Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Various education notes

"Del Mar College’s interim president has come under fire for proposed policy changes affecting faculty life – most notably one decoupling promotion from tenure." Without getting into the issues of tenure and promotion, what I wonder is, what the heck is an interim president doing making policy changes? Interims are hired with the understanding they are temporary placeholders, cardboard cutouts to stand in for a permanent president, if you will. They keep things going the way they were before they started. Occasionally, a major scandal will erupt under an interim's watch, and then, of course, the interim must act. But other under circumstances, interims with big ideas are supposed to sit back and apply for the presidential job like everyone else.

MIT is suing Frank Gehry for its ineptly designed and constructed building. UC Irvine tore its Gehry down; my own alma mater has had ongoing issues with its Gehry. (In addition to the ice mentioned in the link, they've had the same flooding problems that MIT has.) I do have one soft spot for CWRU's Gehry, though - its labrynthian architecture played a sizable role (along with the shooter's ineptness) in stopping our own school shooting from being an even bigger tragedy than it was.

I saw a college billboard the other day that seemed a little different. Most college billboards are either touting their degree programs or their sports. Among the latter, you see "Catch the [team] spirit!" and "Get your season tickets!" Those that tout degree programs take one of two strategies. One is focused on you - "Get your degree, get your promotion" or "It's time to fulfill your dream." When you think about it, these don't actually tell you that the college being advertised is the best place to do it. Others advertise the advantages of their particular program - get your degree online, part-time, or more quickly. The billboard for Bethel College was clearly among the last type. It said, "Learn more, finish faster." But I've never seen a college billboard before that actually said anything about learning. A degree is always treated as a certification or credential, one can you can take pride in, but then you can take pride in lots of kinds of hard work that do not necessarily increase your knowledge.

Last, but not least, Vanderbilt has announced what it wants in a chancellor.

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