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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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.
[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?
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]
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.
App Crit: [blank stare]
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]
| 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.|
What is Your World View? (updated)
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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…
I am not alone in my particular situation.
"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.
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.