Week in Review: Why Can’t We Be Friends? Edition

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. In the last Week in Review we kicked off with highlighting Seth Godin’s take on the coming melt-down in higher education. Since then, the Chronicle of Higher Education thought Godin’s piece was worth posting. That action, along with the material from the article, has created conversation worth consideration, visit here. I [Tom] think it is helpful to note that the meltdown is “as seen by a marketer” and the “facts” are told the way a marketer tells the “facts.” Bigger questions: What is the End of Education? How are followers of Christ salt and light in higher education, even advocating, developing, and maintaining structures (not just in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities) which truly educate to the glory of God, making the small list of redemptive outliers instead of the mass of marketers selling their wares?

2. A School Pushing Back Against Facebook (Mark Bauerlein, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/2010) brings to mind the question of How should educators interact with Social Media and teach students to handle Social Media? I [Tom] think that phenomena such as Soical Media, e.g., Facebook and Twitter, are too much of a larger cultural issue for educators to address alone. Educators should be finding ways to dialogue with children, parents, community leaders, and Social Media advocates/leaders to wisely discern it’s proper place, use, parameters. Those in the nonprofit and ministry sector have much to offer. Note: Jon Boyd has an excellent handout on Mistakes You Can Avoid on Facebook and Twitter for people in the nonprofit and ministry sector.

3. “Why Did You Come to Graduate School?” Henry Adams’ series, Academic Bait-and-Switch continues in the Chronicle, with some good thoughts about why to go to grad school in the humanities.

On the day that Dr. Jason asked why I had come to graduate school, however, I could hardly reply, “My toolbox is empty,” or “I’m still single,” or “I want to avoid adulthood,” so I said simply, “I like to read.”

Dr. Jason frowned: “You may have come here for the wrong reason.”

4. How does technology affect kid’s friendships?

To date, much of the concern over all this use of technology has been focused on the implications for kids’ intellectual development. Worry about the social repercussions has centered on the darker side of online interactions, like cyber-bullying or texting sexually explicit messages. But psychologists and other experts are starting to take a look at a less-sensational but potentially more profound phenomenon: whether technology may be changing the very nature of kids’ friendships.

(HT: Julie)

5. Do Christian colleges offer lower stress? That’s one suggestion of a recent CCCU study by Gary Railsback, dean of Point Loma Nazarene U’s School of Education. The study surveyed at 2,573 faculty at 38 CCCU schools.

Only 15 percent of tenure-track faculty members reported “extensive” stress (16 percent for women, 14 percent for men). And 41 percent reported that they were stressed “not at all” (38 percent for women, and 42 percent for men). For faculty members elsewhere, the share reporting extensive stress is about twice what it is at the Christian colleges.

The study also found significant gaps between the tenure status of women and men. Further, out of the 2,573 faculty surveyed, 92% were white. For comparison, the most recent Chronicle of Higher Ed Almanac reported that 76% of full time faculty at all institutions were white. (Nationally, 75% of the US population is white, though that drops to 65% if you only count non-Hispanics.)

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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