Bingo

For the past few years different versions of a conference bingo card have been making the rounds on social media, with squares to check off for things like “Question that’s not a question” or “All male panel” and other sorts of typical conference experiences that many of us know all too well. In time for the start of the new school year The Chronicle of Higher Education released its own bingo card, this time for the first faculty meeting: Continue reading

Skillz

empty-classroom

For sometime I’ve been concerned that the American Academy of Religion would venture into the waters of learning outcomes and assessment. But now one of its committees is  working on this and its the topic of a leadership workshop, offered by the Academic Religions committee, at the upcoming annual meeting.

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A Response to “Responsible Research Practices,” Part 6: Irrevocable Commitments

cakeandeatThis is an installment in an ongoing series on the American Academy of Religion’s recently released draft statement on research responsibilities.
An index of the
complete series (updated as each
article is posted) can be found here.

This is, at least to me, perhaps the most troubling of all the bullet points in the document, because of the way it fails to take a stand despite providing the impression of taking a very strong one.

irrevocablecommitmentAs with other portions of this document, there’s a contradiction here that’s left unaddressed. Continue reading

Of Good Things and Small Packages

smallpackageOn the weekend I saw the news stories about Columbia University’s bizarre — yes, I’ll just go ahead an label it as such — attempt to ban food services workers from, among other things, speaking Spanish while on the job. The rich irony, at least as posed by one blogger (a Brooklyn College poli sci prof) and then repeated in other online stories, was that while seeking to contain or marginalize lower class workers who might speak Spanish as their native language:

Columbia University has a renowned department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. It boasts a faculty of 36 professors and lecturers. In the last five years, they’ve produced 52 publications on topics ranging from the regional novel to medieval heresy.

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Got, Got, Got, Got No Time…

Yesterday, I participated in a faculty panel as part of my university’s recruiting day, for high school students, and their parents, interested in attending our school–a panel in which a few of us answered questions about what we wish we knew then that we know now, what our favorite courses were to teach, etc. Message sent? Faculty are approachable. Not a bad one to transmit. Continue reading

Assessing Assessment

Does the move toward assessment provide support for the Humanities and Social Sciences or threaten them? Cary Nelson, the final speaker in our series on the Relevance of the Humanities and Social Sciences, published a provocative essay in which he described the move towards assessment as a threat to the “fierce humanities,” which he describes as “teaching that seeks not merely learning, but unlearning, that seeks to unsettle knowledge and assumptions in ways more fundamental than any exam can or should test.” Continue reading

Assessments: To Embrace or Resist?

In what fields do students learn the most? The traditional liberal arts demonstrate the highest gain in student ability, according to data from the 2007 College Learning Assessment test, with the natural sciences and math scoring slightly higher than the humanities and social sciences. Matthew Yglesias argued in a blog post last month, in the wake of the UVa debacle, that recent attacks on the liberal arts as being of little value are misplaced (reproducing a chart from Academically Adrift by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa (U of Chicago Press, 2011)). As this assessment data suggests, the humanities and social sciences, along with the natural sciences and mathematics, provide real educational value for students. Continue reading