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We’re All Educators Here

March 20, 2015

Presentation given on March 13, 2015 at the Northeastern and Northwestern Illinois Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers workshop, “Building Relationships for Student Success” held at the picturesque Wheaton College.

The theme of the presentation focused on recognizing the way(s) Student Services Personnel serve as educators. It also problematized the use of war and medical discourse e.g., front line, triage, and metaphors when discussing the work of student affairs professionals.

And Muppets. Always Muppets.

on Diversity in Philosophy: a #philosophy12 dialog

October 1, 2014

Mr. Jackson (leader, comrade, and dear friend) and teacher of an open, online high school philosophy course in BC, brought back to the forefront of a long-term, over-arching conversation in #philosophy12 the presence-absence of non-Western, Female, Other perspectives and scholarship in the field of Philosophy.

From the #philosophy12 course blog Bryan wrote: Diversity in Philosophy:  It is my hope that in our current semester of philosophical inquiry, we move beyond this inclination toward ‘tokenism,’ and delve into different traditions of knowing beyond those dominant here on the western shores of North America. I am curious though:

  • How have others confronted this problem of modern philosophy?
  • Are there in-born limitations in trying to comprehend cultural norms too far outside of our own?
  • What attitudes, approaches or processes might help challenge us to move beyond our own cultural perspectives?

Me: The follow-up questions here are great Bryan, so I’ll bite. Yesterday I googled “Why teach philosophy?” and ran into a piece in the Atlantic: “Why Study Philosophy? ‘To Challenge Your Own Point of View'” An interview with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex

[In the interview she is asked: What changes in philosophy curriculum have you seen over the last 40 years?]

“One thing that’s changed tremendously is the presence of women and the change in focus because of that.” (RNG)

further investigation lead me to a podcast with this modern, female philosopher discussing the her book and so on.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein — philosopher, author, and Genius-grant recipient — returns to the Rationally Speaking podcast to discuss her latest book, “Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away.” Rebecca, Julia and Massimo argue over the value of philosophy in modern science, and whether it makes sense to designate “experts” in ethical reasoning.

Finally, because I haven’t read the book, but now I’m really curious, I searched out a book review of her book. In April, the Washington Post reviewed the book summing it up with:

“In “Plato at the Googleplex,” Rebecca Newberger Goldstein set out to showcase, in sometimes startling ways, the continuing relevance of a classic philosopher. But what’s remarkable is that she actually brings off this tour de force with both madcap brilliance and commanding authority.”

I realize my reply is not philosophizing on the next-level questions Bryan posed. Instead it responds.

“How have others confronted this problem of modern philosophy?”

I dig in.

I find a new-to-me voice, an alternate choice, and then I keep learning–listening, reading, contemplation.

I act.

Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery. Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, 1934)

a handwritten, obscured mind alight and Bunnymen

September 29, 2014

At times, the best way to share how I feel when I think about feeling is to show a product of that. This art evidences my most tender feelings working to be born, recognized, and acknowledged. Once my feelings are born into words, I attempt to make sense of them through contemplation and liberation–I write them down and mail them to a friend.


wax trax

first day note from @aacu #dlss14

March 28, 2014

If I had the internet at my place, I’d totally blog about funking Student Success to include a heightened focus on “nearbies.” For example, what if we created a Learning Community of folks who have more than completed their requirements at the college, but don’t leave. What if we gave them resources to depart?  What would that look like? WWWWH?

Yep, I’d blog about that.

The Oakton Community College paper on “nearbies.”

A Seven Year Itch

March 20, 2014

(Subtitled my on-going, everlasting, #dissertationwoes #year7)

Google Search: “dissertation bootcamp Chicago”
Did not find any local opportunities for non-enrolled students.
Did find a business put together by @DrWCarter

Lots of good resources for the dissertating graduate student including a piece listing six tips geared toward completion. My favorite is:

Focus on one chapter at a time. You don’t need to write in a linear fashion. Start with the chapter that you know you can complete. If you have the choice between a chapter that is 40% complete and one that is 75% complete focus on the one that is nearest to completion. 

Mind at least on the side-lines, plus a great conversation with a fellow PhD-seeking colleague, I concocted a very GNA-centric strategy to get me making small moves toward completion everyday.

It is a personal, dissertation-completion-related challenge related to the investment I make into Twitter.

How about if each day I totaled the number of Tweets I post x 140 characters then devoted at least that much on my dissertation?

For example, yesterday I tweeted eight times (8 x 140 = 1,120 characters). According to a variety of reliable sources such as Yahoo! Answers, 1,000 characters is approximately 250 words which is approximately one page. Therefore, I could challenge myself to write at least a page and a half of new content.

Alternatively, because much of what I have left is editing, formatting, etc. perhaps a time commitment would be better? For example, every 1,000 characters would equate to one hour of time and round-up to the nearest 250 (15 minutes)? Therefore, using yesterday’s data, I could challenge myself to spend one hour and 15 minutes tending to my dissertation.

Maybe if you are active on Twitter or another form of social media, you could devise a similar strategy. What do you think?

And, because the dissertation is always MESEARCH

I’m curious as to how this type of activity could impact my relationship with both tweeting and the friends with whom I communicate via Twitter. Also considering the reverse impact, that of associating tweeting with my dissertation as a character (aka La Libertad) and with working on it as a daily practice.

What do you think about that? Or any of this? And everything else?

Curiously yours,


p.s. It’s all champagne and potato chips, right?

Followers say wha… #twitter

March 7, 2014

Dear People using Twitter that follow me because I’m friends with people you follow on Twitter,

No harm, no foul. By my regard, friends are different than followers, connections, and “likes”.

Primarily, Twitter serves as a group text messaging scenario for me, with my friends (the majority of whom are educators in some way, shape, or other). After that it’s an archrival space–for stuff I dig and think other folks might dig too.

If I don’t know you, then you’re lurking, as we humans do. Then, if you’re lurking, it’s most important to me that you feel invited. You are invited.

Heyya. Anytime you wanna be in the mix. Do it. Social Media provides space for anon as much as it does for being person-to-person, around the world social. Not just a catchy name, social media.

Jump in. I’ll either catch you or hand you off to someone better equipt.

It’s all about tuning up. Like a radio, right? We help each other dial into the most interesting, enjoyable, enlivening channel(s).



“How Old Are You?”

October 6, 2013

Every moment I’m in public, I’m subject to the Public imaging I’m 20-something.

Telling my life gets tiresome. Proving my experience via my autobiography and resumé in response to relentless questioning… Telling stories always gets to them saying, “How old are you?”

When I tell my age I’m met with incredulity.

Am I ridiculous to be bored, annoyed, tired by this response?

Societal perceptions of age and the life course(s) associated with age are, in 2013, ignorant.

Here, in Chicagoland, a social ecology that’s crazy conventional, it’s oppressive.

(Some would be flattered by the same type of misperception. I’m not.)

Defending ones life experience in contrast to ones physicality… (What’s that? My good genes? My ethnic mix? My life choices? Or my “child-like” way of being?)

Folks attributing my way of being in the world to a child is offensive, to kids and to me. Misplaced. Unfair.

In just about every social interaction I have, I feel freakish.

Children don’t own energy, playfulness, spark, curiosity, vitality.

As a grown-up who has resided along the margins throughout my entire lifespan, I’m not psychically or otherwise damaged by residing under such scrutiny.

I’m just doing me. Residing on the margins in a whole new way. I’m not the confused one and that’s all that matters.

Turkle (2011, p. 54)

July 18, 2013

The question here is not whether machines can be made to think like people but whether people have always thought like machines.

The human mind even at its most creative and free still resides within boundaries of human cognition and ecological affordances. Therefore, humans, as inventors of all machines, can never have “always thought like machines.”

In Turkle’s presented chicken-egg dilemma, the chicken wins. Always.

[Note: So far, I am enjoying this book. I especially appreciate how the author writes in relation to how children think, grow, and develop over time. She’s respectful and clearly honors the lived experience of kids as her primary source data. As of page 60, I’m still in it.]

To read well is to master the ages

May 30, 2013

teacher1961 FINAL

Inspiration for this piece: Jim Groom’s new DS106Zone design assignment, “Create a READ poster.”

Tool: I used my favorite web-based, free photo editor Pixlr to create the three layers for the poster.

The screen shot in my READ poster is from “The Changing of the Guard,” one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. If you’re an educator, and have not yet seen it, grab a gallon of Kleenex and dial it up. I’m a know sentimentalist and a lover (not a fighter), but I hope everyone might find some inspiration in the story of the suicidal aging Professor Fowler and the generations of students whose lives he touched.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. (Benjamin Franklin)

Seussified Art and Politicized Sneetches

May 29, 2013

Then they yelled at the darken ones who had badges at the start, “We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the liability. But now, how in the world will we know”, they all frowned, “If which badge is what, or the other way round?”

Ever inspired and more than ever distracted, Wednesday finds me trawling the DS106 Assignment Bank for a writing assignment–something to gnaw on throughout the day. I find that part of the way I stay creatively active throughout my work day is by having something open that I’m reading, writing, or thinking about. Today I selected to explore the “Three Word Wednesday” site submitted as a DS106 assignment of the same name by my sister-friend Giulia Forsythe.

Today’s words are: badge, darken, and liability

To make the assignment more challenging, I remixed it. Remixing a DS106 assignment is always fun for me because you never know what you’re gonna get. This time the remix was a “Dr. Seuss it” which calls on the artist to transform their piece into something with recognizable Seussical properties.

I elected to find the story about star-bellied Sneetches and found the full-text online. The star-bellied Sneetches are prominent character’s in The Sneetches and Other Stories, a collection of stories by American author Dr. Seuss, published in 1961.”

The original text:

Then they yelled at the ones who had stars at the start, “We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the worst. But now, how in the world will we know”, they all frowned, “If which kind is what, or the other way round?”

I then replaced a few key words in the text with today’s Three Word Wednesday words. I knew this would prove an easy task because I elected the story after seeing today’s three words. The words badges, darken, and liability lend themselves to a story of prejudice.

Dr. Seuss’ story provides a simple, child-friendly critique of dehumanizing sorting practices. The message of this story is clear and continues to be salient in too many community and institutional spaces. Doing some quick research I found a few resources for those who teach, and parents of the little dudes.

Civil and Human Rights Themes in Dr. Seuss’ [The Sneetches] and [Yertle the Turtle] – C-SPAN Video Library via @cspanvl

Example Lesson Plan

You can teach a Sneetch from Peacework.