Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Can't Complete High School? Go Right to College - New York Times

Here is a very interesting story from the NYTimes (reg. required). Read about how students who haven't graduated from high school make up 2% of all college students (not including home schoolers!)

It is a story about what is happening in New York. Are such things happening here in Wisconsin?

Can't Complete High School? Go Right to College - New York Times

Thursday, May 25, 2006

High Tech Cheating discussion continues

Inside higher-ed has an essay with a similar argument to that of Dvorak's. The author suggests that it is the teachers fault that they don't better understand and utilize the internet. . .

Inside Higher Ed :: Stop Chasing High-Tech Cheaters

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Cheating Debate--A Tech writer's take

John Dvorack, computer guru, doesn't see what the big deal is about using calculators in class. He also doesn't understand why students need to learn to write.

It shows a shockingly ignorant understanding of what education is all about. He argues that computers have made the need to know (and think) irrellevant. All you need to know is how to search.

He also thinks writing should be replaced by Powerpointing. It is shocking that a writer would think that the there is nothing to the process except cutting and pasting other people's ideas.

It is a interesting insight into the thinking of the technological world--why learn anything anymore, he seems to suggest, it is all on-line anyway!
Knowing What to Know—The Cheating Debate

Monday, May 22, 2006

Free Tuition for Veterans

This seems like a subject worth mentioning here. Doyle is poised to sign a bill that will give 8 semesters of higher education free to veterans.

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism for funding this, so it remains to be seen whether this is a good or bad thing for the system. Will individual schools be forced to pick up the tab? Will everyone else's tuition go up, so that students will pay for this program?

As far as the legislature goes, I would imagine they just expect us to cut costs to pay for it. Veterans will get a lower quality education, just like everyone else gets these days. . .

The Sheboygan Press - Editorial: Don't make students pay for tuition waiver for state's veterans

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dan Hoyt, our most ardent right-winger has a blog

I was googling around and I have to link to this--Dan Hoyt, who is our most outspoken right-wing Christian character on campus, has a blog. Here you can read his attack on Zimmerman and his absurd claim that evolution is a religion.

Hoyt's Opinion February 8, 2006

The Footnote Police vs. Ward Churchill

For a little light reading this afternoon on the net, you might turn to this article that argues that some of the charges leveled against Churchill are quite dubious.

The usual acrimonious discussion is attached.

Inside Higher Ed :: The Footnote Police vs. Ward Churchill

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Colleges Chase as Cheats Shift to Higher Tech - New York Times

The New York Times (registration required) reports on high-tech cheating by college students. Wireless internet connections and ipods give new facets to students trying to immorally get ahead.

It is another NYTimes story without any quantitative data, but does give some interesting anecdotes!

Colleges Chase as Cheats Shift to Higher Tech - New York Times

Summer is upon us!

Whoopie!!! Yea!!! Summer is finally here. Grades have been submitted and I can turn to the other side of my work and get some research done! It will be nice to have some solid blocks of time to think and write.

I was pretty productive this semester, but there is only so much you can do between teaching, preparing to teach, and grading during the school year.

I had a decent batch of students, so the semester did not feel too onerous and I think that a few people learned something significant in my courses. Perhaps they will retain a bit of it in the years to come!

The blogging frequency may slow down, but I hope to keep my eyes and ears open to important developments on campus and beyond.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kreibich says something nice about the UW system

I was so shocked when I read this story, I had to link to it. Rob Kreibich, implacable attacker of UW, voted against the taxpayer amendment because it would hurt higher education.

I have to praise him for making this decision, but lets hope that his incidiary rhetoric will lessen and he will work on helping us improve the quality of education in the state!

The Spectator -
Taxpayer amendment stops at Senate

The Other Side of Ignorance: Ward Churchill's misconduct

It seems only fair to note that Ward Churchill has been accused of a whole lot of academic misconduct. This, of course, follows on the heals of reports of all the misrepresentations in David Horowitz's work. I suppose all extremists do such things--when you put your ideology before the facts, what do the facts matter?

The report does not call for his dismissal, but suggests a long suspension. It makes interesting reading.

Inside Higher Ed :: Truth and Consequences

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Winneblogo listed on state blog list

I just discovered myself listed on the website wispolitics.com. Someone outside of oshkosh seems to have noticed the blog! I have been categorized as a left-wing blogger, so check it out. . .

WisOpinion, Wisconsin's Premier Political News Service

Monday, May 15, 2006

Academic Freedom at a Christian College

This story makes interesting reading. Patrick Henry College had 5 faculty members quit after they were not allowed to teach non-Christian texts nor question the administrations particular interpretation of Christianity.

Raw Fisher

Wells plugs the liberal arts

Chancellor Wells sent out a letter, calling our attentioin to the campaign for liberal arts laid out at the website below. Oshkosh has been highlighted there for "exemplary program." I think they mean that they are glad to see the program praised in our alumni magazine.

I am not sure exactly what our commitment is, beyond lip service. The real spokesman for the liberal arts is leaving and the chancellor seems to be speaking only about expansion and "practical" programs in his growth plan.

You should go and watch the public service ads at the site, thought, they are terrific!

Solutions for our Future.org: Solutions for Our Future

Friday, May 12, 2006

Working Students

70-80 percent of students who are enrolled work at the same time. Those who do average 30 hours a week. About 1/4 work full time.

Wow! I always knew that my students worked, but I didn't realize how much. This is a striking problem for us. How can students who work that much have a chance to do the kind of clockwork necessary to graduate with a set of skills that are worthy of a bachelors?

This is directly related to our continuing discussions about standards and retention. What kinds of standards can these students attain when they have so little time for college? If I really expect my students to do 2 hours of work outside of class for one in, where would they conceivably find the time?

No wonder students are taking so long to graduate and so few of them do! For those who are dependent on their jobs for tuition, college must look something like a vicious cycle-- pay more, work more, go deeper into debt while education becomes less important.

Here is the study itself
, which is a 22 page PDF.
ACE | Center for Policy Analysis

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Horowitz gets sued

In the always enjoyable (in a disheartening sort of way) David Horowitz Saga, a new twist has emerged.

Joel Beinin has sued Horowitz for putting his picture on the front of the book. He argues that Horowitz shouldn't be able to use his picture for profit, especially when he disputes the claims made about him in the book.

I don't imagine he will have any luck -- it is exactly like Fox News trying to sue Al Franken over "fair and balanced." That one was laughed out of court, and this one probably will be too.

MercuryNews.com | 05/10/2006 | Professor fights portrayal as supporter of terrorism

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wells postpones Applied Studies

Chancellor Wells posted a message to the university community today where he acknowledged the major complaints by the faculty about the Growth initiative.

First, he apologized for announcing that "University 101" course would be translated into a mandatory one. He does not, however, acknowledge that the course will not be required, only that this decision by administrators "appeared to violate the principle of shared governance." It looks a bit too much like lawyerese to me--he didn't say there will be more discussion or that the faculty might stop it from coming into being.

The second point is much less ambiguous: BAS has been removed from the program approval process pending further discussion. Thank you, Chancellor Wells!

The question for both of these is whether he will simply wait until fall or some other time and send them through the opaque governance channels without serious reconsideration of either.

Here are the relevant passages from his letter:

I was informed at the open forums that the “growth agenda” proposal included a new initiative for a required course that appeared to violate the principle of shared governance, which gives faculty primary responsibility for the curriculum. I appreciate being made aware of the fact that this course is not approved as a required course. I accept full responsibility for overlooking this error, and I want to assure you I fully respect the primary authority of faculty for the curriculum.

Also brought to my attention at the open forums were concerns about the quality and faculty input for a new degree, the Bachelor of Applied Studies. In response to these concerns, the degree program has been removed from the docket for program approval until further faculty dialogue on the subject has occurred.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Time Magazine writes about Christianists

Tony Palmeri sent along this link, where Andrew Sullivan, pundit and blogger, takes up the term I have been championing for months. I feel like such a trend setter!

He describes Christianism as an ideology, politics. He suggests we should use the term for those who use Christianity to define a precise political agenda.

I am glad that he has found the value in this term--it is important to make a distinction between those who have differing interpretations of Christianity and those who try to force their interpretations into politics.

TIME.com: My Problem with Christianism -- May 15, 2006 -- Page 1

Here is a link to his blog
, where he describes his problem with the Christianist legislative agenda.

Horowitz Fact Checker

A Website entitled freeexchangeoncampus.org has posted a series of responses to the errors in David Horowitz's 101 Most Dangerous Academics.

They start with the fact that there are only 100 names on the list. It makes for some interesting reading!

Free Exchange on Campus - Horowitz Fact Checker

Monday, May 08, 2006

Stanley Fish - Students have no rights

Stanley Fish has a great blog post about the academic bill of rights. Apparently, the princeton student senate passed a version of it last week.

Here is my favorite excerpt from his essay:

One last point. Resolution 177, the Academic Bill of Rights, the Student Bill of Rights and the Princeton Student Bill of Rights all speak of the importance of promoting and protecting the academic freedom of students. What could this possibly mean? The only freedom students rightly have is the freedom to vote with their feet if they don’t like the syllabus in a particular course. They are not free to demand on the basis of “intellectual diversity” or “balance” or “pluralism” or some other specious abstraction that the syllabus be changed to suit their personal or ideological inclinations. Nor are students free to introduce into a classroom issues or perspectives that are judged by an instructor to be beside the point he or she wishes to explore. Instructors are free to say to a student, “That may be an interesting question, but it is not one we shall be asking here.”

The rhetoric of academic freedom for students is a subset of the rhetoric of student rights. But students have no rights, except the right to competent and responsible instruction. They certainly do not have any right to be instructed by a conservative teacher or a liberal teacher or a religious teacher or a white teacher or a black teacher or a teacher of any color. The idea that students have rights often accompanies the idea that students are customers and teachers, providers. Students are not customers and if we survey their preferences and alter our “product” accordingly, we will not only have betrayed our professional responsibility; we will have betrayed them.

Unfortunately, you need to be a subscriber to the NY Times to see the rest of the article:

Stanley Fish - Think Again - Politics by Any Other Name - New York Times Blog

Our own felon on campus

The Northwestern discovered a felon on campus! They have written a very nice article describing the path of criminal justice professor Stephen Richards.

If we go back to the noise raised by legislators over felons on campus, this story makes them look even more like idiots. How could one argue that Richards has no place in education?

He is an asset to campus and the UW system and proof that the knee-jerk UW haters have no clue!!

Oshkosh Northwestern - Professor applies prison experience to criminal justice study

Friday, May 05, 2006

Kreibich at it again

Kreibich and some UW hating cronies down in Madison are demanding that an ex-dean be fired.

I don't know what the details of the case are, but I am sure they don't know either.

They just love to bash the system and look for every excuse. Wisconsin would be so much a better place if it were filled with nasty uneducated types (more like themselves!)

The Associated Press

More national discussion on grade inflation

The story here is a plug for a book about how to get good grades, but becomes a discussion about grade inflation.

This fits very nicely into our continuing complaint about the low standards that seem to be part of the Applied Studies degree. The administration likes to reduced standards, so that they can keep their enrollment numbers up. We should stand against it in everyway we can.

Battling grade inflation has to be part of it!

Inside Higher Ed :: Should Professors Be Talking More (or Less) About Grades?

Also look at this link that discusses grade inflation and the way colleges market themeselves.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Growth Forum -- Any Reports?

I am afraid that I didn't make it to either of the growth forums with the Chancellor today.

Anyone want to report on what happened? Were faculty fears calmed? Did people leave these meetings feeling better about the Applied Studies degree?

Revised Movie Policy appears on Discussion List

Stephen Kercher has posted a long message, proposing that we revise the movie policy to allow films on campus again. I'll just post the complete message for now:

Dear Campus Community:

Several weeks ago I reported here that several members of the History Department were meeting with Petra Roter, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, to discuss the impact of new restrictions being placed on student groups' film series.

Last Thursday, a group of faculty from History, Foreign Languages and Communications convened with Petra and Reeve Union Director Randy Hedge to discuss the issue.

The discussion afforded all of us an opportunity to better understand how the opposing sides have formulated their perspectives. It yielded no compromise, however, since the opposing sides interpret the Copyright Act of 1976--and amendments made to it in later years--very differently.

Citing an expanding body of literature on the subject of copyright law and the opinions of legal professionals who have engaged the debate in recent times, those of us opposed to the new restrictions focus on two important sections of the law: Title 17, Section 107 and Title 17, Section 110.

Section 107 outlines conditions under which a "fair use" of a film ("for nonprofit educational purposes") might not constitute "an infringement of copyright." According to a very helpful guide provided by UW System Legal (see http://www.uwsa.edu/gc-off/deskbook/copyrgt.htm), the "fair use exception is a four-factor test that balances the rights of copyright owners in their creations against the public interest in the free exchange of ideas....Use of a copyrighted work need not satisfy all four factors to qualify as fair use; rather, the factors favoring fair use must outweigh the factors favoring obtaining permission."

Section 110 codifies a different, but equally viable exception--The Teaching Exception. Section 110 stipulates that the "performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction" is not an infringement of copyright.

Three members of the History Department have submitted to Petra a proposal for a new movie policy on campus. Anyone interested in reading a draft of the proposal may find it at: http://www.uwosh.edu/departments/history/MoviePolicyRevision.htm.

We welcome any feedback members of our community may wish to provide. Please share your thoughts with us individually or here on the listserv.

Although those who attended the meeting disagreed on many points, we shared the view that decisions affecting the pedagogy and intellectual climate of this university ought to be made after careful, respectful and transparent deliberation. And we affirmed our belief that instances of threats and intimidation--particularly when aimed at the students we teach--have no place on this campus and should never be tolerated.


Stephen Kercher

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Self-Inflicted Wounds of the Academic Left

Here is a very interesting piece discussing the failures of the radical left. For this author, the key failure is that they represent only a culture of criticism and dissent. They have abandoned politics for disillusionment.

He also suggests that the pervasive culture of distrust and disgust has served the rise of the radical right. They articulate all the problems in society without providing any positive energy. The right has accepted the diagnosis and proposed its own course of treatment.

Enjoy. . .

The Chronicle: 5/5/2006: The Self-Inflicted Wounds of the Academic Left

Monday, May 01, 2006

Religion battles reemerge at Madison

UW Madison made the Journal-Sentinal today with the story of a Catholic student organization that was denied funding by the chancellor.

The fight seems to be over the large amount of money ($88,000) that the administration saw as subsidizing a church.

Read the story--I would imagine that we'll hear from the Christianists in Madison about this today--as they scream that Christians are embattled and how this proves discrimination against their kind.

JS Online:UW fee handouts again stir conflict