“George Washington did not cooperate with the organization, leaving the reviewers to collect syllabuses and course requirements through unofficial channels.”

So, nu, would it have killed you to cooperate? I mean, since you didn’t cooperate (which would have meant, far as I can tell, a not-outrageous amount of work on your part), you now have two problems: You got the lowest possible ranking on a national, high-profile, ed-school ranking; and you look as though you knew what was coming so you… didn’t cooperate.

George Washington University was among the lowest-ranked programs in the country. It received this warning from the council: “No prospective teacher candidates should entrust their preparation to these programs because candidates are unlikely to obtain much return on their investment.”

Here’s some stuff about the rankings:

Released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based advocacy group, the rankings are part of a $5 million project funded by major U.S. foundations. Education secretaries in 21 states have endorsed the report… The review was funded by 62 organizations, led by the Carnegie Corporation and the Broad Foundation. The National Council on Teacher Quality analyzed admissions standards and inspected syllabuses, textbooks and course requirements and rated 1,430 programs on a scale of zero to four stars.

What, you said we don’t have to cooperate with that fly-by-night Carnegie Corporation… ?

Isn’t the business of being in denial about how bad they are one of the big reasons many ed schools are so bad?

So now your only option is to dump on the Carnegie and the Broad and all those education secretaries… Only we know what we’re doing… They don’t know what they’re doing…

Here’s what you should have done:

The University of Michigan’s School of Education was one of the few institutions that willingly gave its materials to the National Council on Teacher Quality. “There was no particular reason not to,” said Dean Deborah Loewenberg Ball. “This is one of society’s most important topics.”

Let UD give you some advice, not that you’ll take it: Apologize for not cooperating (or at least give some reason for not having done so that doesn’t make you look dumb) and say that while you think the rating unfair, it’s one of many useful sources of criticism available to the school, and will be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, you’re going to have a bumpy pr ride for awhile, and you should be thinking in broader terms about how to manage it. One thing to do would be to publish and defend elements of your curriculum. The head of GW’s teaching program should right now (or in a few hours; it’s 4:13 AM) be preparing an opinion piece to be sent to the Washington Post which in measured terms explains and defends the school’s curriculum, admissions philosophy, etc.

UD will now check out GW’s teacher training curriculum. She’s happy to speculate about what might have set off the Council.

**********************************

UPDATE: The Washington Post is scathing:

The council’s methodology was developed over eight years, relying on a review of course descriptions, syllabuses, student-teacher observation instruments and other materials. It came under immediate attack as incomplete and inaccurate from institutions of higher education. Such criticism is rich considering that many of these same institutions fought tooth and nail to keep materials from researchers. “Tremendously uncooperative” is how Kate Walsh, president of the council, described many institutions, which refused to share textbooks or course descriptions. The council had to file open-records requests; many private institutions that are not subject to Freedom of Information requirements opted out. What were they trying to hide?

‘”That’s what happens when you build glass boxes in climates like this. They are not sustainable,” said Spiric.’

From the mouths of babes.

Architecture students at the University of Arizona rebuke the fancy eco-architects who built the 2007 extension to their old and – compared to the new glass architecture building – reasonably sustainable brick architecture school building.

It’s some kind of best-laid green plans fable for our times that, as Tom Beal writes in the Arizona Daily Star

The 2007 glass-and-steel addition to the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture – promoted by the university as “a laboratory for sustainable practices” – is one of the biggest energy wasters on campus.

In its first year of operation, it used four times the energy of the comparably sized brick building to which it is attached. Its glass walls and unshaded, exterior cooling ducts, combined with design changes made to save money during its construction, make it difficult to heat and cool efficiently.

A “green wall,” designed to shade the building’s south side, has yet to grow.

The Tucson heat, seasonal glare, reflected light and noise from traffic on East Speedway blast through its north-facing glass walls. Students say the glare can be irritating and disorienting.

Well yes, glass buildings in Tucson… Of course, they can be made energy efficient, but a lot of things have to work. Like that green wall…

“It was a great idea and it’s worked in other places, and I’ll be damned if I can explain why those vines struggle,” said [the building's architect].

The building’s architect claims that eco-considerations were not foremost in the building’s planning, but the article featuring his work on the extension (and based, one assumes, on an interview with him) touts eco stuff first thing.

There is a kind of pedagogical genius to the building.

In a sense, the building is living up to its description as “a working laboratory for sustainable practices.”

Master’s in architecture candidate David Tapia Takaki said it is providing plenty of problems for the students to fix.

*************************

Add noise pollution to its other problems.

One of the big problems on the north edge is traffic noise, said [a student]. “It’s the cars on Speedway. If you are there one or two hours, you will not notice, but stay there all day and it can give you headaches.”

The Speedway! Named America’s ugliest street some decades ago, it remains a noisy thoroughfare.

*************************

All in all, an embarrassment.

Over profound student protest…

… the chancellor of Syracuse University had Jamie Dimon give the 2010 commencement address. She defended her decision by saying:

It is rare that a university is able to bring a speaker with a birds-eye view of, and extensive on-the-ground experience with, a major global challenge.

Now that Dimon’s irresponsibility has produced a globally destructive two billion dollar loss at his massive bank, UD thinks it’s time for Chancellor Cantor to invite him back. Thanks to her, Syracuse already has the distinction of having been the only American university to honor this man in this way; and if her criterion for the choice of speaker continues to be someone who has immediate experiences of major global challenges, the choice of Dimon is better than ever. His bank has just created a major global challenge.

Maybe she should have invited Simon Johnson instead. He certainly had useful things to tell her.

Meanwhile, Syracuse can take pride in the fact that it did its small bit to encourage Jamie Dimon to “preen and flash along … until [his] hubris causes the next [financial] disaster.”

First, apply your Aristotle primer.

Other law enforcement officials who have received ethics training through Hopkins described it as largely classroom-based — and intense. The classes begin with a foundation in ethics, including a primer on Aristotle, then move on to modern applications of those ancient lessons.

Johns Hopkins University is teaching Secret Service guys not to fuck prostitutes.

—————–

UD thanks David.

“Everything depends on which ‘nothing’ you are talking about.”

I suppose it’s all, at bottom, a category error; but UD is enjoying following the Krauss/Albert fulminating dust-up about science and philosophy.

I’ll admit I’ve never gotten far beyond scaring myself when thinking with any depth about why there’s something rather than nothing…

Not really scaring myself… Feeling very sharply the impossibility of moving my mind to the cosmological back-of-beyond.

As a literary type, though, I’ve loved nothingness poems and prose all my life. I’ve loved writing that captures the conviction and the feeling all thoughtful people occasionally have, that – in the words of Leopold Bloom, struck down for a moment in a Dublin pub by absolute nihilism – no one is anything. Everything depends on the nothing you are talking about, and I’m not talking about the nothingness that a field without particles might represent; I’m talking about the “death in the soul” Albert Camus felt in Prague. What Don DeLillo in Libra imagines Lee Harvey Oswald feeling in Texas:

He walked through empty downtown Dallas, empty Sunday in the heat and light. He felt the loneliness he always hated to admit to, a vaster isolation than Russia, stranger dreams, a dead white glare burning down.

What James Agee, in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, felt, also on a Sunday, in Alabama:

… the subdual of this sunday deathliness in whose power was held the whole of the south… nothing but the sun was left, faithfully blasting away upon the dead earth…

In my next Faculty Project Lecture, I’m talking about three great nothingness poems – Auden’s Brussels in Winter, and Larkin’s Absences, as well as his Friday Night in the Royal Station Hotel. And of course there’s Elizabeth Bishop’s Cape Breton.

I find a curious reassurance in these evocations of … psychic vastation? What to call it without sounding pretentious, ponderous? Everyone laughs when people say things like If you remember the ‘sixties, you weren’t there. But, you know, the business of not being there… that sense of suspension from yourself, the world, everything… It feels like a serious business, one with insights in it that might compete with quantum field theory.

Those with a taste for the details of how…

… America’s top college students are nihilized into the power elite will recall Walter Kirn’s classic Lost in the Meritocracy, where he chronicled his transformation from an earnest person who loved literature to “the system’s pure product, clever and adaptable, not so much educated as wised-up.” At Princeton, he learned to hone

more-marketable skills: for flattering those in authority without appearing to, for ranking artistic reputations according to the latest academic fashions, for matching my intonations and vocabulary to the background of my listener, for placing certain words in smirking quotation marks and rolling my eyes when someone spoke too earnestly about some “classic” work of “literature,” for veering left when the conventional wisdom went right and then doubling back if the consensus changed.

Now there’s this year’s account of the ‘“intoxicating nihilism” that dominates campus social life’ at another corporate feeder.

At the sports factories, it’s one-and-done. In the higher precincts, it’s four-and-whore.

Annales d’histoire

“I was just reading something last night from the state of California that … seven or eight of the California system of universities don’t even teach an American history course [Rick Santorum said at a campaign stop]. It’s not even available to be taught.”

MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow on her Monday broadcast called the Santorum statement “100 percent untrue” and “hysterically wrong.”

She then read from the University of California, Davis, course calendar naming several courses from the Davis catalog and the classes’ instructors.

Courses include “History of the United States,” “The Gilded Age and Progressive Era” and “War, Prosperity and Depression, 1917-1945.”

Davis officials said they were pleased with the unexpected exposure.

“We were thrilled that a national TV audience was able to see the breadth of our course offerings in a very important subject,” UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said Tuesday.

All campuses teach multiple American history courses.

“Investigators found that Leite had completed sexual-harassment training three times in recent years, but she told the university she was unaware her actions were wrong.”

LOL.

“It is time to start considering options to antidepressants.”

Hey. New year and all. You’re going to read tons of these articles and opinion pieces in 2012, as the evidence pours in about placebos. The other side has all the money and will keep bombarding you with ads, just the way do-nothing, charge-everything for-profit online schools do. Resolve to think seriously about these come-ons.

Gotcha.

A young mountain lion sleeping in a tree on the University of Colorado campus has been captured and “will be fitted with a collar and become part of the Front Range Mountain Lion Study.”

Disabilify

It is pretty remarkable: Vegetarians, health food faddists, digestive obsessives of all sorts, blithely toss powerful anti-psychotics and anti-depressants down their gullets (and their children’s gullets) without knowing shit about what’s in them.

UD could understand it if these people were heroin addicts past caring about the ingredients of the compound someone’s handing them. But these are intelligent, watchful Americans, and it’s Down the hatch, baby!

Take the wildly popular, constantly advertised anti-psychotic Abilify, which you absolutely must try with your anti-depressant, darling. Two professors of medicine at Dartmouth write:

[Versus a placebo, Abilify scored] only three points lower on a 60-point scale, and it resolved depression for only 10 percent of patients — that is, 25 percent with Abilify versus 15 percent with just the placebo…

Abilify [caused] 21 percent of patients in the trials to develop akathisia, or severe restlessness, and 4 percent to gain a substantial amount of weight. And, as with all anti-depressants, there is a small increase in suicidal thoughts and behavior among many young adults.

The writers point out that we know far more about our sun screens than about these powerful manipulators of our brain chemistry.

More here. And here.

So taunt me and hurt me…

… deceive me…

So in love with you am I!

UD was interviewed this morning…

… by a reporter from the Xinhua news agency about the Amy Chua controversy. If her remarks make it into an article, she’ll link you to them.

Absolutely fascinating and extremely heartening…

… article on the front page of the New York Times about the slow but steady acceptance of a far better model of disseminating and evaluating scholarly work than antediluvian peer review.

Excerpts:

… [T]he prestigious 60-year-old Shakespeare Quarterly … [has embarked] on an uncharacteristic experiment in the forthcoming fall issue — one that will make it …the first traditional humanities journal to open its reviewing to the World Wide Web.

Mixing traditional and new methods, the journal posted online four essays not yet accepted for publication, and a core group of experts — what Ms. Rowe called “our crowd sourcing” — were invited to post their signed comments on the Web site MediaCommons, a scholarly digital network. In the end 41 people made more than 350 comments, many of which elicited responses from the authors. The revised versions were then reviewed by the quarterly’s editors, who made the final decision to include them in the printed journal, due out Sept. 17.

… Today a small vanguard of digitally adept scholars is rethinking how knowledge is understood and judged by inviting online readers to comment on books in progress, compiling journals from blog posts and sometimes successfully petitioning their universities to grant promotions and tenure on the basis of non-peer-reviewed projects.

… In some respects scientists and economists who have created online repositories for unpublished working paper like repec.org have more quickly adapted to digital life. Just this month, mathematicians used blogs and wikis to evaluate a supposed mathematical proof in the space of a week — the scholarly equivalent of warp speed.

In the humanities, in which the monograph has been king, there is more inertia. “We have never done it that way before,” should be academia’s motto, said Kathleen Fitzpatrick, a professor of media studies at Pomona College.

… [T]he debates happening on the site Sociologica.mulino.it “are defined as being frontier knowledge even though they are not peer reviewed,” [commented one scholar.] …

Exciting, cutting-edge stuff.

From “What Makes A Great Teacher?” in the latest…

Atlantic magazine.

Teach for America’s staffers have discovered that past performance — especially the kind you can measure — is the best predictor of future performance [as a teacher]. Recruits who have achieved big, measurable goals in college tend to do so as teachers. And the two best metrics of previous success tend to be grade-point average and “leadership achievement” — a record of running something and showing tangible results. If you not only led a tutoring program but doubled its size, that’s promising.

Knowledge matters, but not in every case. In studies of high-school math teachers, majoring in the subject seems to predict better results in the classroom. And more generally, people who attended a selective college are more likely to excel as teachers (although graduating from an Ivy League school does not unto itself predict significant gains in a Teach for America classroom). Meanwhile, a master’s degree in education seems to have no impact on classroom effectiveness.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE

Archives

Categories