be it ever so humble

August 31, 2012

So we own a home now.

I like this.

WF

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this won’t end well

August 24, 2012

The University of Scranton’s administration is attempting to circumvent both the faculty union and the idea of the academic department with its scheme to make department chairs appointed by administration – and non-union.

This is going to be problematic for several reasons. Not only does it weaken a union (we can discuss the relative merits of academic unions at some point), it places governance even further from faculty, in whose hands it should be. It creates yet another class of administrators who may or may not have the necessary experience as a faculty member to truly understand the work of an institution. And finally, it will likely lead to a decrease in tenure-track faculty lines and an increase in contingent faculty, thus threatening academic freedom and the possibility for anyone who isn’t already independently wealthy to make a living as a professor.

It’s all a part of the increasing corporatization of the university. Maximize profits, treat students like consumers instead of students, and create a permanent administrative class with no actual connection to the “product” at hand.

WF


And we’re off

August 23, 2012

I’ve taught one session of every class I will be teaching this semester. So far so good, though getting through the syllabus took longer than I would have liked.

Teaching aural skills for the first time in a *very* long time now. Scared, but excited as well. Good to stretch out and get some experience with what may be the single most important part of the undergraduate theory curriculum. Plus, given the textbook I use for Form and Analysis and what I can see doing with Counterpoint, I may redefine the AS curriculum as an ongoing thing rather than just the four-semester basic undergraduate sequence. Ideally, you never stop using these skills.

(I guess this technically qualifies as Theory Thursday!)

WF


sing alma mater

August 18, 2012

Via a friend comes a thought-provoking piece on the state of American public higher education.

One thing I do notice: The “elite” institutions aren’t subject to this increasing corporatization and destruction. That’s because the “elite” institutions are where the oligarchs send their offspring.

I have “elite” in quotes because in my experience, they primarily exist to perpetuate themselves rather than to actually provide an education. They do provide one, of course, and they are able to do so because they work for the oligarchs, but I would put a *good* public education – like the one I had at Morehead State University – up against any undergraduate education. The primary difference between what I got at MSU and what you get at an elite institution is the circles in which you get to network.

Back to the larger point – the destruction of American public higher education is not a bug, it’s a feature. There’s a segment of the 1% that won’t rest until anyone who isn’t 1% can only take their job training (not education) at a for-profit degree mill while their own children get the best of the best. After all, if you wanted a real education, you should have had the good sense to be to the manner born.

WF


on the edge of the prairie

August 15, 2012

Greetings from My New Office. This will probably be the only time that I actually update the blog from the office, as I try to keep work and blog separate. But, since I was here and classes start in a week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to let everyone know I’m doing well. Jawa Girl and the pets will be up here on September 2, and we’ll all be living in a house that we actually purchased instead of rented.

Gonna be a great year.

WF


new digs

August 12, 2012

I have made it to Morris, MN, home of my new gig. We’re buying a house, but we don’t close for a couple weeks yet, so I’m spending the rest of the month in a local motor lodge. It’s…quaint. Jawa Girl and the pets will be up at the beginning of September, once we’re in the house.

WF


RIP Marvin Hamlisch, 1944 – 2012

August 7, 2012

One of the great American songwriters and composers has left us. Hamlisch gave us A Chorus Line, a Bond theme song I’d rank in the top five, and a Ragtime revival. He had a formidable talent and a deeply melodic sensibility. He will be missed.

WF