Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Article Documents Decline of Tenure

In the midst of an incredibly hectic week, I am sneaking in a post. Here is an article from the New York Times. Although there doesn't seem to be anything in particular driving its appearance, it notes that the shift from tenure-track appointments to limited-term ones continues apace.

My favorite bit from the article is this:

Dr. Ehrenberg and a colleague analyzed 15 years of national data and found that graduation rates declined when public universities hired large numbers of contingent faculty.

Several studies of individual universities have determined that freshmen taught by many part-timers were more likely to drop out.

These two statistics should be more prominently displayed. There is a real impact on students--not just the institution or the teachers--when the type of teacher changes!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The greater problem: nobody reads!

The New York Times ran this article yesterday about the connection between declining test scores and declining reading rates. Reading for fun is on the decline.

Perhaps this should be part of the liberal education initiative--Reading 101: Lets read for fun--find someway to engage first year students in the pleasure of reading without the pressure of testing.

So many of our goals revolve around students reading well. If they don't read well or at all, we are in bigger trouble that we would like to admit!

If you want to see the NEA report, here is the link (a PDF).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is it a real letter?

I read this letter to the editor in the Northwestern this morning. It was so unbelievable, that I felt like it must be a parody.

A student writes the newspaper and says all they do all weekend is drink. Why doesn't the University and city appreciate them for that?

Besides the strange writing (what exactly is an "alcoholic event"??), this student really demonstrates what was wrong about the Goat Pack event. He also makes it clear why UWO has a bad reputation in Oshkosh.

Shouldn't a student be proud of his study habits, grades, and community engagement? Instead he is proud of his drunkenness.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Tests" to measure UW schools

Just as we knew would happen, VSA has hit the media and is being presented primarily as a resource based on those standardized tests. The story tosses in the caveats about testing, even with a quote from our illustrious chancellor.

Although it mentions the rest of the profile, it is clear that the test numbers will be the only thing in the public sphere. How long before legislators decided to make funding decisions based on our performance on those tests?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Goats run away

In a flash of good sense, students organizers canceled the "Run with the Goats" drinking bash this weekend.

It is amazing how much bad press this generated for UWO--it seemed to be on the 10PM news every night this week and, of course, made the Northwestern on a regular basis.

As the organizers rightly pointed out, a Saturday night of drunken revelry is not unusual for our students, but having 600 drunk students crawling through downtown just can't be a good thing.

I wonder what the administration threatened the Goat Pack with to bring this scheme to an end. They sounded pretty chastened when they were interviewed last night.

Personally, I am not sure that this is any worse than normal behavior for college students on the weekends. It might even be nice to funnel some of the wasted money towards charity, but it sure was a blight on our image.