What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? As usual, hereâ€™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. “Look at your grades. Now look at mine.” The Old Spice Man has gone from a series of hilarious television commercials to a full-fledged Internet meme. BYU, however, decided to parody the absurd body wash marketing campaign by marketing…libraries.
If you’re not sick and tired of him, be sure to weigh in on Culture Making’s Five Questions about Old Spice Man.
2. Bias against White Christians at Elite Universities? Ross Douthat, writing in the NY Times, thinks there is.
The most underrepresented groups on elite campuses often arenâ€™t racial minorities; theyâ€™re working-class whites (and white Christians in particular) from conservative states and regions. Inevitably, the same underrepresentation persists in the elite professional ranks these campuses feed into: in law and philanthropy, finance and academia, the media and the arts.
In a letter to the editor, Miami University education professor Julie Park thinks Douthat might be
confound[ing] two issues: the underrepresentation of low-income white students in elite universities and the low number of white Christian students at these same institutions. This association is puzzling considering that evangelical Christianity is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in elite institutions (see â€œThe Holy and the Ivy,â€ published in Christianity Today in 2005).
On her personal blog, Julie goes into much more detail about factors that affect college admissions for lower-income white students and trends among evangelical Christians at elite universities.
3.Â Confessions of a (Sometimes) Helicopter Parent (Patti K. See. Inside Higher Ed. 07/16/2010).Â How are you maturing?Â If you are in a classroom situation as a TA/lab aid, lecturer, professor, etc., how do you interact with students and/or their parents?Â If you are a member of the faculty/administration, married and with children, how are you raising your children?Â How do you understand responsibility, maturation, being a ‘lifeline’ to your children.Â As I [Tom] read the article, I wondered what college prep and adulthood means in our culture today. Reminds me how I graduated last century in the midst of a shift in not only in the lines of communication (yes, I was 1 phone call a month right before the coming of high usage of the email and cell phones), but also those of adulthood (which had previously been pushed back, unless one happens to be raised in contexts which demand early adulthood, e.g., youth caring for families, youth forced to make it on their own early in life, Amish entering/leaving Rumspringa).
At a recent meeting our provost told a story about receiving a midmorning call from a mother asking if her son was in class.
â€œI always give my son a wakeup call,â€ the mother explained, â€œbut heâ€™s not answering.â€ Our provost â€” a dean at the time of this experience â€” told this concerned mother she cannot inform parents if their adult students are in class.
â€œStudent?â€ the mother exclaimed. â€œNo, heâ€™s teaching the class.â€
My colleagues and I groaned. This story could be part of â€œhelicopter parentâ€ legend.