What does image plate III above mean to you? It’s one of the….
July 30th, 2009

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What does image plate III above mean to you? It’s one of the inkblots from the famous Rorschach test template. The test was first devised and patented in 1921 by the Swiss psychiatrist after whom the test was named. Anyone growing up in the last century will remember the test being administered in movies (eg Flowers for Algernon) and tv crime dramas (Perry Mason et al), where a subject’s sanity was often measured by the nature of his reactions to the ten inkblots. There are no right or wrong answers to the blots, but a subject’s responses could ostensibly tell you something about his tendencies. Was he a sex addict or a bank robber, that sort of thing. (more…)

Did you know? That is, did you know about the peppy short video, Did You Know 3.0?
July 23rd, 2009

Did you know? That is, did you know about the peppy short video, Did You Know 3.0? You can catch various versions of it on the web. See, the latest, for example,

The various incarnations of this series of information-based videos trace the rapidly accelerating technological world in which we are spinning. They are all well worth a watch. Every time I attend a conference these days, someone is showing a version of this video, some shorter or longer than others. Its precursor boasted the catchy title of Shift Happens, and I first saw it last summer at a huge student recruitment conference in Chicago. It rocked me.

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I just attended the annual summer workshop for deans of graduate studies….
July 16th, 2009

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I just attended the annual summer workshop for deans of graduate studies in gloriously touristy historic Quebec City, sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). The CGS is based in Washington D.C. and it is a large, efficient organization to which a number of Canadian universities subscribe (http://www.cgsnet.org/). Typically, there are about a dozen Canadian deans to hundreds and hundreds of US ones. But that the conference was held in Canada is a testament to the CGS’s respect for us and, of course, their shrewd recognition of the appeal of Quebec City as a summer tourist destination.
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Are letters of reference for admission to graduate school really necessary?
July 9th, 2009

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Are letters of reference for admission to graduate school really necessary? I have been asking this question for almost a year, wondering whether we should get rid of them altogether. Recruitment consultants often suggest we eliminate them for the time-wasting, useless pieces of paper they are. Others, usually graduate officers, argue that they are indispensible to judgments of suitable candidates. The School of Graduate Studies has surveyed units across the campus and the results have demonstrated a renewed commitment to keeping them in place as part of an applicant’s checklist.

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And so I am back home after almost 3 weeks in glorious sunny welcoming pick-pocket-happy Spain…
July 3rd, 2009

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And so I am back home after almost 3 weeks in glorious sunny welcoming pick-pocket-happy Spain. As always, traveling is informative, and, in the best experiences, it is transformative. One is never quite the same after immersion in someone else’s culture. Working at a university and talking to European graduate students reminded me of how much we have in common. Differences aside, the graduate student experience is universal in its challenges, frustrations, and rewards. I think they smoke more over there, though. Unlike France or England, Spain hasn’t entered the cigarette police state yet. Restaurants and bars don’t have smoking or non smoking areas. You can smoke where you like. It’s disconcerting to see so many (young) people smoking all over the beautifully landscaped university campus, interfering with all the vivid splashes of bougainvillea. But that’s just a stuffy North American talking. Never mind.

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