Tag Archives: college

Changing the Education Paradigm

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Free Books at AVC: My Quixotic Quest to Give Away Free Books Around My College

In a bit of pushback against the demise of the bookstore, I had the following thought: If it’s generally not a good business model to sell dead tree books out of physical storefronts anymore, why can’t colleges at least recreate … Continue reading

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At Last, an Honest Budget: Why I’m Glad Jerry Brown is Governor of California

When Jerry Brown ran for governor last year, I voted for him. One reason I did so was because I believed that he would be likely to keep everything above-board, budget-wise. He has delivered in spades. After recently vetoing a budget … Continue reading

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Community Colleges, the Enrollment Bottleneck, and a Dirty Little Secret

On April 8, 2011, the New York Times ran a piece on students making: . . . a strategic financial decision to attend community college first as a cost saving measure. The cost savings can be large (perhaps somewhere in the … Continue reading

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What’s an undergraduate education for?

I like the way Tim Lee, a CATO Institute scholar, thinks about undergraduate education: [T]he primary function of an undergraduate education is to allow the student to join a scholarly community, and in the process to soak up the values and attitudes … Continue reading

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Two Questions for Professors: Are You Demanding and Do You Teach Critical Thinking?

The following is in Salon today: [W]hat if the downward trend in learning extends into the echelons of higher education? That’s what Richard Arum argues in “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.” Arum, a sociology and education professor at … Continue reading

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Solar Roofs over Parking Lots Are Going Viral in California and The Southwest

This is in the New York Times this week: Ersatz roofs made of solar panels have sprouted above dozens of school parking lots in the state [of California], altering vistas and promoting a philosophy of green thinking among the young. Yet … Continue reading

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The Case against Dumbing Down

I don’t know about you, but I’m totally against dumbing down subjects or language use before my students. I believe, for example, that if the undergraduates sitting before me in a class have limited vocabularies (and they all invariably do), it’s … Continue reading

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Sarah Palin’s America

The Sarah Palin life model is internalized by a child:

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Why Read Literature or Watch Good Films? Martha Nussbaum on the Role of the Imagination in the Cultivation of Empathy

Here’s a great quote from Martha Nussbaum’s new book, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law  (Oxford 2010, xvii): That ‘terrified’ gay teenager needs, and deserves, equal respect, and a sphere of liberty equal to that enjoyed by … Continue reading

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Aristotle on (what ought to be) a source of social shame

A great Aristotle quote: It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use … Continue reading

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To boldly go where no critical thinker has gone before?

This Tech Talk podcast, posted yesterday at the New York Times, sounds interesting: In this week’s New York Times Tech Talk podcast, J.D. Biersdorfer talks to Nancy Hill of the University of Texas at El Paso about lessons from “Star Trek.” … Continue reading

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How Free is Your Speech if You Are an Instructor at a Publicly Financed School?

According to the ACLU website, if you are a public school teacher your free speech latitude depends on two things: where you are expressing yourself (in or out of the classroom); and whether you teach minors or adults. Here’s the … Continue reading

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Should community college professors watch what they say?

If community college professors are any indication, United States citizens, who normally pride themselves on their freedom of speech, are not quite as free to speak their minds as they might like to believe. Academe Online says community college professors are … Continue reading

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A great Henry David Thoreau quote

No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. What is a course of history, or philosophy, or poetry, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what … Continue reading

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Jerry Coyne: an atheist evolutionary biologist recommends a movie

Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago calls An Education  a “don’t-miss film”: [T]his gets my vote for the best movie of 2009 and one of the best of the last few years: An Education. Based on a true story, … Continue reading

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Did Sarah Palin write this Amazon review?

I thought that the below Amazon review of Michael Hyde’s The Life-Giving Gift of Acknowledgment  (Purdue 2005), in its unironic anti-intellectuality and impatience with anything not conventionally “normal,” inadvertently channelled Sarah Palin. It was as if the person had accidentally walked into the … Continue reading

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AC Grayling: For University Students, Stop the Hand-Holding?

In today’s Guardian, philosopher AC Grayling offers his view of the role of a university education: University is emphatically not about spoon-feeding and hand-holding through courses, but the very opposite. It is not about maximising contact hours, but about autonomy … Continue reading

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Google’s Press

According to Anthony Grafton at the New Yorker, Google is in the process of passing yet another milestone in the digitizing and distribution of books: Google announced [on Sept. 17th, 2009] that they would allow On Demand Books to produce paperback … Continue reading

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Papa Bear (Bill O’Reilly) Makes Some Kind Remarks about President Barack Obama

Pinch me. Bill O’Reilly said something nice  about Barack Obama! Three ghosts must have visited him last night, but credit where credit’s due: What he has achieved in his 48 years is simply astounding. Consider the odds. The United States … Continue reading

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