Thoughtful Tuesday

So I’ve been reading some of the latest posts AND the replies.

It has been my goal and intention to take a summer break from academics and just hang with y’all sparingly on The Lounge with whimsical posts, but one of the replies caught my eye. It reads:

I keep waiting for these posts to turn a corner and contribute in a more positive way to the collegial dialogue that the Harold Lounge is designed to foster.

So, to Erica and all of you who are coming to The Lounge for collegiate dialogue, I offer the following thoughtful question(s):

If you are teaching this summer, do you feel you are still getting a ‘summer break’ from the academic rigors of the Fall and Spring semester? Why do you elect to work during the summer?

If you are not teaching this summer, what are you doing during your ‘summer break’ to prepare for the academic rigors of the Fall and Spring semester? Why do you elect to not work during the summer?

I’ll leave it at that for now. Spellin an grammatically errers permitted (unless your name is Merriam or Webster or Oxford). Anonymity encouraged.

Yes, this is my summer take on the Tuesday Teaching posts. Looking to foster what the reader/s want/s.

I’ll address the other/secondary issues when my summer break permits. Stay cool peeps!

Happy 4th of July

Couple of articles to share with you on this day while we celebrate our collective freedom and independence as a community of people in these united states:

A report in the Trib about the political unrest in Egypt. Gives me perspective on the day. Poor Alexandria.

A technocratic interim government will be formed, along with a panel for national reconciliation, and the constitution will be reviewed. Mansour said fresh parliamentary and presidential elections would be held, but he did not specify when.

Also from the Trib, an article related to academic freedom. But wait. It’s not a free read. If you click on the link to his article, you’ll need your digitalPLUS membership to read his words on what changed his mind about the Fourth of July. The irony. I’ll post a link once he’s given permission to post it on his website. Here’s a snippet:

… not the freedoms we passively enjoy, but the freedoms we must defend by fostering and practicing them, no matter the consequences. No matter the cost.

And a bonus. A two for one if you will. It’s about Thunderclap and the July 4th protesting of NSA spying. Here’s the link to Thunderclap. Read what it’s all about. Let your voice be heard. Here’s a link to the protest on thunderclap. You are free to lend support, but the clock is ticking.

Super bonus. Read or hear what our president had to say in his weekly address.

Have a fantastic day. Enjoy the holiday. May God bless all who protect our freedoms and independence.

Tabula Rasa Sunday

Better late on this gorgeous Sunday than… fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve said my peace on the last two Sunday posts.

Your turn.

Got anything?

Care to check in from your remote location during these summer days?

If you’re teaching this summer, how’s that goin’?

Got anything planned for the 4th?

Numb from the minor league play of our two baseball teams?
(Cubs were going to underachieve this year-that was a given. What’s the Sox excuse???)

Sorry.

Like I said, your turn.

Tabula Rasa Sunday

Summer is officially/chronologically/orbitally here!

What are your summer plans?

A bit of week-in-review thoughts to give this post a kick start:

Hawks get a win last night, but what’s with all the fans sayin’ “We” won!, and “We played really hard!”. (I’ve been guilty of using that pronoun in the past on The Lounge, so if I can mend my ways, so can the Hawk fans.)

What was with the reporters sporting Hawk colors and logos while providing live coverage. Ain’t that the equivalent of reporting from a political convention with the words “Republican” or “Democrat” stamped across their garments?

So Paula Deen admits to using an inappropriate word and gets a tub full of butter thrown her way. Food Network will not pick up her contract next month. I guess she needs to appear on MTV.com and then it woulda’ been alright. Funny how obscene language appears to be tolerated under some circumstances but not others. Oh, wait… MTV.com hits the mute button so I don’t have to hear the language. Guess that makes it ok.

Tabula Rasa Sunday

How y’all doin? Got anything to say?

Sorry that I didn’t put up a Tabula Rasa post last week.
Looks like PhiloDave’s post covered the topic for the week.

For this week, I do want to know what’s on your mind, but in all fairness, I’ll share my eclectic thoughts too:

-Hawks making a run for the Stanley Cup again. Every time I see the logo, it makes me think of PhiloDave’s concerns (with a nod to 12keystrokes). So while I am enjoying the competitive side of the games, I am also enjoying the philosophical side of it.

-Heat and Spurs. Rooting for the Spurs. Don’t like it when teams try to buy championships and that’s what I see the Heat trying to do. See Florida Marlins of 1997 to 1998. Could the same happen to the Heat next year?

-Been limiting my posts, but I’ll give y’all a response to 12keystrokes at some point. Don wants to know too and I won’t let him down.

-Concerned about the leaked privacy issues? Part of me is since we live in a “democratic” and “free” country. Part of me isn’t since this is the price to pay for living in a “democratic” and “free” country. Will continue to ponder it.

Have a good day and a HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all you Fathers, Grandfathers, Godfathers, family relatives that fulfill fatherly responsibilities, and Mentors that give ‘Fathers’ a good name.

Peace.

Tabula Rasa Sunday

Tabula rasa, meaning blank slate in Latin, is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. That’s according to wikipedia.
No, don’t get on my case about wiki being an illegitimate source. It’s summer. Yeah, that’s my excuse. And I’m stikin’ with it.

Point is… what knowledge do you want to share from your experiences (in any matters) or preceptions (of said matters) related to our academic lives (HWC, CCC, CPS, SURS, CCTU, etc, etc.)? Or if you’re taking a break from academics (ha!, as if that were possible), then life in general.

Have your democratic say and keep enjoying that summer break! This post will run every Sunday during the summer, so don’t fret of you cant’s think of nothin’ right now. Perhaps the effect of those spirits from last nigh hasn’t worn off just yet? Yeah, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout…

Making summer plans – looking for some guidance

Peeps. Some of us may not be done grading yet. Don’t sweat it. You ain’t alone, you hard-workin’ faculty member! You have until next week, right? You know, when you’re off the clock and payroll, but are still required to get the job done?
Did ya hear that, Perry? Norm?
sigh…
At least it’s electronic, so thank you, District. (I dont’s say that sos you can rest on our laurels bigD. Get that reimbursement process fixed so I can say thank you again.)

I thought I’d take a break from the above and start makin’ some summer plans. But I needs your help. Simply complete the poll and I will abide by the results. Poll is open until the end of this month, May 2013.

Why am I doing this? ‘Cause I gots nothin’ but love for y’all and I’m all for a democratic experience, plain and simple. Feel free to leave an anonymous reply and pick a theme or topic for the summer and I’ll sees what I can do.

Enjoy the break!

theacademicvoice.has.gone.private

First it was Angela Henderson.

Now it’s Kojo.

His blog is down, or rather, in private mode, or protected. Whatever that means.

We hardly knew you, Provost Quarterly. You’d think he would have at least taken the liberty of sayin’ good-bye via his blog, right? Then again, was he at liberty to say anything? Wonder if some lawyers put the duct tape on his digital mouth.

Try doin’ a directory search of his name, and you draw a blank. Wow!, when District puts their collective efforts to get something done, they sure know what people to bring in and what buttons to push. If only they could attack the procurement process with the same zeal and expediency, we wouldn’t doubt their collective abilities to be productive and/or effective.

Was this District’s way of givin’ me an incentive to attend FDW so’s I’ll be so intrigued about who our future Provost will be?? Who knows. And that’s the biggest shame of them all. We are a public institution and yet we, the taxpayers, who pay our own salaries and every single one of those employed at District, will never know or be informed about why  folks come and go. Darn shame.

GBU: Summer and Fall Printed Schedules

GBU stands for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Bad can have either a positive or negative connotation per today’s slang. Rock it any way you’d like.

The point is the schedules are out. Printed. At least the Summer one is. Fall ain’t far behind. I knows this ’cause they’re on our websites. In case you’ve not gotten a look, here be the links to our Summer and Fall schedules. I digress.

The point is that while we can’t cry over spilled milk, we should at least have an opportunity to voice our observations and concerns about the guides our students will be using as they prepare to advance their education. At least that’s what I thinks.

Care to read s’more? I’ll give you my take on the GBU of the schedules. Don’t matter to ya? Cool. Stop right hear and head down to that April 1st post. It bears multiple reads. Funny stuff.

(more…)

Why I blog anonymously – Part II

How’s it going peeps?

I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

I did myself a bit o’ katchin-up on the posts/replies regarding anonymity. Good stuff, peeps.

I was gonna wait till the series of posts by 12keystrokes came to a conclusion, and for Kamran’s longer anonymous post, but it appears a bad zit wants to pop on the face of this here respectful Lounge and I donts want it to put a blemish on all the good that has come from PhiloDave’s endeavors.

In no particular order, here are a few reasons stating why I will continue to blog anonymously:

Anonymity levels the playing field. Too many times when we agree with the author of the post, we put her/him on our shoulders and parade ’em around the other happy folks. Too many times when we disagree with the author, we kick her/him to the ground regardless of the content of the post. Anonymity doesn’t give us an opportunity to raise or lower the individual, it requires that we focus on the issue/words of the post.

Anonymity gives all equal freedom of speech. I’m fascinated that the Realist has come under a barrage of attacks. Trust me when I says it don’t bother me the least. But I offer this thought: If it was believed/known that Don was the ghostwriter behind the pen name, would the Realist be under a microscope? I believe we’d all think twice about leaving a reply (good or bad). Don’t believe me? Go over to his blog and tell me all the replies are examples of freedom of speech. You might say yes, but I know that if peeps believed they had true freedom of speech, there would be soooo many more replies –  with authentic faculty names. On blogs, it should be about the speech, not who said it. Bear in mind, that it doesn’t give anyone the right to shout fire when their ain’t one.

Anonymity removes the power of influence. There are a minority of individuals with titles, and those titles have been used to wield power and control over the majority with no titles and of course, no power or control.
If Chancellor Hyman says we need to be a world class institution, then that’s where all the vice-chancellors focus their attention. She has power of influence over the VC’s.
If student Hyman, along with a group of her classmates, had said the same when she was attending OH, no vice-chancellor would have cared. The VC’s have power over the students.
That’s how the game is taught and played when there is no anonymity. The minority with power of influence would rather have it this way and I simply disagree.

Anonymity gives all equal freedom of expression. It is liberating. Suppose I’m an english teacher and I use my own name to create a post. If the reader doesn’t like the post, then English Teacher Realist becomes the center of attention and possible ridicule. English Teacher Realist could also garner praise. I ain’t lookin’ for neither.
Suppose y’all don’t know I’m an english teacher. That gives me the freedom to makes literal mistakes here and there without being chastised – or praised. Suppose I be a math teacher but want to give creative writing a shot. I can do it anonymously and build my creative skills. Ain’t that why some famous authors used pen names? ‘Specially women?

All ideas can be used for both good and bad. Anonymous posts can be like nuclear technology – used for harm or good.
I made a choice to use it for good and I try to give anonymity a reputable name.
It is a privilege to be an anonymous blogger. With privilege comes responsibilities that should be upheld, not perverted.

It is my hope that we’ll look past the desire to control the game or desire to control others and focus on content and context of anonymous posts. Ditto for non-anonymous posts. My hope is that we, the entire blogging community, will stop efforts to marginalizing or silence others, stop trying to be the freedom of speech police and stop suppressing the self-expression of others. Let’s grant others the rights that we grant ourselves.

My hope is that you’ll like or dislike this post with respect and attention to the written word, not the writer of the word. And in past and future posts, I hope we blog participants will look past typos, lack of citations and links to authoritative sources. Sure, they’re needed every now and then, but not always. I believe we need to focus on the telos of the content if we are to be critical thinkers. I could care less if you mention or even remember this author.

Signed,
Pothumblycallinthekettleblack

Commencement 2013

Straight cut-and-paste from the inbox (color added by yoursess truly):

The City Colleges of Chicago community will come together at the 2013 graduation ceremony to celebrate Associate degree completers:

Friday, May 3, 2013
UIC Pavilion
525 S. Racine Ave.
 
Beyond our control, the University of Illinois changed its graduation schedule and venue rental regulations, forcing City Colleges to hold Commencement the Friday before finals. We understand that the timing may be a challenge, so we are asking the Class of 2013 to vote on the most convenient time to hold the commencement on Friday, May 3.  We will tally the survey results and announce the winning timeframe for Commencement 2013 on Monday, March 11.
 
City Colleges graduates have worked hard to attain this educational milestone and we look forward to celebrating their achievement with this time-honored tradition.

I aint’s got nothin’ to say ’bout it right now. There are some pros and cons to the date. Good to see that some things are out of CCC’s control. At least they know what it feels like now; I mean in terms of being told what you can and cants do by others.
CCC appears to be eatin’ some humble pie and asking the graduates what time works best.
So if the Pavilion empties early (again!), them grads should take part of the blame, since they’ve been given an opportunity to have a say, right?
Hey!, this frees up my Saturday!

Guess I did have somethin’ to say after all.
Have your say too.
Peace.
Out.

A Survey by Dr. Farah Movahedzadeh

If you missed the email from Margie, read the following:

“Dr. Farah Movahedzadeh has been doing some research on why students fail. She presented Phase I of the research at the Lilly conference last summer. She is extending the research now and is asking that faculty at HWC participate. The goal is to learn more about faculty perceptions so that we can provide more outreach to students to increase their success. If you would like to participate, please fill out the attached form and email it to fmovahedzadeh@ccc.edu , or you can hand it in anonymously at the State of the College on Friday. There will be a box by the door.
Thank you for your participation.”

This is a good opportunity to add your perspective on this important issues. Also, a nice opportunity to support our own HWC faculty research! It seems likely the next research might be on why students succeed.

Why Do You Think Students Fail Classes Survey

Gettin’ ready for State o’ the College Spring 2013

State o’ the college is days away. This post is goin’ up to ask y’all if y’all gots any questions for our President, Don.

It appears we get micro-phono-anxiety-inis when it comes to askin’ questions at this thingy. Last I checked, we all have questions (and concerns) about the state of our college.

Sure, there are a handful of folks that take their anxiety medication and are able to hold that mike in their hand and ask away. But what about you? Me thinks you sit there with a plethora of questions and curiosities but hesitate for one reason or an other to ask that all important question.

Sure, I understand that when Don says, “any questions?” we look at our watches and smart phones wondering if the questions and answers will be worth the time.
Hmmm, if we all stay silent a few moments, then we can leave real soon and I can get back to doin’ x or y… or maybe do z…

And for reasons beknownst and unbeknownst to me, we sometimes stay and sometimes go.

To resolve the dilemma (I use the word dilemma here to mean neither good n/or bad), here’s what I propose: Lay out the questions via a reply to this post ahead of time. Give Don some time to ponder the question(s) and then have him incorporate the answers into the speech/presentation.

Wouldn’t that be a more efficient use of our time?

I recommend asking questions anonymously. No micro-phono-anxiety-inis to worry about. Your identity remains protected AND you’ll never need medication! (This means you won’t get drowsy, won’t get nausea, and won’t experience sudden vision loss!)

This post is not endorsed by our President and there are no guarantees he will answer. However, you have nothing to lose and a bit to gain if you have a question or concern about your college. A good dose of Q&A can only help to strengthen our community. And get you back to doin’ x or y and maybe z…

Why I blog anonymously – Part I

This is a follow-up to my previous post in which I told you why I blog.

Now, in true procrastination form (it’s only been 6 months, right?) and semi-sabbatical mode for the semester, it’s time to give you some background as to why I do it anonymously.

I’ll start by telling you that I once participated in an online chat community, a few months before The Lounge came to be. In this community, every member identified her/him self by first name so we all knew who was posting and replying. We already knew each other F2F so it was good to stay in touch when we couldn’t meet in person. Life was good.

One weekend, all the the members of this community shared a F2F experience that was, shall I say, bad. We took to discussing this experience online.

As it always happens, there was disagreement between members as to how we should interpret and understand this experience. Long story short, I was on the minority side of discussing how we should understand the experience and how we could proceed. I noticed that those on the majority began to take a disrespectful tone towards the minority in this particular discussion and other discussions that were posted.

I take blame for having used strong language in trying to defend the POV of the minority. Suffice it to say, the majority began to find fault in everything that was being said by the minority, both online and eventually in person.  It got to the point where disagreement had to be the status quo and even if I was in agreement with certain discussions,well, there was always a way to deem it disingenuous because I had been labeled as a minority by the majority.

I stepped away, perhaps too little too late, from this online community. I limited my opportunities to meet any members F2F. The whole experience left me wondering about the dynamics of discussion. Towards the end of that experience, and by way of an extended-water-cooler discussion, a philosopher introduced me to a writing and the ideas of John Rawls. Unbeknownst to the philosopher, the timing could not have been any better. There was nothing I could do about the past. However, I tucked these lemons of an experience away and decided I would make lemonade with them one day.

So it was that when The Lounge was started, I was ready to get back into the online community. However, I was going to let my experiences and John Rawls words (and indirectly,  the philosopher’s ideas) guide my next move. It was time to make lemonade.

I was ready to reply to a PhiloDave post and use my real name. But I couldn’t do it and I didn’t want to do it. Yet I wanted to support the mission of the blog. So it was that I sat at my computer and decided on a pen name in order to put my understanding of Rawls’ words (along with other influential thinkers and friends) into action. One reply followed another, which followed another, and so on.

And that was that. I made a commitment to uphold what I thought to be the only true way to have an objective online discussion. I believed, and still do, that anonymity forces the reader to focus on the objectivity of the post/reply and not the subjectivity of the blogger. More on that in part II.