• College & University •
October 7, 2005
October 7, 2005
Dartmouth College is older than the United States of America, having been established in 1750 as “Moore’s Indian Charity School.” The Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, a leading figure in the nation’s first Great Awakening, established the school with the original purpose of evangelizing American Indians. Keep that in mind as you learn of more recent developments.
September 27, 2005
USA Today editorialized on the new and undeniable gender imbalance on the college and university campus. For every 100 men receiving bachelor’s degrees, women receive 135. That’s a huge disparity, and USA Today describes the statistic as “ominous for every parent with a male child.”
Here’s how the paper made its argument:
While demographers and economists have a pretty good idea where the boys end up, educators are largely clueless about the causes. Some say female teachers in elementary and middle schools, where male teachers are scarce, naturally enforce a girl-friendly environment that rewards students who can sit quietly — not a strong point for many boys, who earn poor grades and fall behind. Others argue that a smart-isn’t-cool bias has seeped into boys of all racial and ethnic groups.
Solutions are just as uncertain. Hiring more male teachers would likely help, as would countering the anti-intellectual male code. But it’s not that simple. Many boys leave middle school with pronounced shortcomings in verbal skills. Those lapses contribute to the low grade and high dropout rates.
Surely, a problem that creates crime, increases unemployment and leads to hopelessness deserves attention. Where are the boys? Too often, going nowhere.
The paper’s editorial board obviously thinks that something ought to be done in order to encourage more young men to advance to college and earn degrees. Responding with an opposing view, Kim Gandy, president of the National Association for Women, said:
Every few years, a report that women are gaining ground prompts panicky articles proclaiming that “men are falling behind!” . . . Bottom line? I don’t see a few more degrees signaling the fall of patriarchy. We already know women are smart. But no matter how smart you are, it’s tough to win when the rules keep changing and you have to choose between work and family.
She didn’t actually respond in any meaningful or direct way to the problem of too many young men failing to gain a college degree. Instead, she simply repeated her organization’s constant argument that prejudice against women explains everything — even underachieving young men. Got it?
September 15, 2005
The Yale Institute of Sacred Music, The Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian & Gay Studies, and other Yale University programs have announced a conference entitled, “Sex and Religion in Migration.” Curious? See the announcement:
Welcome to the web site of the forthcoming conference at Yale University. This international, interdisciplinary conference is set to examine how religious and gender identities arise and develop in relation to one another in the context of globalization. Thirteen internationally-recognized scholars, authors, artists and film-makers have been invited to address the conference’s theme by reflecting on the bodily practices of migrants in both refugee situations and immigrant populations in Europe and the U.S.A.
In today’s globalized world, the role of national identity is undergoing radical change and so choosing migrant-contexts as our focus will allow for many aspects of globalization’s effects on sexual and religious identity-formation to be studied, analyzed and interpreted. The conference will span a four-day period and produce an edited volume of essays addressing religion, sexuality, and globalization.
We look forward to having you join us in September!
Does anyone have a clue what this has to do with sacred music? Welcome to the modern academy, where announcements like this evidently make sense.
June 10, 2005
May 21, 2005
May 10, 2005
Stephanie Coontz, author of a soon-to-be-released book on marriage, contributed an eye-opening op-ed column to today’s edition of The Los Angeles Times. In “Our Kids Are Not Doomed,” Coontz argues that calls for a return to the traditional family are misguided and unnecessary, since kids have just learned to adjust to new family forms, single parenthood, parental divorce, etc. Coontz promotes a postmodern form of the family–relativizing family structure and eliminating any notion of “normal.” As she paints the picture, statistics indicate that children are coping better than in the past, parents are learning to “handle divorce better,” and parents are spending more time with children. She admits that social pathologies persist, but argues that “it doesn’t help today’s diverse families to be told their children are doomed unless they can shoehorn themselves into a traditional marriage.” Her answer: “It’s time to stop predicting social catastrophe from the transformation of family life and start helping every family build on its distinctive strengths and minimize its weaknesses.” Of course, her utopia of “diverse families” distinguished only by different strengths and weaknesses exists only in her imagination.
May 5, 2005
Warren G. Bennis and James O’Toole agree that business schools are “on the wrong track.” These two authors address what they see as the central failing of graduate schools supposedly committed to preparing business leaders–these schools hire faculty who have little or no experience in the actual world of business. But is this insight limited to business schools? Not hardly.
February 11, 2005
Patrick Allitt must be a fascinating classroom teacher. His book about classroom teaching at the college level is so interesting and informative that I can only imagine what the experience of sitting in his classroom must be like. This is a teacher who clearly loves teaching, loves students, and loves the little kingdom of his classroom. In I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student, Allitt distills a career of teaching experience into a powerful treatise on the teacher’s role and the educational process.