This week’s Week in Review includes possible ways to address the shortfall of America’s schools, to keep pace with textbook technology, to enjoy the outdoors through reading, and more! If you’d like to contribute to next week’s Review, add your link(s) in the comments, or send them to Tom or Mike directly.
Five Ways to Fix America’s Schools (Harold O. Levy, NY Times Op-Ed, 06/08/2009): Any comments and/or recommendations?
The biggest improvement we can make in higher education is to produce more qualified applicants. Half of the freshmen at community colleges and a third of freshmen at four-year colleges matriculate with academic skills in at least one subject too weak to allow them to do college work. Unsurprisingly, the average college graduation rates even at four-year institutions are less than 60 percent.
6 Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks (Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, 06/12/2009): What do you think about going all e-textbook? Personally, I must confess a preference to taking notes in/on printed books. Not to mention the concerns of programming, navigating, battery life, etc.
Northwest Missouri State University nearly became the first public university to deliver all of its textbooks electronically. Last year the institution’s tech-happy president, Dean L. Hubbard, bought a Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reading device, and liked it so much that he wanted to give every incoming student one. The university already runs an unusual textbook-rental program that buys thousands of printed books for students who pay a flat, per-credit fee. Mr. Hubbard saw in the gadget a way to drastically cut the rental program’s annual $800,000 price tag, since e-books generally cost half the price of printed textbooks. …
Reading Dickens Four Ways: How ‘Little Dorrit’ fares in multiple text formats (Ann Kirschner, Chronicle of Higher Education, 06/12/09): A number of friends have recently told me that audio book in some format is the only way they have time to continue reading. Do you have a favorite format for non-traditional book formats? Do you think certain forms are better for different types of literature? I must confess that I’m still in favor of the printed version whenever possible, but maybe I should be playing audio books around the clock. Note: At present I listen to Mars Hill Audio when washing the dishes. But maybe instead of adding Mars Hill Audio‘s On Books and Reading to my list, I should pick-up an audio book.
Universities Are Corporatized Because They Are Secularized ($) – John Sommerville, the primary speaker at this month’s Midwest Faculty Conference, writes in the Chronicle that the drift toward corporate culture in academia is due to its exclusion of religious ideas and values from the university:
It is a commonplace that market ideology is undermining other values in the American university. Secularist universities are powerless against corporate values because they are professionally embarrassed at considering ultimate perspectives. Ultimate concerns inevitably evoke ideas associated with religion or religious philosophies. To put it another way, all discussions of values quickly involve one’s ultimate values, and that, by definition, is the area not of philosophy but of religion.
The essay is worth reading, but it’s largely a summary and slight update of his 2006 book, The Decline of the Secular University.
From the Community
Your Mind Matters 1: Mindless Christianity kicked off the ESN Book Club by exploring the forewords and Chapter 1 of John Stott’s Your Mind Matters. On Tuesday, we’ll dig into Why Use Our Minds? (Chapter 2).