I should not be writing this! I absolutely have better things to do, by almost any measure. Yet I have been asked by higher-ups to clarify which of my publications are “refereed” and which not. Unless I decide simply to resign, which among other things would entail leaving my current students in the lurch, I … Continue reading What Makes for Value and Quality in the Writing of a Scholar?
Earlier I discussed a reporter who wanted my sound-bite wisdom about “denominations” in the south—whereupon I endeavored to wrestle her question into a form I could answer in 1000 words or less. Yesterday I got a companion request about “agnosticism in the south” from a reporter who writes for a paper grounded in the LGBTQ … Continue reading Another Day, Another Reporter: True and Useful Generalizations About “Agnosticism” in 700 Words or Less
Those proud and few readers who knew about MBE from the outset realize that you have been guinea pigs in an extremely small-scale experiment—one that I told few people about and sometimes pondered setting aside. By now have received sufficient positive feedback, and have enjoyed working on MBE enough, that today I took the plunge … Continue reading Rising Out of Beta Mode!
This is day 40 or more (depending on how one counts) of a major strike in British universities, which has been nearly ignored by the news. (This and this are exceptions to the rule.) It is also day four or more (depending on how one counts) in the aftermath of an attack on tenure at my … Continue reading “Assessment” Continued: Academic Success Vs. Health and Well-Being
What follows is lightly revised from a talk I gave in 2009 on the occasion of my teacher, David W. Noble, retiring from the University of Minnesota. David died on March 11, 2018. Here is an obituary, and no doubt David’s many friends and colleagues will weigh in with more ambitious scholarly reflections about his legacies. … Continue reading David W. Noble, Beloved Mentor, Rest in Peace
I hope I was clear in my last post, and in any case it bears repeating, that I do not think the logic of “assessment” is tied narrowly to “student outcomes.” There are many levels including: Dimensions of teaching—not just classroom dynamics and teaching evaluations, but also deciding on departmental curricula and balancing resources across … Continue reading Assessment Part II: Drones Vs. Teachers, Prisons Vs. Students, and Universities Vs. Another Tax Subsidized Hockey Stadium
Yesterday I read this piece in the New York Times by Molly Worthen. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments thread, which included a fair amount of vitriol against supposedly lazy and irresponsible college teachers. Overall the comments were a mixed bag of support and critique—understandably, since questions about the purposes and standards … Continue reading “Assessment”: Turning the Precious Public Resource of a University Into a Second-Rate High School