Here at these Colleges we operate in the plural, so the above is correct – yesterday was the 102nd commencement for William Smith College and the 188th for Hobart (they graduated in that order – we alternate).
I have to admit that this was a year in which I was not particularly attached to many seniors. I was away for 2 of their 8 semesters (the 2nd semester of their sophomore year I was in Rome and this semester I was on sabbatical), so I haven’t taught them as often as I do many students. But I did have a number of advisees and got to hug most of them and meet some parents (always a fascination – you know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree).
So, congratulations, best wishes, come back for Reunion, and always remember to send money. Your almae matres need you!
A couple of us had lunch yesterday with the biggest living donor to our departmental efforts. He wants to give us more money – evidently while he’s still lively enough to enjoy watching what we do with it!
So, today I spent some time with another department member making a loosely prioritized wish for slices of the Pie Pie In the Sky.
I’m just back from the senior dinner in honor of the majors in Art History, Studio Art, and Architectural Studies. This year’s student show was especially strong in studio. I bought 2 things for the first time – pictures and rationale to follow.
Congratulations to the Classes of 2013!
My department searched two positions this year – for a tenure track assistant professor of Architectural Studies and for a one-year replacement faculty member in New Media/Video. The first position has been offered and accepted and the second position – well, I hope the committee decided this afternoon on their recommendation!
Once again, I’m glad not to be chair any more!
This seems like a really interesting experiment!
Q: In Light Without Fire, you draw comparisons between Zaytuna — which aspires to combine intensive study of Arabic and the Koran with a liberal arts curriculum loosely based on the Great Books — and other, mostly Christian, religious colleges. Does Zaytuna aim to eventually model itself after evangelical colleges, most of which aim to educate those who share the faith of the colleges’ leaders? Or does it plan to follow the path of some Roman Catholic colleges, which consider their faith a key part of their identity but enroll many non-Catholic students? In other words, would Zaytuna rather be the Georgetown University or the Wheaton College of Islam?
A: In the early days of the school, Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid often tried to describe the school — and their ideas about its founding — in an American historical context, reminding their audiences at the school’s convocation, during fund-raising events, and in radio interviews, that Yale and Harvard were both founded as religious colleges. It’s difficult at this point to see Zaytuna in the model of these Ivies, and it’s not their vision at the moment to expand the school much beyond a total population of 200 students. That size alone to me suggests appealing almost exclusively to Muslim students. And while Islam will likely remain a part of each class the students take, I think the hope of the school will be to appeal to Muslims of all stripes — and even the rare case of a non-Muslim student who finds incredibly appealing the school’s vision of creating morally committed individuals.
This in an interview with Scott Korb, author of Light without Fire, a book observing the start-up of Zaytuna College. I just ordered the book – I’ll tell you what I think.
from Inside Higher Ed
Houghton House is ringing with the sound of the Student Art Show going up – and the campus Café is full, at 9:35 a.m., of students working.
All my career I’ve been told and then told students that Imhotep expandedthe lower to levels of the Step Pyramid systematically until it reached its present siaze – but I’d never seen a photograph that showed it. So I took one.
This is part of what a sabbatical is for!
Wow. A vote of no confidence in the president of NYU. Money is perhaps not enough.
Speaking of money – remember the recent news of the golden handshake (not parachute – this was an amicable parting of the ways) for Jack Lew? Did that news contribute to this vote?
Arcadia University (Philadelphia area, c. 4000 students, used to be called Beaver but changed their name because web filters were blocking them in searches) just fired its president in mid-year. No cause has been announced (“Spokeswoman Laura Baldwin said it was a confidential issue between the board and Oxholm”), and the now-former president claims he was given no reason. Odd.
I keep wondering about the comparison of the Dissolution of the Monasteries to what sometimes seems to be looming on the horizon for Higher Education. Remember, the monasteries did not seek to dissolve – it happened from the top because Henry and Parliament saw an undefended pile of wealth and from below because people had lost faith in the intercessory activity of the contemplatives and from beside because the gentry ended up with most of the property.
Read this about universities and what we’re doing with money. I may think these Colleges are educating students – but we also laid out an artificial turf stadium in 2009. That wasn’t very popular locally, despite our president reminding folks that there were local jobs involved and that the local schools could use the field more frequently (since there’s less damage to the field than when it was natural turf). Our non-profit status comes up constantly as a perceived drain on local taxes, whatever our contribution to the local economy.
I can’t help wondering when something will break.
via Fr. Baker
Inside Higher Ed conveys the news that Stanford students are signing a petition declaring 8:30 classes deplorable. Kids these day – just wait until they get a real job!
Body-clock issues are endless. They’d probably prefer classes that start at 10 P.M. – about the time they start to buckle down to work on weeknights – but much the professoriate is ready by that time for a little bed-time reading.
I saw a couple of places yesterday that NYU paid Jack Lew a severance package, but I didn’t follow up or click. This morning I read at The Right Coast how much that severance package was – $685,000! So then I thought – hey, NYU has more in common with SEC schools than I thought. Lew had a good contract. But no! The New York Times article makes it very clear:
The payment, which a university official acknowledged on Monday, is considered unusual by outside experts in benefits and raises questions about why a tax-exempt university would give a large exit bonus to an executive who was departing voluntarily.
. . .
University officials defended the additional lump-sum payment, which was not required by his original employment contract, citing Mr. Lew’s role in addressing some of the university’s major problems at the time. [my emphasis]
Wow. At least fired coaches who continue to receive pay have good legal grounds!
via Prof Smith
This was part of the Hobart and William Smith Winterpalooza set up. I suppose it’s a logical development from the Mechanical Bull technology so popular when I was myself in college.
I risked neither life nor limb on this contraption.