[Click for a larger view.]
Here’s an infographic (dire word) in favor of education, not training. It’s from an organization I trust, even it has someone like me as a member. That a link to this infographic arrived in my mailbox today (given the previous post) is serendipity.
What those of us in higher education can do to make this infographic’s assertions credible: drop the PowerPoints and (so-called) study guides and perfunctory course requirements and ask students to engage in significant reading and writing and discussion. The stuff college is made of, or should be.
[A study guide, I am told, is more or less the content of a test, distributed by a professor, to be read and memorized in advance.]
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
[Click for a larger view.]
By Michael Leddy at 9:10 AM
Gaye Tuchman, on narratives of American higher education:
Here’s what matters: These and other treatments of grand trends insist that higher education is one of the last revered Western institutions to be “de-churched” ; that is, it is one of the last to have its ideological justification recast in terms of corporatization and commodification and to become subject to serious state surveillance. Universities are no longer to lead the minds of students to grasp truth; to grapple with intellectual possibilities; to appreciate the best in art, music, and other forms of culture; and to work toward both enlightened politics and public service. Rather they are now to prepare students for jobs. They are not to educate, but to train. To be sure, some of the great American private colleges and universities — such as Harvard, Yale, and the much younger Duke — still discuss past values when they define their current missions. But even when Nannerl Keohane, the liberal political theorist and past president of Duke University and Wellesley College, expresses her admirable vision for the education of students at research universities, she seems to be differentiating between the sort of education that may be offered at the elite private colleges and universities and the kind of training available to everyone else.Tuchman’s book is about life at the University of Connecticut. But it’s really about the University of Anystate. In other words, the story it tells has wide application. How best to keep the possibilities of genuine learning — not training — alive for all: that’s the question for American higher education in the early twenty-first century.
Wannabe U:: Inside the Corporate University (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
By Michael Leddy at 8:56 AM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day is ferrule:
ferrule \FAIR-ul\ nounFerrule is a word with special significance for pencil users. A superior pencil with an eraser will almost always have a distinctive ferrule. In these images from The House on 92nd Street, for instance, the Dixon Ticonderoga ferrule is instantly recognizable. And even in a blurry videotape transfer of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, the Mongol ferrule is unmistakable. By their ferrules ye shall know them.
1 : a ring or cap usually of metal put around a slender shaft (as a cane or a tool handle) to strengthen it or prevent splitting
2 : a usually metal sleeve used especially for joining or binding one part to another (as pipe sections or the bristles and handle of a brush)
“A band of metal called a ferrule is glued onto the end of the pencil where a recess has been cut, while at the same time a plunger presses an eraser plug into the ferrule. When the glue dries, everything is bliss.” — From an article by Steve Ritter in Chemical & Engineering News, December 16, 2002
“Making a brush is as simple as knotting and gluing bristles to the handle, and holding them in place by slipping a tight metal ferrule over the bond between bristle and handle.” — From a post at swatchgirl.com on May 15, 2013
Did you know?
“Ferrule” is a word for a simple metal band or cap of great versatility. The ferrule is ubiquitous. It is the cap at the end of a cane or crutch, a chair or table leg; it is the point or knob at the hub of an umbrella; it fits together tubes and pipes and binds paintbrush handles to bristles and pencils to erasers. In Middle English this universal thingamajig was called a “verrel.” That word commonly referred to the strengthening bands or rings of iron used to prevent the splitting or wear of the wooden shafts of implements. The name evolved from Middle French “virelle” and Old French “virol” and ultimately from Latin “viriola,” meaning “small bracelet.” The “f” spelling of today's “ferrule” was influenced by “ferrum,” the Latin word for “iron.”
By Michael Leddy at 2:48 PM
[Zippy, December 9, 2013.]
From a rock, the spirit of Ernie Bushmiller speaks to Zippy of an infinite number of rocks. Giordano Bruno fans, take note.
Other posts, other rocks
A search for “some rocks” : Zippy : Zippy : Zippy : Zippy : Zippy : Lassie and Zippy : Conversational rocks
[Zippy cartoonist Bill Griffith often pays homage to Bushmiller’s rocks.]
By Michael Leddy at 8:10 AM
That’s a new photograph in the sidebar. Elaine took it a couple of weeks ago in New Jersey. I think it might be the nicest picture anyone has ever taken of me (baby pictures excluded). If you’re reading this post in a reader, you’ll just have to click on through to see it.
I wish I could say something good about the diner that surrounded me. Alas. Not long after getting our coffee, I noticed an employee at the counter dislodging jelly from a spoon with a bare finger. I thought he might have been fixing himself some crackers. When he shifted position, I saw that he was filling paper cups with jelly for customer use. And then an employee behind the counter coughed into a bare hand and began cutting a cantaloupe. And what a coincidence: at that very moment we got a mysterious message, so deeply mysterious that my phone remained silent all the while. The message said to get the hell out of that diner. So we paid for our coffee and left a dollar on our table. Good riddance.
I am reluctant to name this establishment. I will just say that it’s in northern New Jersey, though its name might make you think otherwise. Jerseyan or Jerseyite, take warning.
By Michael Leddy at 7:48 AM
Monday, December 9, 2013
Van Dyke Parks has a new single out on the Bella Union label (also available from iTunes): “I’m History” b/w “Charm School.” “I’m History,” a lament for John F. Kennedy and lost hope, is a brilliant and moving song. It begins with a scene of Kennedy at the height of his Kennedyness, hosting a White House dinner for forty-nine Nobel Laureates:
When John F. Kennedy dined at the White HouseThe song’s end, “in the dark before dawn,” evokes the 1932 Bonus Army and (less literally) the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign and the 2011 Occupy movement:
he summoned the brightest and Nobel elite,
and he recalled the collection of talent
when Jefferson sat down alone there to eat.
He threw the laughter aside, said it can’t be denied,
there are those with no food at our feet.
That is history, brother and sister, to me, that’s history.
And in a city of tents those with no recompenseThe people, yes? Well, maybe. A voice says “Move on,” and the singer folds up:
are encamped on the broad White House lawn.
And I could paint you from old DeuteronomyThere is an imperfect but intensely exciting live performance of “I’m History” on YouTube — voice, piano, and bass. The recording though gives us what might be called the Full Parks — the song scored for strings and woodwinds. I’d like to see a single with both conceptions: call them “I’m History” and ”I‘m History Too.”
a richer picture to fix your economy,
but I’d offend you my friend, I surrender, the end. I’m
“Charm School” (written with Ira Ingber) suggests tropical and western vistas. It is a instrumental full of delights — steel drums, strings playing piano-like figures, snatches of slide guitar. According to Van Dyke’s tweets, “Charm School” has been kicking around for twenty years. Like all worthwhile music, it knows no time but its own and sounds like nothing but itself.
[“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone”: John F. Kennedy, April 29, 1962.]
By Michael Leddy at 9:22 AM