Monday, April 30, 2007

see jane in the academy

see jane in the academy: "'So you won't be willing to change your career prospects now huh?' No. Why was he asking? Well because he thought that high powered academicy things might not be good for ones health...and said that they see an inordinate number of academics with autoimmune diseases. Hm."

Confessions of a Community College Dean

Dean Dad gives insight into the world of academe here that has some specific applications to many of us. This irrational fear of moving forward still puzzles me if students are the center of what we are trying to accomplish.

Confessions of a Community College Dean: "The assumption they all started with is that the normal and natural state of things is that public universities devote themselves to bringing the classical academic disciplines to the masses, in return for which the masses gladly pony up support for ample tenure-track positions. Any deviation from this vision – whether because of students choosing other majors, universities employing adjuncts, proprietary colleges springing up, or even students starting at cc's and transferring – is clearly less desirable, and to be explained through references to Republicans, globalization, and the Iraq war. The way back to the golden age, they all agreed, was through an unspecified alliance of faculty, labor, and students, whose interests, it was assumed, naturally converge. The various speakers differed in their estimation of the likelihood of that actually happening, but the way forward, to them, was clear."

There is obviously severe disconnect from the business world that doesn't have the option of engaging the defense mechanism if it wants to survive.

Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers -

Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers - "Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 30, 2007; Page A01

A female freelance writer who blogged about the pornography industry was threatened with rape. A single mother who blogged about 'the daily ins and outs of being a mom' was threatened by a cyber-stalker who claimed that she beat her son and that he had her under surveillance. Kathy Sierra, who won a large following by blogging about designing software that makes people happy, became a target of anonymous online attacks that included photos of her with a noose around her neck and a muzzle over her mouth."

This is alarming. The article fails to mention, however, that you need to mark your comments for review before publication. I hesitated to blog initially because of the type of potential threat here but decided that was letting someone else control my online presence. There are different challenges and obstacles to females than to males - even when it comes to technology in the modern world.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Introducing the Hipster PDA | 43 Folders

Introducing the Hipster PDA | 43 Folders

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: The frontier of education: Web 3D

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: The frontier of education: Web 3D

Visit Ancient Rome today!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lack of Public Tact

I just heard that Rosie is giving up full-time hosting duties on the view. Maybe the negative noise in the media will die down a notch. I still like the old Rosie best.

The other night I was watching the recast of the Country Music Awards and heard Jeff Foxworthy announce that the Dixie Chicks had done well with their newest album. However, he hadn't heard any of the songs because he listens to country radio . . .. Then what I liked best was his comment about the DC song "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice." He said "that's good, because we're not ready to care" - to great audience applause. My comment at the time was that I don't pay George Bush to sing and while public personalities are free to have their own political opinions, I go to music concerts to hear singing. And, throwing away and destroying cds is actually less harmless free speech than denouncing a president on foreign soil. And, it's a shame, because I loved the Dixie Chicks music. But that whole ordeal made them appear to be spoiled teenagers. They are very talented women and were really making strides from combining personal and professional in their roles as mothers. Too bad they threw a bit part of their audience away - and probably a segment of the population that needs to hear the equality message most.

I'm also disappointed that my idol is also so far to the left and anti-Bush. However, given his family background, he is merely being true to his roots and acting on his beliefs rather than just acting out like a child.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The storms have finally arrived - which means occasional loss of the tv picture and the computer picture. But I was glad when I woke up I had time to get out the weed trimmer and do some work before the rain late this afternoon. It looks quite ominous and so tornado watches are no surprise - especially witht he dark color in the sky. I haven't been to the farm for more than just checking in since before I went to Michigan so it's nice to relax just a bit.

A project that will take me to East Coast city has come to fruition and the timing is perfect - mid-May. And I was still able to get a reasonable airline ticket. Thank you, Midwest Airlines.

I'm starting to get in gear on the upcoming deadlines that just have to be done prior to the start of summer workshop season. Work always goes faster when the adrenaline is pumping so this is a good thing. I need to do more writing and that is exactly what I will be doing over the next few weeks.

I'm also playing around a bit here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring Mornings

I love spring mornings that are cool and crisp. Having the windows open has been fantastic!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Saturday in Santa Fe

We had a great time in Santa Fe at the NCPH meeting. It was snowing when began the meeting Friday morning and the welcome breakfast definitely made the teachers feel welcome. I then met with Peter and Tom about our session. Considering the competition at the same time, it went quite well. And, it was a great opportunity to get to know two TAH colleagues who primarily are in the public history world. Plus I now have an "inside track" to someone who can show me around New Orleans since he and his family have lived there a long time and are surviving even in the aftermath of Katrina.

We ate dinner at Pasqual's Friday night and had a great time all around. On Saturday, Tom's wife went with me to the farmer's market and then to do some general shopping - including the yarn and bead store. I found some yarn to finish a project that I had been trying to get since I was there two trips ago - the shop was closed the last time I was there. There's a popular culture meeting in Albuquerque next February and I think that will be on the agenda given that I can go up to Santa Fe for a day or two - and that one I could drive to if I wanted to and have room to bring anything back from Jackalope I'd like to. :-) We at at The Shed for lunch.

We headed back first thing on Sunday and luckily missed the weather delays that started on the east coast later in the day.

Otherwise, this week I've been gradually catching up around home. Mowing the lawn is great exercise - especially when you have time to do it. And it's time to get to know the neighbors again after a long winter and so much time away. It's nice not to be the youngest in the neighborhood anymore.

Tomorrow night I'm attending a dinner event with friends and then a family event on Saturday before heading to the farm on Sunday.

I've been exploring Second Life more - its sure drains the battery on the laptop fast - but is well worth the "trip".

Apparently our campus is one of many having memorial services for the tragic victims from earlier this week. It will take people awhile to feel safe again, but, more importantly, will help give college and university officials the power to do more when they just suspect a problem given what we know about the alleged shooter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Dean Dad has said it best. Given the nature of college campuses, it is impossible to lock down in any real capacity not to mention timeliness. The first year I arrived at the University of West Florida, there was a student murdered in the dorms over the Christmas break. Apparently the alleged assailant had been unsuccessful in Panama City and then moved on to Pensacola and his victim fought back so he killed her. UWF is a huge campus with multiple wooded areas. They did a sweep of campus the next week and found over 10 people with absolutely no reason to be hanging out there and with criminal records of various types.

We had two students murdered at my current campus the first few years I was here. Like many campuses, they put up emergency towers with phones and lights everywhere but I'm not sure that any potential perpetrator would attack anyone close to these.

My biggest concern - especially for the young women on campus even during the day - is that they always on their cell phones and have very little if any awareness of their immediate surroundings. My guess is that they think they are safer with someone on the phone but it's not like that person can get there. They just seem like easy targets since it's clear they wouldn't notice you coming up to them or even hear a strange sound. It's also important to remember that the typical college age student thinks they are invincible no matter what you try to warn them about. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Confessions of a Community College Dean: "Virginia Tech

By now you've probably heard about the shootings at Virginia Tech today – 21 dead at this point. Incredibly, the shootings apparently took place over two hours. It's still early, though, and sometimes the facts take some time to establish.

Stories like this rip my heart out, both as a dean and as a parent. My condolences to the students, parents, staff, and community.

College campuses are incredibly vulnerable places. They're open, they're highly populated, they're lightly patrolled (if at all), and they're full of stressed-out people. In a way, they're almost naive, if it's possible for institutions to be naive. As I've mentioned before, they really aren't built for easy lockdown modes. Most were built before that term was even coined.

Those awful 'what if's' are always in the back of my mind. One of my committees is the group that tries students accused of plagiarism or other cheating. We set up the room so that we're closer to the door than the student is, just in case. One of my colleagues has suggested to me, gently but clearly, that it might be a good idea to hide the pictures of my kids that I keep in my office – you just never know. (I haven't, but I haven't been able to shake the thought, either.)

I don't have a neat conclusion to this one. Sometimes, there are no words."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education - Inside Higher Ed :: Teachable Moments

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education - Inside Higher Ed :: Teachable Moments: "— Matthew Henry Hall

Matthew Henry Hall is a cartoonist and writer, living in Flagstaff, Ariz. Matthew would be "

Academic Politics

New Kid is only the latest casualty. Here are my comments to her:

The good side and bad side is how the hierarchy is or isn't implemented. But, based on this and other stories, it is everyone's best interest NOT to have any chair as a mentor. By the nature of the beast, they are supposed to be somewhat of a mentor, but their view of the entire dynamic is quite different given their direct responsibilities to the admnistrative levels above them. I once heard a chair's position described as half faculty and half administration and they are constantly struggling with being torn. On a personal note, anyone who is your mentor is supposed to want to see you succeed and they sometimes see it as a personal failure if you don't. So, they, too, may have had trouble seeing any particular signs of problems although his comments to you seem direct in hindsight and without the context in which they were spoken to you. Our interpretation of everything around us tends to further support what we want to believe and while academics as a group sometimes are quite brutally honest with students, they play in an entirely different dynamic. So, there are at least some systematic issues.

The most important thing is that you had this trip planned and you are enjoying what is a great city (my brother does quite a bit of business there and is thinking of moving there) and are spending some quality time with LDH.

Although there will be times it will be difficult, at least you have a terminal year unlike those in other careers that can be booted out the door almost immediately upon a bad review. Take some time to reassess what you want to do.

Most importantly, academia is NOT the only option although we're sometimes led to believe that it is. Even those of us who survive the various academic battles (and almost everyone has who stays very long) sometimes question the ultimate costs. Do what is best for New Kid and no one else. It may be as simple as that this place was not a good fit. The sad reality is that most doctoral programs prepare us to teach in settings just like they have and that is simply NOT the majority of teaching positions. Plus, you identified an important issue - being a good teacher doesn't mean we can teach all. Look how many students at all levels complain in "national surveys" that they didn't learn much in college and didn't have to study. And those same people are the ones evaluating professors who push them to do their best as being not the best. Interesting paradox that actually affects peoples lives and careers.

One thing to keep in mind as you encounter your campus colleagues over the next year - hold your head high and don't let them know they got to you - that is ultimately the best revenge. And, most importantly, it's most important for you to focus on yourself and what you need to put them all in their little boxes that won't be affecting you anymore. We (your friends and colleagues in the blog world) certainly don't want you to feel overwhelmed by this decision for another year. Enjoy the freedom you have - do your job as you interpret it - taking care of students, etc., but don't worry about other obligations to the institution that ultimately decided you weren't meeting their 'requirements'. Keep thinking forward about what you want to do next and do the writing and presenting and researching that will help you with that - whether it's professional research or researching what options you have out in this big wide world.

Hang in there! The cliche is true - what doesn't kill us makes us stronger - and don't be shy about seeking out all the support you can. As you said, that's when you know who your real friends are.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I made another trip to Second Life last night and met two friends - one I am more sure about than the other but time will tell. There seem to be some safe places to navigate there.

I was able to catch up on some H-Net related tasks today and received some appreciative responses back. I worried about the farm needlessly (because of the cold winter snap) - even with the heat off, the temp was still 68 degrees - guess they really build houses tight sometimes. But, next year I'm not turning the heat totally off until May 1 - the same time I can plant the garden.

We're headed to Santa Fe tomorrow to present about TAH at the National Council for Public History meeting. I love the food there and the people will be fun.

Our TAHPS workshop went well yesterday - the presenter was enthusiastic and really engaged the teachers so it got us off to a great start.

I feel like I'm starting to catch up at least a bit. I'm learning I can't do it all at once and there's no since putting undue pressure on myself (but I still will, of course). I also did some shopping at Walgreens so that's one more thing caught up. I have been giving them quite a bit more of my business than Wal-mart but have had to occasionally return to Wal-mart for contact solution that's only available there - apparently I'm allergic to most of the name brand for my new soft lenses. So, one more problem solved.

It might even snow while we are in Santa Fe. I'm beginning to think we'll just skip spring and go straight from winter to summer.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter and Second Life

I read in this morning's paper about an Easter service in Second Life. We celebrated the family Easter at a vigil service last night - which also included bilingual as in repeat instead of alternate and baptisms and confirmations. The town I grew up in has changed quite a bit.

I had hoped to spend some time this afternoon exploring Second Life but the Cox internet was not working again. I talked to someone who lives in another part of town and they are having some issues. Hopefully they get them straightened out given that they are the best option given that the other high speed option in town gives me cause for concern regarding privacy issues.

I did spend some time outside - mowing, weed and feeding, and pruning hydrangea bushes - now that I have discovered that spring pruning is better than fall pruning - esp. when fall pruning cuts down on the flowering of hydrangeas.

I'll still be playing catch up this week. We have a grant activity on Tuesday in Kansas City and then I go to Santa Fe on Thursday for the National Council on Public History meeting. We're doing another interactive session on TAH grants. Plus, I am also looking forward to food in Santa Fe and going to the farmer's market on Saturday morning.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Home again

I'm home again for the Easter Holiday. DC had the same weather we did last week - ranging form 80s to teens. From the looks of the news today, I missed the snow that arrived there last night. :-(

The grass is still green and needs mowing so that will be some good sunshine time before going to celebrate the family Easter. It's so good being home in my own bed although I am still quite exhausted and am still processing the events of the last two weeks. I imagine it will take until after I am home from the two trips this week to do all of that. Then, it's planning for summer and getting everything done prior to the start of the summer grant season with teachers with so many full days committed to the wonderful things I'll learn from working with them on TAH grants.

In the meantime, I'll try to do some catching up. I did some exploring online last night of online learning and virtual spaces. Interesting . . ..

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back in Washington, DC

I'm back in DC to attend a National Archives Electronic Records Advisory Committee meeting. I took my usual flight into DC that gets me in so that I can get settled in. We're out in Crystal City that was the city created by the metro. I was quite intrigued by the office listing for the University of Oklahoma. They offer 3 graduate degrees here in communications, leadership, and public policy. While it may not make sense to folks from outside Oklahoma, I can certainly see why any Oklahoma parent would be more comfortable not only paying tuition ot the University of Oklahoma but also having a different type of connection with their child (and the student with their school) than trying to determine whether or not they could get into a DC area school (or whether or not it would be appropriate for them). I wonder how many grad students working on degree programs out of this U of Oklahoma satellite campus work in a senate or house office building? I imagine there is a story there.

Ok, on Danny Deutsch, the foot model says she never wears anything but comfortable shoes except on photo shoots - even as she leaves the car and walks into the building where the photos will be taken. In fact, she actually said it was a "disaster when the car wasn't right there" and someone had to carry her for a few blocks. Interesting. . . . almost like all of those botox-ed and multiple surgery folks who think they look perfect . . Just underscores that we should all try to be ourselves no matter what . . . .

The cold front that is hitting hoome is coming in here just a few hours later. 80 degrees today but only 30s to 50s on Friday. I am SO glad we're not stuck out in Maryland way away from metro stops like our last committee meeting. We were closer to Archives II but I would much prefer to take the shuttle between Archives I and II than be stuck at the Maryland Marriott.

Tomorrow will also mark the first time I have had internet access during an ACERA committee meeting. I had the broadband card last time but the security built into the Archives II building kept the signal silent.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Still Here just not around

The TAH Symposium and OAH were great- more details later. I have been home 2 days as spring blooms and the yard and farm call. Tomorrow I'm off for a National Archives Electronic Records Committee meeting. This will be the first time I won't be offline during the meeting so I will be able to check out what we discuss in real time instead of as homework. We're staying near a metro stop this time, too, which will make life so much easier.

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