Archive: Jul 2013

For those ordering and conducting investigations, it is all too easy to get caught up in the business-as-usual of policies and procedures. The self-justifying nature of bureaucracies sometimes blind us to the human dimensions of those processes. The Hunt is a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of even the best-intentioned policies and procedures.

This weekend I saw this highly acclaimed Danish film. I  recommend The Hunt for both its artistic pleasure and moral edification. Art and literature have a marvelous capacity of penetrating our taken-for-granted realities, allowing us to experience the shock of recognition.

Here’s a new premortem: the new tumors growing in my lungs are still precancerous; the skin cancer is not life-threatening; whatever is destroying my hard palate is not malignant; the emphysema remains moderately severe; the six stents in my heart continue to prevent another heart attack; the congestive heart failure is flaring up; the chronic kidney disease remains moderate; the peripheral neuropathy is like walking on Novocaine-injected feet. Nevertheless, as Tom Waits put it, I’m still the “last leaf on the tree.”

They say I got staying power

Here on the tree

But I’ve been here since Eisenhower

And I’ve out lived even he


I’m the last leaf on the tree 

The autumn took the rest but they won’t take me

I’m the last leaf on the tree

(Tom Waits)

Before a man studies Zen, to him mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after he gets an insight into the truth of Zen through the instruction of a good master, mountains to him are not mountains and waters are not waters; but after this when he really attains to the abode of rest, mountains are once more mountains and waters are waters. (Chingyuan)

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New Faculty Seminar: Fall Semester Syllabus

There are many who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. There are others who desire to know in order that they may themselves be known: that is vanity. Others seek knowledge in order to sell it: that is dishonorable. But there are some who seek knowledge in order to edify others: that is love.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux


Session 1:  Past, Present, and a Precarious Future

Guests: Sue Hammersmith and Ginny Arthur

“A Riverboat Gambler’s Utopian Experiment,” Monte Bute

“Vision, Mission & Core Values Statements”

“Extraordinary Education at Metropolitan State University: Report on Spring 2012 Faculty Forums,” Ginny Arthur

“College at Risk,” Andrew Delbanco


Session 2:  IFO Contract and Criteria for Tenure and Promotion

Guests: Nancy Black and Lawrence Moe

“2011-13 IFO/MnSCU Contract”

“How Far is Distance Learning from Education?” Hubert L. Dreyfus [Intriguing model of skill development that is quite applicable to Metro State faculty]


Session 3:  Why We Teach

Discussion Facilitators: Monte Bute and Tom O’Connell

“Why We Teach: Scholastics, Partisans, Socratics, and Communitarians,” Tom O’Connell and Monte Bute (table)

Exemplars of the Taxonomy

Tip to Professors: Just Do Your Job,” Stanley Fish

“Toward a Revolutionary Feminist Pedagogy,” bell hooks

“The Answer of Socrates,” Hannah Arendt

“We Teach Who We Are,” Parker Palmer


Session 4How We Teach—Nuts and Bolts

Guests: Panel of Faculty

·                     What do I do with 200 Minutes? The Interactive and Smart Classroom

·                     Teaching Venues: Classroom, Online, Hybrid, Theory Seminar, Prior Competence

·                     Syllabus Construction—applying Aristotle’s Poetics

·                     Selecting Readings—Less is More

·                     Assignments that Foster Higher Order Reading, Thinking, Writing, and Discussion

·                     The Neglected Art and Craft of Honest and Constructive Evaluation

Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education,” Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson

“Designing Education for Understanding,” Howard Gardner


“Embracing Contraries in the Teaching Process,” Peter Elbow



Session 5:  Scholarship and Continued Preparation

Guests: Panel of Faculty

Scholarship Revisited, Ernest L. Boyer


Session 6:  Student Growth and Development

Guests: Doug Knowlton and Tadael Emiru

“Qualities of a Liberally Educated Person,” William Cronon

Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs”

“’Engagement’ and the Unprepared,” Doug Lederman

“A Letter to a Student of a Certain Class,” Monte Bute


Session 7:  Service to the University and Community

Guests: Panel of Faculty

 “Revising Faculty Service Roles—Is ‘Faculty Service’ a Victim of the Middle Child Syndrome?”  Gayle A. Brazeau

“Rewarding Faculty Professional Service,” KerryAnn O’Meara

“Tales of Western Adventure,” Patricia Nelson Limerick