Archive: Feb 2014

Earlier today I taped a segment for a local radio show, “Education Matters.” I was a bit nervous going in, as the purpose was to discuss the new Institute of Professional Educator Development (IPED), and the experts in the institute do a much better job of explaining things than I ever could; I see my job as to provide resources for them and then get out of the way! Alas, the host wanted to talk to the dean of the college that houses the institute. In the end, though, all was fine, as we discussed a wide range of issues, including my educational journey from high school to UW-Parkside. It was fun!

The last time I made a media appearance was as a department chair at the University of Minnesota. In 2008 I was on a panel discussion of the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination on the “Crossroads” TV program (KSTC channel 45 in Minneapolis-St. Paul). I went on “Crossroads” again in 2010 for a panel discussion on African Americans in sports. Although you’d think it would be harder to go on TV than the radio given TV’s hot lights and the pressure to conform to visual standards, I thought it was easier to prepare for the “Crossroads” appearances since I was part of a group and could just answer questions off the cuff. For the radio show I was the only guest, and I had to make sure that I provided proper information about IPED. In the end I think I did OK, but if I’m contacted again I might have to insist on a faculty member being a better choice!

Yesterday I downloaded the song “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” by Broken Social Scene; I originally encountered this song a few years ago as part of the movie The Time Traveller’s Wife. I had a hard time finding the song on iTunes, however, as I kept searching for “Broken Social Science” as the name of the band! I wonder: if a band called “Broken Social Science” actually existed, what would they sing about? Any ideas?

Today an Inside Higher Education report caught my eye: “Wayne State Defends Dean Who Sparked Professor Resignation.” The article discusses how some Wayne State U. faculty members are resisting the dean’s institutional change efforts, even though that is what he was hired to do. I’m definitely interested in these types of stories, as I’m in the same boat as a founding dean who was hired to establish a new college out of existing components with a number of long-serving faculty members. The Wayne State U. provost noted, “a great deal of what we see going on here is that some older, more established faculty frankly don’t want to see change.” That has not been the case so far here at UW-Parkside, as I’ve had great working relationships with department heads and faculty members in the establishment of new policies and procedures. We are beginning to tackle a university-wide budget shortfall that might necessitate really tough decisions, however, so I hope that we are able to keep working together productively. Please send us good vibes!


Yesterday a 20-year tradition came to an end, as I did not generate notes about Super Bowl commercials during the game. I started this in January of 1993, in anticipation of discussing the ads with students when I started teaching as a graduate student in the fall of 1993. In subsequent years I taped the Super Bowl on my VCR (remember those?), and showed a couple in classes to illustrate that week’s topics. As a Dean I usually won’t be teaching, and if I were I could easily show the commercials on YouTube. Also, the 20 year-old notebook I used was completely filled, so that was another signal to end the tradition.

If teaching this semester one commercial to discuss would definitely be Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” ad, which drew a storm of outrage for its depiction of a multi-hued crowd singing “America the Beautiful” in several languages. The spot wasn’t completely hated, however, as evidenced by a #17 finish in the annual USA Today Ad Meter. There will probably be discussion about this commercial all week in the blogosphere; I’m looking forward to good sociological analysis!