Faculty Stories – Austin BuschÂ offersÂ a taste ofÂ academic rigor springing from the faith of and beingÂ shared by an Associate Professor of Early World LiteratureÂ at SUNY Brockport, even when looking at the Bible. To God be the glory!
I grew up not only reading edited “classics” such as the Great American Novel, i.e., The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Tom Sawyer’s Comrade (1885), and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), but also watching TV/Movie versions of these books.Â But what do they teach?Â How are they received across our wider society?Â What do followers of Christ bring which is unique to this conversation?
Note: Before making any comments, please read Send Huck Finn to College (Lorrie Moore. NY Times Op-Ed. 1/15/2011).
What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? Anything special with some time off or is there too much going on with the holiday?
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 youâ€™d like us to consider for the top five, add them in the comments or send them to Tom or Mike.
1. Expanding Your Reach: Want to spread your ideas beyond the sound of your voice? The higher ed website ProfHacker.com shares some tips and tricks for effective “lecturecasting.” Here’s a sample, on the importance of having a script:
If you are going formal, make sure you have a script.Â Even if you arenâ€™t going formal, its always good to have some talking points.Â If you are going to record your talking head (as opposed to talking over some slides or video material), put the script at eye level somewhere.Â There is nothing worse than having to look down at a sheet of paper to figure out what you need to talk about next.Â I put my script up on one of my other monitors (which Iâ€™ve got positioned just behind my laptop â€“ the machine on which I do the actual recording).Â This way, I can scroll through the script without looking away at all.
2. Keeping Up with Journals: Another practical article from ProfHacker.com, offering a number of ways that you can keep up with the latest journals in your specialty, whether online or in print.
3. Academic Bait and Switch: The pseudonymous “Henry Adams” has been writing in the Chronicle about his experiences as a English PhD candidate at “Elite National University.” His title – Academic Bait and Switch – refers both to his students’ expectations of attending an “elite” institution with world-renowned faculty, only to be taught in reality by graduate students just a few years older than themselves, and also to his own expectations of graduate school running aground with reality. In this installment, Adams describes a recent lecture series given to the grad students by the tenure-track faculty. He learns much more than intended about the “real world” of academia. In the selection below, one of the faculty, “Dr. Ethos,” has just recommended a seemingly impossible rate of work.
When she implied that a human being could grade six essays an hourâ€”and do a good job of itâ€”Dr. Ethos was lying. Even a novice knew that. I also knew that performing as a grad student meant not challenging my superiors, but I gave in to the desire that Edgar Allan Poe labels the imp of the perverse, the urge to do something just because I shouldn’t. I raised my hand and said politely, “It’s good to know that I need to grade six papers per hour, but right now I can handle only four. Could you and the other professors give us tips on how you reach the six-per-hour rate?”
Dr. Ethos stared in my general direction without making eye contact. Silence. I looked around the room. Dr. Dreedle and Dr. Cathcart, the only tenured persons in the room, glared right at me, but the junior professors all stared at the tops of their desks, just like my freshmen did when they couldn’t answer a question.
4.Billy Graham, Evangelist to…TED? I (Mike) had no idea that Billy Graham spoke at TED in 1998. (HT: Don’t Eat the Fruit.) His topic, before this cutting-edge crowd of tech prophets and design gurus: Technology and Faith. As John Dyer summarizes,
His basic message is simple: technology brings amazing benefits to humanity, but itâ€™s failure to alleviateÂ the brokenness of the human heart ultimately point us to our need for a Savior.
5. Article about Wheaton Canceled by Books & Culture: Andrew Chignell’s article, exploring the present condition and possible future for Wheaton College, was almost published by Books & Culture (Inside Higher Ed), but was pulled at the last minute. Instead, it has been published by the SoMA Review. Chignell, an associate professor of philosophy at Cornell and a Wheaton alumnus, provides his side of the back story on his website, WhitherWheaton.org. (Note: the comments on the IHE article say much about the current state of academia; Jerry Pattengale, Douglas Groothius, Louis Gallien, and others of note weigh in.)