On the eve of this nation’s 144th birthday and in high expectation of a long weekend of warm(er) weather, I am keeping this blog short, sweet, and as funny as possible. Two videos in circulation are well worth a few moments of your time, not that you need an excuse to turn from applying for a grant/reading for comprehensive examinations/writing your thesis/thinking about writing your thesis/writing an article/submitting a conference abstract…and so on.
Do the media pay enough attention to post secondary education matters? Not according to most of us. When they do they usually focus on the bad stuff. The freshest example is all the focus on the Dean of Medicine at the University of Alberta who admitted to plagiarizing a big chunk of a commencement speech. A student did a quick search of one of the uncommon phrases in the speech and before you could say “velluvial matrix,” the tellingly invented phrase the dean had pulled from his source, the cat was out of the bag. The story deserves attention, sure, but you could practically hear the reporters salivating all week as they covered the offense in creepy detail.
The much beleaguered California State university system is encouraging professors to take attendance. This activity is meant to encourage retention and student progress—you know, the buzzwords–student success. The logic goes that if no one is paying attention to whether or not you are attending classes then you are more likely to avoid those classes. Given the choice between listening to your prof lecture at you or lolling around campus in the California sunshine, odds are you’re not going to pick door #1. Things are even more aggressive at Northern Arizona University, where electronic sensors and clickers are being used to track attendance, recording who does and does not show up for class. The ostensible goal is to improve retention among freshmen. Yeah, I bet everyone is rushing to apply to Northern Arizona right now, just dying to be counted as present and accounted for every single day of the semester. (more…)
Fredericton, New Brunswick, is a forest. I have been here all week for the annual—and 80th—learneds congress for the social sciences and humanities. Media coverage of the rich menu of offerings has been slight beyond the region. Journalists are probably tired of running across the country after politicians, but it’s too bad there isn’t more of a national lens on the presentations and speakers at congress. There are so many missed opportunities for reporters, but these are papers falling in the forest, I guess. Fortunately, several thousands of us are hearing them.