Weekend Reading

Little League starts practice tomorrow.  Soccer practices start in another two weeks.  Which can only mean two things: On the one hand, five evening/weekend slots just filled in on my calendar, but, on the other hand, it means the end of the semester is officially close!  As you’re out and about this weekend, a few links worth thinking about:

  • AFT Higher Education has an important new report out on ways unions can improve diversity on campus: Of the 10.4 percent of faculty positions held by underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in 2007, 7.6 percent were contingent positions—which means that 73 percent of underrepresented faculty hold positions that do not give them adequate wages or benefits, job security, or meaningful academic freedom.
  • The final word on backups, from John Moltz’s “CARS Total Backup Plan“: Hard drives are great and they sure are fun to whip at cars on the interstate late at night, but one giant electromagnetic pulse and kiss your ones and zeros good bye. That’s why I painstakingly write out all the ones and zeros that make up the data on my hard drive no fewer than three times a day on the wall in the safe room in my basement.
  • We’re a week away from the iPad’s launch, when interested parties will finally get to try one.  While we’ve often been skeptical on the site, we’re also cautiously optimistic, and I think Adam Lisagor helps explain why: What we want from our technology, in its most elemental form, is to make our thoughts happen. Sure, it’s still very much sci-fi in 2010, but what every calculating machine and telephone and computer and phonograph and light bulb and hammer and every tool ever invented is about at its core is our desire, our evolutionary imperative to control our environment at our will. And we’re getting closer and closer to that happening. But there are still many layers between our intentions and our environment. As time progresses, we will strip away those layers one by one. And it’s always disruptive to do so. Also, Foxtrot.
  • Anne-Marie Deitering has a fascinating write-up of Stephen A. Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher.  What’s interesting about it from a ProfHacker point of view are Brookfield’s arguments that some of our interests (in sharing information and best/better practices; in teaching accessibly, etc.) uncritically reflect hegemonic assumptions about our institutional status.  ProfHackery would thus potentially be a way of “becoming complicit in our own oppression.”
  • Public higher education in the United States is in a world of hurt, as everyone knows, and it will only get worse after this year, when the stimulus package’s restrictions on cutting education budgets end.  The Constructivist has a helpful post about what academic governance in a public system should look like, focusing on the SUNY system.  Of particular interest here is the explicit offer of accountability on clearly-defined metrics in exchange for an agreement by the state to provide funding that corresponds in some way to the actual costs of education.

And, in lieu of a video, the most predictable media embed in ProfHacker history:

Heaven Is Whenever is out on May 4th in the US. (And The Hold Steady’s in New Haven on April 3rd!)

Image by Flickr user andypowe11 / Creative Commons licensed

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