Friday, March 30, 2007

Famous Academic Quotes

In this article, you can learn who said "Academic fights are so vicious because the stakes are so low," and other quotes from academia.

It is a nice relaxing read for the weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

John Koker is the new COLS dean

Yesterday, it was announced that John Koker was offered and accepted the position of Dean of COLS on a permanent basis.

John seems to have done a fine job in his last nine months as acting dean. Lets hope that the pattern continues.

Beyond John himself, this would seem to be an approval of the status quo for us. There will be no fresh perspectives to bring change. I didn't get involved much in the search, so I can't comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the other candidates. However, do you think that this was the right decision from the perspective of continuity?

Generally, COLS continues to function decently, but would a more radical shakeup have been beneficial? I can't decide, how about you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

UWS to extend control off campus

I am back and recovered from spring break. Thanks to those who posted in the discussion over the last week!

Today, the Journal-Sentinel is reporting that UW system is rethinking its rules of student conduct. They want to make it possible for students to be punished for off-campus offenses that would be punishable if they took place on-campus.

The article raises a few concerns about double jeopardy, but I wonder if we are seeing a return of an attitude of 'in loco parentis' that dominated the mindset in the last century. Besides, would it really help change the state-wide culture of drunken abandon?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Goodbye Unionization for us!

The faculty union for California State System voted to give union leaders permission to call a strike today. They are striking over pay--especially since administrators have been giving themselves big raises as they claim a financial crisis.

I think this significantly lowers the chances of our right to unionize being approved by our own state legislature. If they settle before a strike, there might not be too much of an impact. Doyle will jettison us in a hurry if the union in California has success forcing the state to give them a reasonable pay increase.

It will also open the floodgates to the anti-faculty rhetoric from our favorite Republicans down in Madison.

Let's hope they reach a reasonable accomodation in California, which is what should happen anyway. You will note, however, that without a union and threat of a strike, the administration was content to keep reducing faculty pay and benefits.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Light Reading: Socrates' teaching evals

As we relax a bit over spring break, here is a look at Socrates' teaching evaluations from Philosophy 101. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sloshkosh is not alone: Wisconsin Awash in Booze

This is really not a new story, but data once again shows that Wisconsin has one of the highest drinking rates in the country.

According to the survey, 39.5% of underaged Wisconsinites admitted to drinking in 2005. It also had the highest rate of alcohol use among people 18-25 at over 75%.

This might not be so bad if the drinking occurred in moderation, but we know it is coupled with one of the highest binge drinking rates(28%, up from the 2004 survey).

I suppose it could make us feel better to know that college students across the whole state take part in such behavior. However, as St. Patrick's day approaches, we know that we have a particularly bad reputation as a party school.

Why are we the worst in the country? Is it the northern clime? The German heritage? Unfortunately, it affects our students and their academic success profoundly. If you have ever paid attention to how empty classrooms are on Friday mornings, you know students are putting their drinking far ahead of their studies.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tech College Teachers make more than we do

The Journal-Sentinel reports on a LAB report that shows that full-time faculty at Tech Colleges here in Wisconsin make more on average than those at the 4 year campuses. For us, the average salary at Fox is 73,100, while the average here is 65,100.

The administrators complain that it is comparing apples to oranges to compare the two. One might note that the biggest difference is that the teachers there have a union!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Problems at elite colleges

The New York Review of Books has an article addressing the elitism of the wealthy private schools.

The gist is that rich kids get into elite institutions, and it is getting worse. A couple of books criticize liberal academia for worrying about political correctness and not poverty.

It is an interesting review. I can't help but think that all this really benefits an institution like ours. Lets make sure we are high quality and affordable, so that those who aren't legacies at the big schools can find a place here!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Collective Bargaining for us

Another anonymouse like myself (highcharge is the nickname) wrote with the suggestion that I mention the collective bargaining provision of the Governors budget. She has even provided links in the message:

Well Lake, aren't you going to say something about
the collective bargaining for UW system thing?

as far as I know, this is the same concept as floated in
in SB 452:

I have been in favor of collective bargaining for faculty for a long time. (see my post from 2005)

The faculty voice in decision-making at UWO is weak, our pay is low, and we are systematically being replaced by part-timers and adjuncts. An actual union could only help on all of these fronts. TAUWP is a toothless tiger; we need something stronger to defend our interests.

It seems as though there is little debate about the issue at the moment. I hope it stays below the radar.

We can have a real conversation about the implications of organizing if we are actually give the right to do it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Intellectual Diversity in Madison?

On the left, there was Kevin Barrett, now from the racist right, law professor Leonard Kaplan??

Kaplan has been accused of anti-Hmong statements in a class on February 15. A Student email circulated claiming that Kaplan said that Hmong men were killers and Hmong women were better off if the men were dead.

It led several students to file a complaint that claims that he was creating a hostile environment.

I've looked back at this story, so here are few links:

From Madison on Feb 22

A Badger-Herald editorial from Feb 26

An account of a meeting in Madison

Today's story about Kaplan's response in the Journal-Sentinel

I imagine Steve Nass will be denouncing the protesters for being too sensitive.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Library continues to be starved of resources

In what is now an annual tradition, the library announces its plans to cut more periodical subscriptions and reduce acquisitions.

The budget for acquistions did not increase. Because of increasing costs of subscriptions, $125,000 worth of reductions must take place. They are being forced to cut, cut, cut.

Where is the library in all of this talk about the growth initiative? Why is the library being starved when their resources are at the core of what we stand for?

It is not worth the effort to even check to see if our library has any recent new titles or significant periodicals. They can't afford it. Off to Universal Borrowing I go, which reflects terribly on our academic priorities. Why should resources be instantly available to students here? Instead, send them off to wikipedia. . .

Here is the memo:

Good Afternoon,

Below is the text of a memo that is being sent today to deans, department chairs and departmental or college Library representatives. Let me emphasize one point of the memo. Ron Hardy and I really need the input of colleges and departments on the proposed cancellations in light of current and future curricular trends, accreditation needs and other relevant information known to your department or college. Ron and I will be happy to talk to colleges, departments, the faculty senate or other groups about these issues. Please let Ron or I know if you have any questions.


Periodical Review 2007
Patrick Wilkinson, Director of Polk Library

The goals of Polk Library’s Periodical Review 2007 are twofold:
¨ to discontinue a sufficient number of less-needed print journal titles to stay within the library’s material budget for 2007/08
¨ to expand if possible the number of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals available online for student and faculty research.

To meet these goals, the Library needs to evaluate its current collection and restructure its budget. The staff of Polk Library requests your help and asks for your response no later than April 9, 2007.

What Your College or Department Needs to Do By April 9

Attached is a list of the print journal subscriptions currently supporting your college or department curriculum. This list has an “X” next to titles proposed for cancellation and gives the journal’s cost, percent assigned to your department, total use observed from three studies, and full-text availability. The journals proposed for cancellation generally had low comparative use, high overall cost, a high cost per use ratio, or full-text available online.

Your department or college is specifically requested to respond to the proposed cancellations in light of current and future curricular trends, accreditation needs and other relevant information known to your department or college. To assist in your evaluation, we have attached a list of relevant titles with full text currently available online.

In addition to commenting on proposed cancellations, you may recommend the acquisition of new journal titles or online options. Please note that any new titles added would need to be done in the context of an overall reduction in the number of titles that the library receives.

All comments on the proposed cancellations or requests to add a new title must come officially from the department chair. In Business Administration, Education and Human Services, and Nursing, the library asks that the comments come officially from the chair of the college library committee or dean whichever is most appropriate for the college. These official responses should be sent to Ron Hardy, Polk Library’s Head of Information Resources, no later than April 9, 2007.

Final decisions for cancellations and new subscriptions will rest with Polk Library. If a department or college does not respond by April 9, Polk Library will assume that the titles proposed for cancellation can be cancelled without further departmental or college comment.

During this process, Ron Hardy and I are happy to talk with colleges, departments, the Faculty Senate and individual faculty about the Periodical Review 2007 in general or about specific titles. Please feel free to contact us.


The challenges that the library’s materials budget faces are clear. Polk Library’s total materials budget was $944,978 in 2001/02 and is $888,227 for 2006/07. This represents a decline in real dollars of $56,751. In addition, based on a conservative estimate of price increases of 6% a year, the purchasing power of our materials budget has declined approximately $330,000 since 2001.

In response to these challenges, the staff of the library has worked with faculty on how best to allocate its funds to provide educational and research material. Working together, we have already cancelled less-needed print journals, reference materials, online databases and microforms. We have reduced the amount of content that the library provides in multiple formats.

To minimize the impact of the necessary cancellations of print resources, Polk Library has expanded the number of periodical and journal titles available online to 15,420. It established the Ingenta Table of Contents service that covers over 30,000 publications. This service allows you to get the current table of contents of important journals or trade publications e-mailed to you, often before they physically arrive in libraries. Now, journal articles from other libraries are routinely delivered to your computer desktop in 3 to 5 days. If necessary, the library will purchase an article and deliver it to your desktop in less than 48 hours. In addition to Interlibrary Loan for books and videos, Universal Borrowing allows you to directly checkout materials from other UW libraries.

The Library would now like to take advantage of some of the new opportunities to expand the number of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals online. For example, the library currently subscribes to Academic Search Elite. This online service provides access to 1,500 full-text, peer-reviewed journals and is heavily used. If the library can restructure its budgets in this periodical review, it could upgrade this service to provide double or triple this number of peer-reviewed journals covering a wide range of academic disciplines. The trend is for students and faculty to look for information online; in 2005/06, there were approximately 800,000 uses of the library’s online databases.

Based on the library’s best budget projections for 2007/08, the library faces a shortfall of over $125,000 in its collection budgets. This projection assumes a flat budget and a 6% to 12% increase in the cost of journals, databases, etc. The library will need to make decisions by mid-May so the changes can be implemented for 2007/08.

Guidelines for Decisions

After April 9, Polk Library will review comments and make final cancellation and addition decisions using the following guidelines. All ten guidelines below will be used for cancellation decisions. The last eight guidelines will be used for addition decisions.

· The publication has received low use in the use studies.
· The publication has a high cost per use.
· The publication is indexed in an index owned or licensed by the library.
· The publication fills an information need not covered by other titles.
· The publication is expected to support student research.
· The publication directly supports the department’s curriculum.
· The publication is available from the library online in full text or full image. See for a list of journals that are available online.
· The publication is reasonably priced, and its publisher does not have a history of inordinate annual price increases.
· The publication is owned by another library within UW System.
· The publication is available through interlibrary loan or document delivery.

Final Decisions

Final decisions will be communicated to colleges and departments by mid-May. Cancellation decisions must be made in May so that savings will occur in the 2007/08 fiscal year.

Thank you for your cooperation and input. And I would like to repeat that Ron Hardy and I would be happy to talk with you or attend a meeting. Please feel free to contact us.

Pat Wilkinson Ron Hardy
wilkinso or 2147 hardyr or 2097

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Lovin' for the Profs

In honor of "A Day without Feminism," I bring you a throwback to a worse time. A professor at UCLA wrote an article today arguing that romance between faculty and students should not be completely banned. He claims the codes that ban such liaisons violate the "right to romance." For him, as long as the issues of status inequality and favoritism are addressed, profs and students should have the right to go at it.

Seems kind of creepy to me. Is he one of those aging professors (probably with carefully quaffed hair) out trolling for gullible undergrads? I have seen many of this type in my travels. I can't imagine giving them free reign to abuse their status and demean the profession . . .