Tuesday Teaching Talk (TTT) Welcome Back!

Tuesday Teaching Talk is a regular feature which, as the name implies, is an opportunity to talk explicitly about teaching (and learning) in the practical and philosophical sense that happens on, you guessed it, Tuesday. Hold on to your hats.  The CAST coordinators (yes there are 2 of us) are tasked with supplying TTTs to you.  Look for questions, videos, tips, etc.  Enjoy!

It’s all downhill from here.  This is not to say that it’s getting worse, but rather to say that before we know it, another semester will be in the books.

For part of today’s TTT, look up at the post right above. The second part is a quick story.  Here goes.

Since people are possibly reading, I figured I’d share a quick story from yesterday.  I walked into my first class of the day energetic, ready to finish the semester on a high note.  I was hit with a wall of exhaustion and what smelled like sadness and resignation to be back after the break.  Despite my best efforts and worst jokes, I just couldn’t break through the wall.  I was also missing about 1/4 of my class.  At the end of both of my classes, students nearly knocked each other over getting to the door.  I share this not brag about how dull my classes must have been today, but rather to see if anyone else had a similar experience today.  I remain optimistic and will chalk today up to post-break shock.

Finally, the last bits are some quick adverts.

1) TIE 2012 is almost upon us.  Join us this Friday at 8 a.m. for all the technology you can handle is roughly 5 hours.  Registration is from 8-8:45 with an early bird raffle at 8:30 and some welcomes at 8:45.  There will be 3 rounds of breakouts (one of which will be done by your CAST coordinators) and several other done by HW faculty.  There will be lunch.  The registration deadline was yesterday but you can try this link or let me (hwc_CAST@ccc.edu) or Ephrem (erabin@ccc.edu) know you’re coming.

2) Last but not least, in case you missed this great news before the break from the CAST website.

Check this out!
Thank you John Kieraldo!
Our HWC library has a direct link to the Chronicle!
” The library, with impetus from CAST, has just added online access to The Chronicle of Higher Education web edition http://0-www.chronicle.com.colib.ccc.edu/. Access The Chronicle  from the library web page http://hwclibrary.ccc.edu/ for access to all print issues content from 1989, and additional content not available in the print edition. There are also blogs, surveys, job announcements and commentaries. Sign up for any number of online newsletters including Academe Today, a weekly report, or a newsletter with a focus on community colleges, among others. Text from the current print edition is published every Monday morning. There is a searchable archive of issues from 1989. “

P.S.  There’s also that FDW 2012 survey.   Click here if you’re not one of the 10 thus far to complete it.

Two For Tuesday

Two from the Chronicle that are worth reading and might prove useful in various ways:

This one on Henry James caught my attention. The last Henry James I read was when I was a sophomore in high school, 25 years ago now. I hated it then (The Turn of the Screw was the book), and haven’t been able to pick any of his stuff up since, despite the warm admiration for James from my favorite philosopher and my own immense appreciation for his brother’s writing. This article is almost enough to get me to try again. Almost. From the article:

Certainly he is subtle and refined in ways that reach out to those who crave refinement in a world that is decidedly crude and explicit. It’s hard to imagine a cultural universe in which Dumb and Dumber and TheTurn of the Screw coexist. James speaks with a quiet voice in a very loud time. His whole mode of being—focused on human relationships and their intricacies of thought and feeling, riveted by the foolish or wise choices we make in dealing with family and friends—also presents a kind of challenge. In an age of Facebook, James forces us to think about our own choices, to ask ourselves how we really want to live our lives.

And a philosopher on the future of capitalism. Definitely of interest to–and likely to raise interesting discussion in–various philosophy and social science classes, at the least.

The biggest unknown in contemplating the future of capitalism is the tolerance of the world’s population for the havoc that this social system’s difficulties will inflict on their lives. That people are able to react constructively in the face of the breakdown of normal patterns of social life, improvising solutions to immediate problems of physical and emotional survival, is amply demonstrated by their behavior in the face of disasters like earthquakes, floods, and wartime devastation, as well as in earlier periods of economic distress. That 21st-century people have not lost the capacity to confront social authorities in defense of their interests has been demonstrated by protesting young people in Athens, striking government workers in Johannesburg, and most recently and spectacularly by the Egyptians who, at least for the moment, destroyed a long-lived police state.

People are, in any case, going to have adequate opportunity to explore such possibilities in the near future, if they wish to better their conditions of life in the concrete ways an unraveling economy will require. While at present they are still awaiting the promised return of prosperity, at some point the newly homeless millions, like many of their predecessors in the 1930s, may well look at newly foreclosed, empty houses, unsaleable consumer goods, and stockpiled government foodstuffs and see the materials they need to sustain life. The simple taking and using of housing, food, and other goods, however, by breaking the rules of an economic system based on the exchange of goods for money, in itself implies a radically new mode of social existence.

The social relation between employers and wage earners, one that joins mutual dependence to inherent conflict, has become basic to all the world’s nations. It will decisively shape the ways the future is experienced and responded to. No doubt, as in the past, workers will demand that industry or governments provide them with jobs, but if the former could profitably employ more people, they would already be doing so, while the latter are even now coming up against the limits of sovereign debt. As unemployment continues to expand, perhaps it will occur to workers with and without jobs that factories, offices, farms, schools, and other workplaces will still exist, even if they cannot be run profitably, and can be set into motion to produce goods and services that people need. Even if there are not enough jobs—paid employment, working for business or the state—there is plenty of work to be done if people organize production and distribution for themselves, outside the constraints of the business economy. This would mean, of course, constructing a new form of society.

Read the rest here.

Yesterday’s News Made The News

As headlines, no less.

Here’s the version in The Chronicle.

Here’s the version from Inside Higher Ed (in which it is confirmed that our incoming President was hired under the new expectations and insisted that “No one was fired.” They also managed to wrest a comment from our Union leadership (“Hey-yo! A Perry sighting!!”). You can read it here.

The comments section of both should be interesting to watch…

Oh, and as a bonus (who doesn’t love bonus reading?) here’s a little piece from the Tribune on the Civic Consulting Alliance and what they’re doing for our new Mayor-elect. I found this paragraph particularly interesting in light of ALL of the events of the past week:

The author is the influential but low-profile Civic Consulting Alliance, the pro bono government consulting arm of the Commercial Club of Chicago, which is waging a public campaign for pension cutbacks for state workers under the mantra “Illinois Is Broke.”

No mention in either paper (that I could find) of the President’s thing, though. Not yet, anyway.

Chronicle Day: On Completion and Regionality

So, earlier this week, I posted a bunch of stuff from Inside Higher Ed. Today, it’s the Chronicle of Higher Education’s day in the sun (at least until news trickles back from this morning’s Board meeting–which, hopefully, you will be attending if you don’t have classes to teach/attend).

This first one is about a pair of papers about steps that may be taken to improve completion rates. Check it out here.

The federal government should get more involved in the country’s degree-completion agenda by creating policies that would allow easier transfer of students’ prior credits and learning experiences, according to scholars who spoke at a forum on Thursday about improving educational attainment.

New federal policies that would focus on improving education in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan regions that cross state boundaries could also increase the number of people with college degrees, the scholars said. One in five Americans live in those regions, and one-quarter of their residents are under the age of 18.

The ideas were presented during a forum, held by the Center for American Progress, that focused on examining the stronger role that the federal government could play in improving degree-completion rates.

I know that this might not be the week to talk out loud about an “expanded Federal role” in anything, but the targets are federal ones, so the assistance maybe ought to be, too.