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

Over the Transom

Some stuff that came in this week:

Jeni Meresman asked me to post this announcement from Reinvention:

The tenure revision team at Reinvention is currently reviewing the classroom observation forms. They ask that administrators, department chairs, and other faculty who are familiar with this form offer feedback to improve it. Most faculty members are currently using this form. If you are a faculty member or administrator who has completed classroom observations (using the form above or any other form), please take this brief survey. Also, please forward this e-mail (or the link http://faculty.ccc.edu/mmaltenfort/Tenure/Observation.htm) to others you know, especially those who report to you, who conduct observations. Please be sure to only complete the survey once.
Thank you!

Michael Heathfield sent this fascinating research report by Linda Darling Hammond on Teacher Evaluations (he writes, “While it concentrates on school teachers–much applies to us. General findings are that most teacher evaluation systems stink! What a shock.” There’s a summary of it here. This is obviously relevant to the ongoing CPS/CTU negotiations, too and was used back in March to “blast” CPS reform attempts.

Michael also sent along this announcement about a Jonathan Kozol event (Thursday September 27th from 6 to 8pm, at the Northwestern Law School Auditorium (downtown). The event is FREE and open to the public (reservations recommended):

Activist author Jonathan Kozol will speak in Chicago – the epicenter of the corporate-style “education reform” storm – on September 27 about his new book Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America.

Kozol argues that there is a profound connection between urban poverty, racism and educational neglect. Today, he says, the public schools and teachers who serve children in poverty are under attack. Kozol, author of a series of notable books about the conditions of children in urban America, will speak in Chicago on September 27. He will address the current, unprecedented assault on public education and on public school teachers.

In Fire in the Ashes Kozol reconnects with some of the children his readers first met in Amazing Grace (1996), Savage Inequalities (1991) and Shame of the Nation (2006) and his other works documenting the social and educational conditions facing urban children. Kozol argues that as a society, we must judge ourselves by the way we treat our children–particularly our poorest children–and that public schools are a critical anchor in a democratic society.

And Adriana sent in this one from the AACU on the purpose and value of the Humanities:

Together, the arts and sciences continue to provide foundational knowledge that Americans need for civic and societal responsibility and for creative leadership, at home and abroad. Although the arts and sciences necessarily evolve as knowledge itself expands, our need for the broad explorations they enable remains a constant. The liberal arts and sciences are basic to participatory democracy because only these studies build the “big picture” understanding of our social and physical environment that everyone needs in order to make judgments that are fundamental to our future.

AAC&U has long taken the position that the aims of liberal education—broad knowledge, high-level intellectual skills, an examined sense of civic and ethical responsibility, and the capacity to adapt learning to new challenges—should be addressed across the entire curriculum, in professional and career fields as well as in arts and sciences disciplines. Liberal education across the curriculum will continue to be the central focus of our LEAP endeavors. But we also intend to assert—far more forcefully—our corollary view that no student can be well, or even minimally, prepared for twenty-first-century challenges absent a strong grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, across both school and college.

Thanks and a h/t to all three for the info!

Over the Transom

People have sent me this stuff for posting, and I’m most happy to oblige because it’s all good stuff:

Adriana Tapanes-Inojosa sent:

~One for the Tenure Track and Adjunct people about service to the college and that balance between too much so that you can’t do your work and too little so that you are not a contributor to the college life.

~One on common core standards and their assessment (and how both challenge American educational “intuitions”

~A link to this report from the Department of Education on Arts Education (hint: it’s dismal out there), which also led me to this blog that has a lot of great stuff and to finding out that tomorrow, in addition to being tax day, is also Arts Advocacy Day.

Michael Heathfield sent:

~This look at a new book on the pay and purchasing power of the professoriate as compared globally.

~And this one on the (since suspended) proposal in California to have multi-tiered tuition, charging more for high demand classes. Michael writes, “One aspect of the business model in education==that we need to avoid like the plague! From what I see of our new registration process, we still believe in equality of access – just more sensibly geared to our newer completion agenda…

And my dad sent this one about the wild and wooly world of college chess.

Sunday Reading

A bevy of great stuff that is backing up my Instapaper page:

~Free access to the 25th anniversary retrospective issue of Hypatia (THE journal for feminist philosophy)

~Free access to a retrospective issue of Philosophical Quarterly, with two selections from each of the past six decades (I recommend Gilbert Ryle on feelings if you don’t know where to start)

~News of a free online course offered by Stanford University on Artificial Intelligence (current class size: 58,000).

~Philosophy Jokes featuring Chuck Norris

~”The UK Riots and the Coming Global Class War” (Forbes)

~”The Story of The Story of O” (Guernica Magazine)


The Importance of Listening

This is a good article, I think, from Inside Higher Ed:

How many people in your professional life listen to you? No, I mean really listen. Not advise. Not compete. Not interrupt. Not use your sentences as a segue into their own maybe-formidable ideas. Not misinterpret what you’re saying and then launch into a diatribe. If you’re fortunate, you do indeed have a cadre of people you can mobilize as a sounding board around you – at work and even at play – when you wish to be heard.

And if you’re not that lucky at this moment, perhaps you might think back to an individual who consistently silenced the background noise of his or her own mind to let you speak and even extend your own register. That really good listener might have been a teacher… an early mentor… a friend outside of academia… a family member. From the incredible space of true listening — without charge — it is likely that you were able to grow…

Like all life skills, listening does not reach one’s peak early in life only to decline thereafter — unless we let it.

Read the rest HERE. Better, have someone read it out loud to you for some listening practice…

Mr. K’s Biology Website

At our HW First Week activities, I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. K (Biology) who told me about and then showed me the Biology Web site he’s developed and uses for teaching.

You can check it out for yourself HERE. I particularly enjoyed the cadaver dissection videos. I imagine them running on a loop behind me as I read Bishop Berkeley to the class…

Great stuff.

Two on Reading

The first one is from The Chronicle from a few weeks back arguing that we can’t (and oughtn’t try to) teach the love of reading (though you should know that that is a pretty narrow and borderline misleading summary of the article–there’s much more than that here) :

Rarely have young people been expected to have truly deep knowledge of particular texts. Instead, education, especially in its “liberal arts” embodiments, has been devoted to providing students with navigational tools—with enough knowledge to find their way through situations that they might confront later in life. (Even the old English public schools flogged their students through years of Latin and Greek not because Latin and Greek were intrinsically valuable, still less useful, but because the discipline of such study would have a salutary effect on young men’s characters. And these are the terms in which survivors of that system typically praise it.) This is one of the ways in which the artes liberales are supposed to be “liberal,” that is, “liberating”: They free you to make your own way through the challenges of life without requiring external props.

All this is to say that the idea that many teachers hold today, that one of the purposes of education is to teach students to love reading—or at least to appreciate and enjoy whole books—is largely alien to the history of education. And perhaps alien to the history of reading as well.

The other is from the NY Times Book Review on a new book by Binyavanga Wainaina, and it includes a link to his killer essay, “How to Write about Africa“:

Harried reader, I’ll save you precious time: skip this review and head directly to the bookstore for Binyavanga Wainaina’s stand-up-and-cheer coming-of-age memoir, “One Day I Will Write About This Place.” Although written by an East African and set in East and Southern Africa, Wainaina’s book is not just for Afrophiles or lovers of post­colonial literature. This is a book for anyone who still finds the nourishment of a well-­written tale preferable to the empty-­calorie jolt of a celebrity confessional or Swedish mystery.

Not that Wainaina is likely to judge anyone’s taste in books. In fact, at its heart, this is a story about how Wainaina was almost eaten alive by his addiction to reading anything available. “I am starting to read storybooks,” he says of his 11-year-old self, growing up in Nakuru, Kenya. “If words, in English, arranged on the page have the power to control my body in this world, this sound and language can close its folds, like a fan, and I will slide into its world, where things are arranged differently.”

Sunday Reading

Found this stuff cleaning out some drawers…

~Remediation Research and Practices

~On Sports and Sex Identification

~The Joy of Being the Dumbest Person in the Room

~A Review of a New Book about Montaigne (who seems to be getting a lot of attention lately…an interesting trend. )

~On the Role of a Philosophy Department at a University

~On Pell Grant Cuts

~Research on Plagiarism (and the growing use of Social sites as sources, i.e., they’re not even copying out of books anymore)

~Wishing for Better Admission Tests (The MCAT Issue)

Things That Are Due in February

Never too early to plan ahead for some of you (non-Gemini) people, so here is an early heads-up on two items that will be due in February for anyone interested:

1) Sabbatical Leave Requests: Per John Hader, “In order to place sabbatical leave requests before the Board of Trustees at the May 2011 board meeting, please submit your completed application packages (or notification that your college will not be submitting requests for this term) to Dr. Cecilia Lopez, Associate Vice Chancellor, by Friday, February 25, 2011.” Go here to see what is involved in the process; see your contract for information about your eligibility. Finally, if anyone out there has taken a sabbatical in the last three years and has any advice (or could at least provide a description of your own sabbatical that would be helpful to the rest of us who might be wondering if our own ideas for a Sabbatical Leave would fly), please share it in the comments.

2. Rank Promotion: Information about Rank Promotion will be forthcoming any day now, but even without the final deadlines, it should be on your radar if you are eligible. The President’s Approvals are usually due around the end of February, which means that the applications and associated materials are usually due to Departmental Committees in early-ish February (from there to the College Wide Committee in mid-February and to the Administration after that). Last year’s applicants were asked to provide the following along with the official Rank Promotion form:

* Please limit the supporting narrative (Section III) to no more than five pages.

* Attach a photocopy of the most up-to-date CV

* Attach a photocopy of official transcripts for any course work completed since the last promotion.

Watch your email for more information in the next week or two at the latest. In the meantime, if you intend to apply, be sure you have (or have ordered) your transcripts, make sure your CV is up to date, and consider starting work on your narrative.

Next Up!

Next up! is a regular feature on Sundays, showcasing HWC (and beyond) events in the coming week. Use the “Comments” section to provide updates and addition

Monday, May 3rd: Annual Art & Architecture Department Exhibition, 9am to 4pm (all week), Room 102.

Friday, May 7th: Union Luncheon, 2pm at a restaurant (anybody know where it is this year? Same place? In Greektown?) called Greek Islands.

Saturday, May 8th: Graduation, 11am at Symphony Center