (a PE requirement here, more computers/analytical requirements there) but differed in approach in larger way.

    For example, Duke, at least as far as I could find, had no explicit foreign language requirement (which I found odd and think I must have just overlooked it).  Dean Dad had an exhaustive and lively post on FL recently which was then followed by one on math.  It was actually these two posts that caused me to rethink the core approach altogether.  

    DD's concerns are local—should a cc impose these requirements on its student body?  While I think they should be offered (basic language, basic math skills, etc.) for transfer, I don't know how well the students are served by the, let's call it, low-end approach to teaching these courses.  

    Before you hit the comments area, what I mean by "low-end" is thus: teaching language as vocabulary and grammar; teaching math as rote.  They are low-end because that is easier to do.  It is like teaching writing by focusing only on grammar and rhetoric.  While a student may advance in the subject with these approaches, they are not the best.  FL: immersion, preferably in the country of origin; math: real-world applications over and over, developing the duel function of learning tool (problem approach, formula, etc) and then applying tool.  

    This is why I framed the core debate in terms of class.  The higher end colleges, predominately private and expensive, tailor their approaches to the core to be more nuanced, more intimate.  That is, there are fewer cattle-call courses and a larger number of small, often topic-oriented sections:

    Civilizations (the core category): The CZ designation includes many (but not all) courses in art history, history, philosophy and religion as well as various individual courses offered in other department.  (Duke)

    Bitch PhD had a recent discussion on how to instruct TAs to teach writing.  The comments are indicative of as many approaches as there are instructors.  

    The result: obviously the core is important as every graduate should be able to write cogently, understand the basics of the world around her and be able to figure out basic economic transactions (one would wish high school would equip for these).  What I initially outlined was abolishing these subjects from a codified Core and moving them to the majors—forcing a rethinking and retailoring of the approach and content.  Instead of just College Algebra, how about college algebra based on economics (figure the PE ration of a set of stocks to better yield investments…that sort of stuff for non-math majors) or a mixture of foreign language mixed with world history?  The approach has calcified into a greatest hits of data, with disregard for context or application.  

    My discussion is larger than the core…it deals with the larger curriculum.  Anecdotes in the comments of some of the above stories laud those individual instructors who transcended the material and opened up methods of thinking—life approaches.  Yea, he was my math teacher, but his love of learning, his constant attention to figuring out the salient analysis of the problem…that is what stayed with me.  Or some such story.

    The better programs, at least the better rated (which is its own issue), institute some form of top-down interaction.  The profs interact in a quasi-intimate manner (smaller class size, small groups led by TAs, etc.) with the students.  See Columbia's statement:

    The small size of most of the Core Curriculum classes provides students with the opportunity to develop intellectual relationships with faculty early on in their College career, and to participate with them in a shared process of intellectual inquiry.

    It seems, then, that the larger issue is not necessary the pedagogical approach as the access to the individual.  That is, the best teachers are the ones that were accessible.  It would follow that smaller numbers facilitate better interaction.  Are there examples of successful mentoring programs?  Can the academy open bridge the prof-student chasm?  Would the profs want this?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

    Core curriculum Socratically explained

    Core curriculum: Socratically explained.
    {edited in light of feedback}

    [in media res] PPP: but the core is an elitist holdover.

    App Crit: you don't know what you are talking about.

    PPP: Consider this, the current system is broken.

    App Crit: How can you say that? The core ensures that all graduates have a least a modicum of basic skills (writing, math, etc.). I mean, if you approach a person who claims to have a degree, you should be able to have a baseline set of acquired skills or knowledge.

    PPP: I am not arguing that. I am arguing the approach to outlining these skills.

    App Crit: But that is not the core's fault.

    PPP: Point taken. I now believe that the core should be abolished because the core is broken.

    App Crit: You can't change your belief like that.

    PPP: It is my blog, and I will alter if I want to.

    App Crit: Whatever.

    PPP: Anyway, the core seeks a minimum knowledge-cum-skill base…

    App Crit: Nobody uses "cum" as a link when they talk.

    PPP: Shut-up. The core seeks to instill a minimum. Because of that, everyone gets the same drival with little to no experimentation, alteration or…

    App Crit: What?

    PPP: Let's jump back.

    App Crit: OK

    PPP: The core brings in a lot of money because everyone in the university must take these courses.

    App Crit: Granted.

    PPP: And, since they are basic skills or knowledge, the bulk are farmed out to adjuncts, TAs or lower level profs.

    App Crit: That depends on the institution, but generally yes.

    PPP: So, there is little incentive to enhance these money-makers with effective teaching.

    App Crit: I don't follow. You seem to be making some sort of logical fallacy.

    PPP: I am sure someone will point those out. But listen, the core seeks to instill foundational knowledge, but how that is done is remarkably uniform across institutions. Writing courses follow Peter Elbow (writing as a process—portfolio submission, etc.) or the like. They are the mainstay of English departments as they draw in the other majors—students who by and large want to avoid English classes like a VD.

    App Crit: Not a good metaphor, by the way.

    PPP: Shut up. Now, these courses seek to instill critical thinking, basic grammar, structure and god-knows what else into a two-semester set of courses. Some even try to throw in some literary interpretation, thinking that since it is an English class that the subject must be literature or poetry to be worthy.

    App Crit: You are getting off point.

    PPP: Sorry. Now, if the goal is to level-set writing skills, why not let the majors handle this?

    App Crit: Go on.

    PPP: A math major, while needing good communication skills, needs to be able to write toward his discipline (business or academic).

    App Crit: But the English department's writing course does that just fine.

    PPP: Does it? Upon leaving a Freshman level writing course, does the math major know how to write toward his future profession?

    App Crit: Why is that the goal?

    PPP: What?

    App Crit: Why is the goal something more specific than generalized good communication skills? What isn't cogent writing its own reward that can then be applied in the major fields in the higher level major classes?

    PPP: Because English instructors may not be the best teachers of writing?

    App Crit: [blank stare]

    PPP: What?

    App Crit: You are a sad, little man.

    PPP: No, wait. Consider this, do math teachers always explain complex math processes to the point that you can understand and apply them.

    App Crit: Some do, some don't. It depends on the instructor.

    PPP: Exactly.

    App Crit: [blank stare]

    PPP: What?

    App Crit: This isn't exactly paying off here.

    PPP: By throwing the core out and pushing the core skills to the disciplines, innovation and different teaching methods will result. Why? Because different paradigms will approach the same learning content differently. And, this isn't going to happen because of the entrenched economic interests the core departments. The end result is low level pedagogy for the very skills or knowledge everyone agrees is foundational and necessary.

    App Crit: [blank stare]

    PPP: What?


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Thursday, May 18, 2006

    With apologies to NPR: This I believe

    With apologies to NPR, today's This I believe

    • Core curriculum, an elitist holdover, should be abolished in university curriculums.  Replace it with major track requirements.  If a student doesn't know what to major in, then an Undecided major collects the credits.  Put the onus on the student (with informational support from the University) to create their course build.

    • I have faith in the collective.  Academia is a restrictive system (many, many shibboleths).  I don't think the current system is the most effective.

    • I have no fiduciary incentive to accept the current Academic system.  While parsing my sense of personal ire out of the mix (which occurs to greater and lesser extents), I will criticize the Academy.

    • Learning should have an application, direct and measurable.  Liberal Arts, while near and dear to me, should not get a free ride.

    • Intellectuals are not always right.  Some mistakes, even, take a PhD to make.  

    For a fuller discussion of any of these bulleted items, throw me a comment.  I will then expand into a fuller post.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Diana Blaine--tit for tat

    In case you have missed it, Diana Blane, recently lauded by Bitch PhD, caught the ire of one Cardinal Martini aka Andrew Wintrhop Cunningham III (the blogger apparently likes to create personas) by posting an editorial in the University of Southern California's campus newspaper (the Daily Trojan) where she argues that the most recent rape charges besmear the reputation of the college (USC is a perrenial football powerhouse--this last year coming in second to UT).

    Cardinal Martini took especial offense to the line: But because only men rape and only men can stop other men from raping.

    In the context of the article (Blane contrasts the rhetoric of the Torjans head coach against sexual violence and the noticable absence of any team representatives at the Take Back the Night rally), such a statement calls for bipartisan action (male and female) to rally to the issue. Martini took offense, not wanting to lumped into a gender-group and certainly wanting to take no share in the blame. He then went on a personal crusade againt Blaine helped by the posting of some topless photos on her flicker-linked blog.

    As a writer and professor of female studies, Blaine writes at length about coming to terms with body image and female empowerment.

    I don't know if I will advocate every word she says, but I am sure glad that she is out there talking. As for cardinal m...why so irrate?

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/10/usc

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    Lovely Spouse disagrees

    Lovely Spouse disagrees.

    There are times when I feel that Lovely Spouse disagrees on pretty much everything.  And I like that…oh, not in the moment.  In the moment it often pisses me off.  But, she challenges my assumptions and interrogates my thoughts.  That I like.  When I am incorrect I need to know it.  Not that I like it, as I said, in the moment.  

    So, strong intelligence turns me on.  My wife has a very strong intelligence.  Too bad I am at work…turning myself on here…

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    We are going to war with poor Mexicans

    We are going to war against poor Mexicans.*

    Or at least, W is wanting to mobilize against them.  Not everyone, mind you, just the border state's National Guard.  Those not on overseas deployment (like Louisiana's during Katrina).  Who knew that one weekend a month and two weeks a year would call for so much from so few?

    But back to the Mexicans.  Why is it that we have a longer border to the north, but we are not afraid of illegal Canadians?  They are more likely to be white?  Are we that brown-phobic?  Is it Speedy Gonzalez versus Dudley DoRight?  

    I was raised in a Texas town (there is a movie about a local high school) where I was the minority (47% to the 49% majority).  I wonder now which one of my classmates were the children of felons (if the House gets its way)?  Which ones was I supposed to be hating?  Because of course I am supposed to hate them because they are so vile that we need to send in soldiers with guns to keep them out…to keep us safe.

    Of course, we can't institute policy to help the economies of our neighbors to the south.  That would be too expensive.  Besides, we spent all of our kid's money on a necessary war in the Middle East.  

    My good friend lived with a young Mexican woman and her child in San Antonio a few years ago.  Chole was undocumented.  Sergio, her 3 year old boy, was born in the states.  She was watching daytime TV to learn English.  He husband worked construction because it is easy to pay under the table in construction.  She had a great outside shot playing HORSE in the backyard.  I wonder how she developed such an outside shot?  Surely they don’t' have basketball hoops in Mexico.  

    *Severe sarcasm alert, for the web-reading impaired.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

    I never knew...

    You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

    Cultural Creative


    75%

    Postmodernist


    69%

    Materialist


    63%

    Existentialist


    50%

    Modernist


    50%

    Romanticist


    44%

    Idealist


    38%

    Fundamentalist


    31%

    What is Your World View? (updated)
    created with QuizFarm.com

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

    You are being tracked

    Just when you were confortable with the government listening to foreign calls routed through the US (this article says that anyone can purchase a call record), the USAToday reports that all call records have been archived...

    Who is using them? Inquiring minds would like to know...who you hav been calling.

    Update: the uproar, if any, will likely be out of date anyway...it seems the VoIP technolgy, specifically Skype, using encryption over the web, makes the whole thing moot. The bad guys are already talking peer-to-peer with encryption.

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    Combat Philosopher comes out shooting

    "Combat Philosopher" comes out shooting...

    Yes, I accused professor zero of attacking me instead of giving credence to my ideas.  I stand by that.  If you disagree, then illustrate your reasons (ENG101).  In fact, I too was engaged in pz's scholarly investigation.  In fact, my questions were not intended to be belligerent at all, but more inclined to offer some help in exploring the methods of identifying/quantifying "scholarlyness."  His/her examples, up to that point, were anecdotal, and the story of going to a prof's office with whom she had no classes and getting assistance, as I pointed out, showed more of a "teachingness" than a "scholarlyness" (albeit the prof seems to have been both).  I then gave my own anecdotal account of an interaction between two scholars (leaders in their fields, published and respected) who demonstrated that one can be a scholar and not a teacher.  One illumed his ideas, the other (taking a decent amount of time to do so) pushed off the inquiry dismissively.  

    In reviewing the original post, I see that pz initially welcomed comments.  You, cp, launched an anti-reduction-of-ideas-into-data (one can't reduce IQ to a number sort of thing) tirade to which pz initially countered ("Thanks CP! Still, I think it must be possible to articulate the value set."), then took up.  Why the discussion then went into an interrogation of my worthiness to even comment, I don't know.  You and pz can speak to that.

    Now, to answer your question: would I have made it into college before the land-grant movement?  We will never know.  I chose my undergrad for very specific reasons.  I had no problems getting in nor any problems excelling in a rigorous and scholarly set of degrees.  I then chose my graduate school for a specific reason as well.  I was, ultimately, disappointed in the program, but I can't say that I left with no ability to continue to learn on my own.  In fact, auto-didacticism probably comes to fore more than not.  

    I believe your question, again, seeks to determine my worthiness to participate in the discussion (even to the point of my ability to participate in any discussion).  Smacking of eliticism and classism, I leave it.

    I can well imagine the burden you must be under, dealing with lesser faculty who have neither the experience or range of reading that you imply you have.  These "oxygen thieves" must surely be adjuncts, better suited for freshman, cattle-call courses.  Or, perhaps the OTs are junior faculty scrapping to find their way.  Either way, the burden is certainly onerous.  You have my sympathies.

    I wonder…what non-vita line choices do you consider when hiring?  It seems that this hasn't worked out so well for you.

    I appreciate you holding back personal judgment on me.  I choose to see no implied references.

    Ta-ta.

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    Inside Higher Ed :: Clash of Interests

    Living in the midwest, I hear of union issues quite often. However, growing up in a right-to-work state that was extremely hostile to unions, I have had little personal interaction with them.

    This article outlines some of the problems with unionizing adjuncts: full-timers have a different agenda; splitting from full-timers dilutes the voting bloc and helps administration's agenda; etc.

    The problems, obliquely referenced in the article, though are very similar to those at Wal-Mart: there is always someone else who can do the job. Like it or not, there are just enough people (should we warn grad students) in the job market to allow admins to "try someone else out." Coupled with the adjunct pressures (no health insurance, the need to supplement with one or more jobs, no time or space to study in order to advance in the profession, etc.), there is little energy or incentive for adjuncts to mobilize.

    Two examples: my local university, where I have adjuncted, employs on average about 40% part-timers. They are also the only university within 50 miles, which allows them some leverage over the work pool. Don't like it here, they can say, hit the highway.

    A couple of weeks ago at the local Wal-Mart, I learned that my check-out guy was a recent English degree graduate. For whatever reason he was working at one of few employers in the area which would hire him. He pointed out a recent history grad along with a social work grad (she was shift manager). Small-town life at its richest.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Everyone likes attention

    Everyone likes attention

    As you can see from the posting below, I received a nice link.  It bumped my hit counter considerably.  While still on the lower life forms (TTLB Ecosystem), I have experienced a major hit week ("major" being a relative term).

      Average Per Day95    Average Visit Length1:09    Last Hour2    Today11    This Week662 

    So, to all the lurkers, thanks.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

    Excuse me while I put this on my virtual mantel

    While contemplating some self-flagellation by going to ratemyprof.com and seeing what my "hotness" rating is, I happened to notice the nice blog piece to the right. And [*blush*] who is that I see?


    <---I am right here.

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    Random Monday morning

    An assortment of pissy and then not-so-pissy thoughts:

    * Professor poopy-head's once interesting study of studiousness has turned into class-based lament over the loss of "big thoughts." This, too, has a long history. Defensive and oppositional, (s)he seems bent on exploring well-worn and ideological paths. Moving on.

    * The recent plagiarism scandal of Kaavya Viswanathan gets more interesting when the facts of the young author's life come to light. Behind the Ivy Brand, there lies many a twisted scheme for therein lives the life of privilege. Actually, my own students probably claim most of the same "reasons" for the plagiarism: pressure to succeed (GPA=good job and happy life), recognition, lack of time ("I work full time, you see, and my kids need…", societal pressure, etc…

    * Bitch PhD comes through with an interesting and relevant post for bloggers. A must read.

    * I am not alone in my particular situation.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Should grad students be warned?

    The following is a cross-post from a comment I posted here:

    Smarting from a crass comment from another board, I have been thinking a lot of graduate school the last couple of days. I was not informed of the job market until my first year of the PhD program (my third year of graduate school). Sure, I heard the murmurs, but it wasn't until then that a professor (on a one-year stint himself) talked openly about the market.

    I am a first generation student. Both parents have an associates from the local cc, and they were the over-achievers. I muddled my way to a land-grant teaching U., where, the conversation went, two older, white men told me I was foolish to even try to complete the degree. Why? Because their experience, which came off as really bitter at the time, told them that white men were too-un-PC to get an English job anymore. This would have been around 1996.

    I ignored them, of course, writing them off as bitter and socially retarded (which I still think is the case). But I have been hard-pressed to prove them wrong. Was their advice accurate? Somewhat. Was is good to hear? Not at the time, but I did jump on an opportunity to become a traveling consultant teaching ERP software (SAP, specifically). This has led to exposure to a life otherwise closed (nice hotels, decent billing rate, immersion into business life, intricate technical education, adult learning thoery and practice, distance education, etc.).

    Am I better for the liberal education? Hamlet doesn't come up often, but I am able to capture nuance of process and interogate systems better than my family (my undecated baseline), so...


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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Calling Dr. Poophead

    I got a pissy lesson in blogging today...in the persuit of trying to help a colleague out, I get back the following (full note):
    "But Piss Poor Prof, are you actually a professor yourself? I thought you were a graduate school dropout. Maybe if you finish, you'll have more information about how things actually work. As it is, you seem to be only guessing."
    Why the personal attack? Yea, I was guessing, but I really don't like people making assertions with no proof. It annoys me. Am I a professor? Yes. Do I have tenure? No...read the blog, "scholar." Will I understand the politics of higher education with a completed dissertation? Perhaps a tad more...will that play into your argument about scholarship? No.

    So, Dr. poophead, I will refrain from you and your work.

    [OK, the "Dr. poophead" remark (capitalization intended) is a tad juvenile, but it feels really good.]

    Oh, and as an undergraduate, at the tender age of just-out-of-high-school, I was engaged in serious "scholarly" work translating ancient greek texts...from, of course, the original. I do know of scholarship...

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Monday, May 01, 2006

    Maybe Baby…


    Lovely Wife is sick again…Six years ago we spent countless hours attempting to confirm a pregnancy through every over-the-counter urine test we could find—often multiple times—often multiple times in one morning.


    It took 6 weeks before Pookie showed up on a stick, and that was only after we had a blood test indicating that she was percolating. That blood test was performed in ER as we awaiting pain medication for kidney stones (a nice, little side effect of pregnancy—she ended up passing 7 over the next year).


    The last two weeks we have "failed" 7-10 (I lose count) urine tests. Yet, the same feelings of uncontrollable nausea greet her every morning, staying around until after midnight. She is drinking large quantities of liquids, so the urine tests are no surprise.


    Oh, last Friday we purchased health insurance. We have gone without for two straight years—not by choice. Since I adjunct and consult, we have not been able to afford this "perk." As long as my current project holds, we will be covered. The project was initially scheduled to end June 1, but I have a tentative extension (verbal, but with no guarantees.)


    LW just called. I have to feed the fish. Apparently the smell of the fish food, the tank or some combination is too much. She got off the phone "to puke." She has called 6 times in the last half hour. She says that she is a "little scattered."


    I can't thank her enough for the sacrifices she makes for my family.

    Would you like me to read this to you? Listen