Saturday, September 30, 2006

TAH Project Directors' Meeting

I attended the Albuquerque Project Directors meeting for TAH grants sponsored by the US Department of Education. This meeting was for those west of the Mississippi; the eastern "half" will meet in Cleveland next week.

This was the best of all the TAH grant meetings I've attended - a wide diversity of options. After both meetings have concluded, we'll post notes, etc., to the listserv.

We went out early in the day on Monday and my mentor met me there so that we could run up to Santa Fe. We had a great lunch and margaritas at Tomasitas. I also discovered that a place I thought was gone that has great clothes and shoes at good prices was still there and celebrated appropriately.

I worked on some articles the rest of the week and had meetings before I headed out to the farm. I spent 3 hours outside today before it became too hot. I'm still learning the oil and gas mix and how it's different for every piece of equipment I own but I have now decided I will buy separate containers for each and mark them so I don't forget. I am also trying to figure out what tripped the instant hot water heater (something I didn't know I couldn't live without it before I had it) so that I don't have to call a plumber for just one thing. Tripping the breaker didn't work it but the web shows two other options.

Next week will go fast with our Project Primary Sources meeting and getting the new grant, TAHPS, rolling. Then the next week is a meeting in St. Louis. I think October might go just as fast as September!

Friday, September 22, 2006

US Citizenship Test

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 8 out of 10 correct!
Could You Pass the US Citizenship Test?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

College Curricula

This article regarding Harvard's initial creation of the "core curriculum" after WWII and its now absent "core" even filters down to schools in my area. We have struggles every few year to create a uniform general education package with the idea that not only does everyone get the same core experience, every department gets its share of the money that flows with these required courses. In reality, however, there are numerous exceptions despite what faculty across campus perceive. I recently witnessed this when I attended the summer orientation session for new freshmen at my university when my friend and her daughter attended. It was quite an awakening experience to see how our work as a faculty is described to incoming students. The bottom line is that it's the same thing I tell students - any change of major past the first part of the sophomore year will most likely entail summer school at the very least or an additional semester or year in order to get not just the required courses but the proper sequence of courses.

Since I work with so many students who want to be history teachers, this most affects our department's teaching majors who have a required sequence of education courses. For example, general psych comes before developmental psych comes before educational psych comes before they see me in the methods class the semester before they student teach. So that backs you up to sophomore year just with that requirement.

A leftover of my colleagues 60s influences (they came to teach here in the 60s besides going to graduate school then), we had a system where students could take upper division history courses withOUT taking any of the American or World survey courses for freshmen and sophomores. With our new guidelines for teacher education, that was finally changed. But it was quite difficult to teach students who had no college history background at all and just saw a small chunk covered in an upper division course that was actually designed with the premise that the student had already taken the survey level course. A survey means a survey and it is also interesting when students always remark that too much was covered too fast. That's also what makes teaching history so interesting -- especially as we learn more about historical cognition.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Interactive Book

I saw this article in USA Today and find it quite intriguing. Although the product placement is blatant (like it's not in other media outlets . . . )but, most importantly, this product meets the demands of consumers - especially at an age when they are so brand conscious. Additionally, if it gets them near a book and reading, that, too, is a good thing.

The book is designed to look like a high school student's journal and you can call her "friends'" phone numbers to hear messages from them. A print interactive experience. Websites are much more static now so there shouldn't be a problem with keeping those up-to-date or using the book's website to do so.

Hmmmmmm. . . . . applications to history. . . . . I have seen several of the Chronicle books on immigration, the Civil War, etc., but this is a new twist to consider.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Confessions of a Community College Dean: Jonas Salk Presents the Polio Vaccine to the Faculty Senate

Confessions of a Community College Dean: Jonas Salk Presents the Polio Vaccine to the Faculty Senate: "Monday, September 18, 2006

Jonas Salk Presents the Polio Vaccine to the Faculty Senate
...and this, I believe, will end polio in our time. Any questions?

- Why weren't we informed of this earlier?
- What else haven't you informed us about?
- Does the Disabilities Committee know about this?
- Why polio? Why not cancer? My wife has cancer. Don't you care?
- Prick.
- Why not AIDS?
- Yeah, why not AIDS? Are you homophobic?
- You homophobe!
- I'm concerned about how this will impact women and minorities. Did you run this by the Diversity Committee?
- Whose budget did this come out of?
- Oh, sure, we have money for vaccines, but where's the checkbook when we want to expand my program?
- You haven't tested this on people, have you?
- This has been thoroughly tested for long-term effects on people, hasn't it?
- This is an attack on the culture of Persons With Polio!
- This is just an excuse to raise my copay. The union will hear about this!
- Is the Administration behind this?
- Those bastards.
- This is all so sudden. We need to respect the integrity of the process.
- Yes, integrity!
- Integrity! (mumble, mumble)
- I propose that the vaccine be tabled until next year, pending review by the relevant committees.
- (mumble, mumble)
- Which committees would those be?
- Good point. Let's establish an ad hoc task force to determine which committees properly have jurisdiction. Then we can have each committee thoroughly vet the proposal.
- I'll chair it!
- We have a volunteer. Is there a second?
- Second!
- Great! Any objections?
(Dr. Salk stares in mute disbelief.)
- Dr. Antedeluvian will chair the ad hoc committee. Who shall be represented on the committee?
- My division got the shaft on last year's committee.
- Your division wouldn't be able to find its ass with both hands and a map!
- Yours could, because that's where its head is!
- (“oooooooooo”)
- Colleagues, please. I propose one representative from each bargaining unit, one from the administration, and one student.
- (mumble, mumble)
- We'll address the cost issue as it comes up. All in favor?
- ('ayes' mumbled widely)
- Opposed?
(sound of crickets)
- Abstentions?
(sound of crickets yawning)
- The motion passes. Thank you, Dr. Salk, for your presentation. Dr. Antedeluvian's committee will convene next month to decide who can tell you what to do with your vaccine. Moving on to new business..."

Saturday, September 16, 2006


It has taken longer this time to get over the jet lag but I think that has something to do with an 8-hour train ride the day before I left. Last time, it was only 2 hours. Also, my best approach is to be gone about 10 days and I was gone 13 with the travel to southern Italy. I also had hair and dentist's appointsments and did get some odds and ends done.

It's a beautiful early fall day (cool in the morning even though the 90+ degree heat is back this afternoon. A friend is coming by after she watches the Arkansas ball game and we'll go out for steak this evening. I'm looking forward to it.

I've been outside about 2 hours and now it's time for some Dr. Pepper.

Apparently the spinach warning was overdone . . . . like banning all cars when only one brand is affected.

Monday, September 11, 2006


It was a great trip but, as always, it's great to be home - especially now that my luggage will be joining me in a few hours! My Cox internet is down and so I should catch up more on internet related items like blogging tomorrow.

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