What Happened to the Week: 11/8 – 11/14

by Brian Michael Foote


Did anybody else read the Chronicle today? The ‘College as a Philanthropy‘ article by Dick Merriman was amazing.  Normally I open up with something bitter here but I really want to point everyone towards that article and get your thoughts.  I’ve been discussing a variation of that theme over on Ground Control for a couple of weeks now and I wish I had seen this article earlier.  Anyhow…


First up – We have a new blogger! Welcome Alevtina Verbovetskaya @alevtina “newly minted” librarian over at Lehman.  Her first post betrayed her – never let the students know you fear their gaze.  Anyone showing Simpson’s clips to underscore the importance of critical thinking is going to be just fine.  We’re glad to have you blogging here on the Commons and looking forward to hearing more from the front.

Man of travel Tony Picciano @apicciano is (was?) in Dallas for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Annual Conference to give some presentations.  As a native of the region let me suggest a few things; stay in your hotel.  That’s it, that’s all of my suggestions.  If you must go out just remember Texans are kind of like New Yorkers – prolonged eye contact is usually the first step towards fisticuffs.  The difference is that they all carry handguns because, you know, it’s Texas.

Fun Texas fact – my high school had a rodeo team.  Yee Haw.

MadLibrarian called out the Youtube piece circulating last week about the Florida professor who lectured on the staggering rate of cheating and plagiarism in the university.  That clip showed up just in time to match the piece in the Chronicle about the ‘Shadow Scholar‘ an alleged first person account from a pen for hire who’s been writing students’ papers for years now.  Both of them are depressing and I think they tie to what Merriman touches on when he says that thinking of higher education as a consumer experience engenders this kind of mindset, that education can be approached as a consumer commodity.

Alright, take a breath…

The Obama Presidency

First there was the one where Obama touched a hot stove.  Then there was the one that made me feel a little bad for Joe Biden…but not too bad though considering the bed bug thing.  Then there was the one where a CUNY student said he was a free-market capitalist and made sound effects to prove that unfettered markets aren’t scary.  On a side note there, I’m currently at a university that is not CUNY and they have indeed grown tired of my Marx references.  Anyways, back to the work at hand…Then there was the one about the ‘new axis of evil‘ which I, before I even opened the post, knew George Soros was going to be a part of.

Then there was the post on Afghanistan.  I realize that I’m making light of all the tremendous amount of blogging going on at ‘The Obama Presidency’ but it’s in good fun.  I’m obviously thrilled to see so much happening on the Commons and I love when you folks post.  That being said I want to be sure that you know I’m kidding around a little because I certainly don’t want to make light of a post like ‘Afghanistan: Stay or Go’

That post is a wonderful and chilling account of things seen and felt while in the graveyard of empires.  I really don’t want to spoil anything in it other than to say that it certainly stopped me cold and I hope everyone reads it.  Thank you David Rasmussen @drasmussen for sharing and if you haven’t been told lately- thank you for your service.

I think that wraps it up for the week.