HWFDW: Hype Your Session

Ok, I’ll go first.

As you surely noticed from the CAST schedule for our local FDW sessions, I’m involved in two sessions. The first, on Friday at 11am is our third annual Great Books discussion, co-hosted with Kamran Swanson. We’ll discuss Immanuel Kant’s “What Is Enlightenment?” which he wrote for a German newspaper that had posed the question.

It’s an opportunity to be a thinker, a reader, a talker, and a listener about rich, challenging, and relevant ideas that have influenced thinkers for hundreds of years and might just fertilize your own thinking about your students, your teaching and the world!

Even if you don’t read it, you can Google a synposis and read that. Or, just come and listen and contribute what you can. There will not be a test, but it will be educational and interesting. It always is.

THEN, after lunch–also on Friday–, I’ll be sitting on a panel with a bunch of super-cool people all back from sabbaticals talking (briefly) about what we did and what it was like (short version: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!!!).

And then after that, we’ll adjourn to the Emerald from 4 to 6 (at least) to continue the discussion and open up digressions and meet and greet (if you know you’re going, email Social Committee Chair, Rachel Iannantuoni (riannantuoni@ccc.edu) to let her know. And if you don’t RSVP, show up anyway!

And if you have a session planned (or a friend with a session planned) hype it up in the comments.

HWFDW: The Rest of the Week

I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this from CAST any minute, but the final schedule is out (which I had a hand in personally delaying–sorry everybody!) for the rest of Faculty Development Week (aka Faculty Summer Camp) taking place at HWC from 9 to 3 this Wednesday through Friday (as in tomorrow).

I also wanted to highlight one of the sessions (MINE!) and give a little more info about it.

On Wednesday, Kamran and I are bringing back our Great Books Discussion (by popular demand…well more specifically demand from Jackie Cunningham which is enough for me since she brings enough enthusiasm for five or six people at least). This year we’ll be talking about Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and probably be doing a little meta discussion about the Great Books Shared Inquiry Approach. That will happen at 1pm in room 1046.

If you’ve read it before and remember the whole thing, that’s great and you should come! If you’ve read it, but don’t remember it real well or never read it but, either way, have about six hours to read tonight, then click on the link above and read the whole thing–you’ll love it! If you’re in some other category, check out this summary (read or skip those first two or three slides as you wish):

Then read the section that seems most interesting to you! They’re all pretty short (20 to 30 pages) and pretty straight forward, colloquial, really. We won’t cover them all, most likely, but they’ll all be relevant to whatever we talk about, I’m sure. Even if you don’t look at anything but the summary, you should still come if you’re interested. Better, though, if you read a little.

My recommendations, if you can’t decide, would be to try Chapter 1 and focus on her project and methods, or maybe try Chapter 2 for a look at the cultural domination and institutional sexisms of then (and now?), but my personal favorite is Chapter 3, featuring the thought experiment of “Shakespeare’s Sister.” Chapters 4 and 5 offer some interesting literary criticism on Jane Austen and on (the fictitious Mary Carmichael) respectively, and the last chapter focuses on the claim that literature of genius requires a non-fragmented, fully integrated and fully androgynous mind, “a marriage of opposites,” freedom and peace, which is to say that the last chapter opens up some interesting questions about Great Literature, Sex/Gender, and the relations among them.

The main thing is that you bring your interests, your curiosity, your prior knowledge, and your willingness to share all of the above.

Can’t wait!

A Little Great Books Love

Some kind words (and national props) for HW and Wright’s Great Books programs (which, by the by, aren’t the only ones of recent note)  arrive on the scene today courtesy of Adam Kotsko of Shimer, as posted in today’s Inside Higher Ed:

I’ve spoken of the lack of faculty buy-in at other institutions, but I think this points to an even more important factor: student buy-in. If students don’t care, if they’re enrolled for utilitarian reasons and have no intrinsic love of learning, they will most likely wind up failing — and dragging the class down with them. Hence it seems to me that less-selective institutions could offer an optional program for interested students, much like those at two of the City Colleges of Chicago (Harold Washington and Wilbur Wright Colleges). Shimer has worked with Harold Washington in particular for many years, and several of their Great Books students have ultimately finished their four-year degrees at Shimer as a result.

Click HERE to read the rest. And here’s a companion piece from a Chicago State faculty member.

h/t to John Hader on the Chronicle Letter pointer

Over the Transom

Some more stuff that came in this week:

~Adriana Tapanes-Inojosa sent this link on the relation of online classes and completion from the Chronicle;

~Matt Shevitz sent an email with a link to this piece from NPR’s Science Friday. He writes:

I heard this conversation about STEM and employment  on Friday on NPR. Very interesting stuff, especially considering everything that has been going on at CCC (with all due respect to Mike Davis). The most interesting part to me: one of the interviewees emphasized that an education that includes STEM does not have to lead to employment in one of the areas directly related to it. Rather, the skills acquired (qualitative and quantitative reasoning and analysis, for instance), are beneficial no matter what job someone holds.

Sounds like the same approach for justifying for the arts in education…..Once again proving that everything has value (even underwater basket-weaving).

~And John Hader sent in a link to this piece on the Great Books Curriculum and Community Colleges.

h/t’s to all three!

St. John’s Doesn’t Need a List of Credentials Guideline

One wonders, if credentials are such a gigantic issue, how they keep their accreditation over there after reading THIS article. To wit:

And yet Ms. Benson, with a Ph.D. in art history and a master’s degree in comparative literature, stood at the chalkboard drawing parallelograms, constructing angles and otherwise dismembering Euclid’s Proposition 32 the way a biology professor might treat a water frog. Her students cared little about her inexperience. As for her employers, they did not mind, either: they had asked her to teach formal geometry expressly because it was a subject about which she knew very little.

It was just another day here at St. John’s College, whose distinctiveness goes far beyond its curriculum of great works: Aeschylus and Aristotle, Bacon and Bach. As much of academia fractures into ever more specific disciplines, this tiny college still expects — in fact, requires — its professors to teach almost every subject, leveraging ignorance as much as expertise…

Or as St. John’s president, Chris Nelson (class of 1970), put it with a smile only slightly sadistic: “Every member of the faculty who comes here gets thrown in the deep end. I think the faculty members, if they were cubbyholed into a specialization, they’d think that they know more than they do. That usually is an impediment to learning. Learning is born of ignorance.”

Great Books Conversation Reminder

Hi, everybody.

Just a last minute reminder that Kamran and I will be hosting a Great Books discussion for any and all interested parties tomorrow at 11am in room 1046.

Tomorrow’s topic is Emerson’s “The American Scholar” and if you have extra time you might consider reading his essay on Self Reliance (or listen to it), or his essay on History (or listen to it), or a speech by Adrienne Rich called “Claiming Your Education.”

All you really need, though, is a willingness to show up and listen and contribute to a conversation about Learning, Teaching, Great Ideas, and your life.

Hope to see you there!