Review: The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World

The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World by Scott Hartley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hartley's makes a mostly convincing argument that there is increasing value in the pursuit of liberal arts education and that critical insight into human nature that liberal arts help to hone in humans that will be essential as we become a more technological society. In conjunction with various research he provides on the value of a liberal arts degree, he provides innumerable examples of people with liberal arts degrees or background make substantial breakthroughs in the launching of a variety of technological tools and projects. As someone with a liberal arts degree and a value for the pursuit of liberal arts studies in our culture, I appreciated Hartley's arguments. However, one failing of the book that I found and wished he had worked harder for was his over-abundance of examples from students that were at elite or Ivy League colleges and universities. Rarely w…

The Conversation After "Straight White Men"

Last night, I had the pleasure and privilege (pun intended) of attending Young Jean Lee's Straight White Men at the New Rep Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts.  

About "Straight White Men" The play focuses on four men: three brothers and their father.  It's Christmas and two of the brothers have traveled home to spend time with the father and oldest brother  (Matt) who lives in the home they grew up in.  Over the ensuing days, the two visiting brothers determine that their older brother has abandoned his potential and is wasting away his life in menial tasks such as temp jobs and helping their father who is perfectly capable.  One brother reads Matt's actions as indicative of low self-esteem and in need of therapeutic help while the other brother sees it as Matt rejecting his potential as the defying act of someone who recognizes that straight white male privilege is the system and achievement within that system of straight white men is only a perpetuation…

This Is 39

So this is two days late.  I meant to do it on my birthday like last year but since I had this 5K this morning, I figured it would be worth seeing if I beat my best time from last year.  Speaking of which, this is the second post that I have done where I use my birthday as a means of measuring what's been going on in the last year.  I updated the numbers here.

Home:  Watertown, MassachusettsRelationship status:  Married (4+ years)Cats Owned:  2 (Bear and Pumpkin)Other Pets:  1 mud turtle (MJ)Degrees earned: 5 (3 masters, 1 bachelor, 1 associate)Degree working on:  Phd in Higher EducationCredits Completed Toward Dissertation: 54 out of 72.Books read in 2018: 158Work:  full-time: Instructional Designer at Brandeis University.  Freelance reviewing audiobooks and graphic novels for Audiofile Magazine and Publishers Weekly.  Occasionally teaching courses at North Shore Community CollegeShort Stories Written:  1Social Media Consulting Gigs:  2Weight:  239 poundsBest time on a 5K: 24:37:0…

Review: A Colony in a Nation

A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hayes' book highlights a concept that is fundamental to understanding the US culture today and that is the division between law and order. While articulating that law and the protection of the law are important, Hayes divorces "order" from the standard "law and order" to challenge the implications of a society that demand order in the numerous ways that our society does. Hand in hand with this, he connects that argument to the concepts of colony and a nation; those who belong to a nation where law and order are not disruptive but positive parts of people's lives because while the law-part keeps them protected, the order part means they don't have to deal with things they don't want to (loud neighbors, homeless people, anyone that can be claimed to be causing disorder). However, then there is those who live in the colony; typically, marginalized people, though plenty of white people fall into …

Saying Goodbye

For those not in the know, my dad passed away recently (August 25, 2018).  It was not sudden but it was short.  He went into the hospital on August 6 with issues that revealed themselves to be secondary issues related to cancer.  When the MRIs and CT scans were done, the doctors found his insides lit up with tumors on his lungs, stomach, liver, and possibly his spine.  My dad spoked for nearly 65 years of his 78 years and had rarely gone to the doctors for most of his life, so the cancer surprised no one.  

In his final 18 or so days, we had time to spend with him, talk with him, and help him as his body slowly stopped working.  Though at times uncomfortably, he had little pain throughout that time.  He largely lost consciousness on Friday, August 24 and passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on the afternoon of August 25.   While it is always sad when a loved one leaves, it comforts me greatly to know that the circumstances were such that we had the opportunity to say goodbye, g…

Heading into Equity Unbound #UnboundEq

So Maha Bali is someone I follow a lot.  She's an amazing and critical educator, inviting social justice advocate, and engaging academic twitter-user along with two colleagues, Mia Zamora, and Catherine Cronin,  have launched a new open course for people to engage with called Equity Unbound

You can check out the ongoing dialogue on Twitter by checking out the hashtag #UnboundEq.

They explain the course as such "Equity Unbound is an emergent, collaborative curriculum which aims to create equity-focused, open, connected, intercultural learning experiences across classes, countries and contexts.  Equity Unbound was initiated by Maha Bali @bali_maha (American University in Cairo, Egypt), Catherine Cronin @catherinecronin (National University of Ireland, Galway), and Mia Zamora @MiaZamoraPhD (Kean University, NJ, USA) for use in their courses this term (September-December 2018), but it is open to all.

Equity Unbound is for learners and/or educators at all levels (e.g. undergraduate, …

Year #3; Semester 2: 30 Fridays left!

I started the first of my last 30 Fridays by submitting my QPP. That's right--30 Fridays left.  The breakdown of that is pretty easy.  2 semester, 15 days in each semester equals 30 Fridays left.  That's a countdown I can get excited about.  

It means many things for me.  It means I can begin to look at vacations as actual vacation time to which I can enjoy time away, rather than banking time for June sessions.  It means I can see a somewhat return to normality in terms of not working 4 long days at work and commuting into UMB once a week.  It means that I have made it through seven semesters and have 2 semesters of a challenging schedule.  It's exciting to see this in my focus.  

Beyond that, the first day back was light.  I have two classes but only one met, Sociological Perspectives in Higher Education who is taught by a professor that I enjoy a lot for the different ways he gets us thinking about any subject matter.  I also look forward to the course because it will hope…

Now, You Submit Your First Piece

I've submitted it.  The Qualifying Paper Proposal (QPP).  It's the first serious piece of work we submit on the path to our dissertation.  The program has students submit a QPP in which students identify a problem and a proposal to study the problem.  That is the proposal is to ultimately write the Qualifying Paper (QP), or a significant literature review exploring the problem.  If all goes well, this gets folded into our Dissertation Proposal (DP).  If all the stars align, the QPP, QP, and DP become the first three chapters of the dissertation (substantial revisions notwithstanding--or rather, completed expected)  So it is kinda a big first step.  

We started on this path back in June when we took the course associated with the QPP.  It was a 3-week writing workshop that helped us fine-tune our ideas to put them into some kind of coherent sense.  We submitted a rough draft to the instructor in mid-July and then continued working on them throughout the summer.  We finally submi…