Sunday, May 24, 2009

Academic Rehab: Throwing Rice at the Rhino

You can’t dish that stuff out
unless you’re willing to take
most of it, at least not without
making yourself hateful to
your readers.

from Faking It, Laura Miller's review of
riRWalter Kirn’s memoir, “Lost in the
Meritocracy: The Undereducation of
an Overachiever,”

or worse: foolish;
of worse: ignored.

...But I applaud your efforts to get a dialogue
going to get it
better defined. Having a
clearer, publicly stated sense
of this would help drive
discussion about other issues
(class size, faculty
load, sabbaticals, academic standards, etc.)

Or: to put IT in play, Ron.

I spam-quoted Ray Anderson maybe 5 times
before he appeared ascommencement speaker,
thanks to Margo Flood sending us a link for
consideration—and of course what caught my
eye was his challenge to colleges and universities
to re think and reconstruct the curriculum
-—not in terms of content and subject matter—
but in process and approach, claiming the fred
flintstone obsolescence or our current ways.

Our universities, however, continue to teach
and operate
in the system that is destroying
the biosphere. Adherence
to the old mind-set,
the old curricula, obsolete pedagogies,
shortsighted planning are producing graduates

who are trained to perpetuate the destruction
of the

Did he nail this challenge down at commencement?
or was it all the-sky-is- falling-if-we-don’t-pay-attention?
You know: what we call raising andraising and raising

Carlyle described a sentimental tendency he named
"telescopic philanthropy":to look through a tunnel of
lenses at the injustice and concerns far away (non-local
food for thought say, if I can scramble meta force) and
dedicate concern for those “far-way” issues. Even golf
carts and recycling and flush-less urinals seemingly close
to home are “far-way” from the exquisitly essential heart
of our academics: how we deliver the goods rather than
merely: the goods. The media. Our media. As opposed to
(versus) the message.

IN all our talk & missives about strategic planning
(and tactics): nothing about ways of learning/ways of
(aka pedagogy: for some a dirty word) in these
troubled times and turbulence. WWRAS?
(What would Ray Andserson say?)

Maybe the team-teaching seminar will address it—though,
as Peter Elbow has suggested: our tactics are often non-
evolutionary compounding what’s already the dominant
paradigm. Like in composition, say: the kids keep coming
and can't write worth squat, so we double the requirement,
convinced more of the same--that'll do the trick, damnit.

Study skills and time management to fit them into the
procrustean beds.

Elbow advocated thinking in terms of non-disciplinary
supplement to the disciplinary/ interdisciplinarity addiction
—which he saw as more of the same “disciplinarian-ism.”
Like a heavy hand of science-ing: modeling academics all
the way up thru Jensen Humanism and north to Kittredge
and Holden. A hegemony seemingly welcomed by both the
humanities and the arts. .

Hard to critique “discipline” without maybe incurring the
hate of readers. Or ridicule, or worse: ignore-ance: my
misguided & presumptuous & redundant efforts “to get
a dialogue going to get IT better defined’—put it in play
at least. Mission from gawd, don't you know: or I couldn't
be sustaining the addiction. Needs to be a reciprocation.

Talk is cheap.
Doesn’t take an N.E.H grant
or released time and diminished load.

xxxooo, Sam

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