Week in Review: How Well Do We Communicate?

What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? As usual, here’s a few which have been on our mind. Let us know your thoughts on any/all of them. If you have items you’d like us to consider for the top five, add them in the comments or send them to Tom or Mike.

1.  What is conversation like in your department? Do you have ‘unruly’ colleagues and not know how to respond (or wonder what to suggest when you have the opportunity), then check out To Rein In Unruly Faculty Members, Chairs Suggest a Department ‘Covenant’ (Sophia Li. Chronicle of Higher Education. 6/30/2010.) and the Sample Code of Conduct (From Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies: Beliefs at Washington State University).  Comment from Tom:  Also, don’t forget to prayerfully seek to live Christ-like lives which overflow with the fruit of the Spirit, courage/boldness of Daniel and friends (who are an amazing example of salt and light), and humility (Note: In this context, Matthew 7:1-5 first came to mind).

2.  Review of Harvard Scholar’s Arrest Cites Failure to Communicate (Kelly Truong. Chronicle of Higher Education. 6/30/2010.) brings to mind the public image of the interaction between African Americans (not to mention cutting edge African American academics such as Henry Louis Gates Jr., a professor of Black Studies at Harvard University) and white policemen?  What does it mean to have our ideas heard through words and actions?  How do those with power in different contexts address fear and cross cultures/cultural understandings when interacting in the gritty moments of real life?  Who in the end had more power … the one who knows the President of the United States?

In many instances, the new report reads like a therapy manual, calling the case a “textbook example” of a police officer and community member failing to cooperate “toward the common goal of a positive encounter.” The review committee suggests that the event escalated when the two men, who both later said they were afraid at the time, were unable to articulate their positions. — Kelly Truong. Review of Harvard Scholar’s Arrest Cites Failure to Communicate. Chronicle of Higher Education. 6/30/2010.

3.  The End of Discovery? Are We Approaching the Boundaries of the Knowable? What does Russell Stannard, an emeritus professor of physics at the Open University, really have to say?  Are we approaching the time when we can explain all the elemental aspects of the creation?  Comment from Tom:  Haven’t we heard this before and then had a scientific revolution (or 2)?  Please let me know if you’ve read (or are reading) this book and can let me know if it’s worth picking up.  I came across it via Chronicle of Higher Education Perculator’s article We Already Know Everything (6/30/2010).  Brought to mind that short titles (The End of Discovery?) are designed to sell books, even academic books (at times).  Good subtitles (Are We Approaching the Boundaries of the Knowable?) can help fill out the picture.  I’ll ask some participants at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation:  Science, Faith, & Public Policy what they think on the topic.

4. ProfHacker: 5 Application I Simply Can’t Live Without – Ethan Watrall, an assistant prof of history and telecommunication/information studies/media at Michigan State, shares some software that he uses constantly in his academic work. There are some great suggestions here, both in the post and in the comments. Comment #36 is especially great. :)

Books

5. What Are Universities For?In this month’s Books & Culture, Jerry Pattengale reviews a new book of essays, Debating Moral Education: Rethinking the Role of the Modern University. The book engages Stanley Fish’s arguments against moral education as a function of universities (as we’ve previously covered), including an exchange between another Stanley – Hauerwas – and Fish on this point. It sounds like a book to add to our ESN reading list. Unfortunately, the BC review is behind a paywall, but why not use your ESN membership for a discount subscription to B&C?

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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