Monday, June 30, 2008

ALA Report: Nerdy Goodness

Hey all, a quick morning update while I laze about until my 10:30am program. (I have taken copious notes on paper, because I'm not awesome enough to pay for the interwebs everywhere I go, and will post those when I get home and organize some more brilliantly constructed posts.)

Friday - Friday I attended the Business Reference 101 preconference put on by RUSA's BRASS, and it was great. I met some fun people (shout-out to Patrick from UNLV) and received some really fantastic bibliographies. As the liaison to our econ department, a lot of the material was also useful for me in that vein. It was very very basic, though, so if you're a starting-out business librarian, you probably already know everything that's covered. Would have been good for supernew fresh out of MLS librarians. Final thoughts: Not recommended (it was an expensive preconference), but could be useful if you're brand spanking new.

Friday night - I attended the LITA Happy Hour at the Menage Hotel (which was a heck of a walk from my hotel), and had a beyond wonderful time. I got to meet a whole mess of Twitpeeps (I already knew Griffey, but I met awd, PigsinSpace, and a whole mess of others who definitely helped dispel my feeling of new-kid-on-the-kickball-field). It was great, I made some personal connections, and I've been seeing these folks peppered throughout the conference, which has been fun. (Always nice to recognize faces in a throng of 20,000). Friday night I also met Laura and Courtney, who I will be presenting with at Internet Librarian - we're in the same hotel, so I popped over for some sleepover-like conversation. Also on Friday I met my conference roomie #1, Amanda, who was beyond awesome. She's spunky, involved, and energetic - just the way I like my librarypeeps! (She also has a talent for hunting down excellent sushi in the unlikeliest places!)

Saturday - I spent Saturday morning in my RUSA-RSS-User Education & Info Literacy committee meeting with Paul Victor from Florida and a bunch of other very energetic folks. We actually - *gasp* - got things accomplished and planned. Forgive me - this is anathema to almost everything I know about committees. We've got a research agenda, plans for presentations, and even a planned article. W00t! I did not make it to my CODES materials reviewing committee, but I'm hoping they won't hate me too much, since I'm a virtual member. Also on Saturday I lunched with Sara from Arizona (who works with my copresenter Laura), and we discussed poetry and our love of dessert, among many other things before my poster sessions for the "Learning Virtually" program. My very first poster session, and it went great! Mental note: next time, bring handouts, and don't forget your business cards back in Tennessee!!!

Saturday night I met up with about 19 twitpeeps for dinner. After changing clothes in the parking garage with Jezmynne (because we are wild and crazy like that), we clomped to (eventually) Bubba Gump's, which was not awful, and where the wait staff was hysterical. We ended up at another bar where the Facebook shindig was supposed to happen, but that never really got rocking. I went home early on blisterified feet, and my stuff is still in Jez's car or with Cindi - mental note to check on that today.

Sunday - Sunday was supposed to be a completely full day for me, but it didn't end up that way. I made it to the "Energizing Your Instruction" program and it was already full, so I received a bibliography (though later I was told by multiple people that it wasn't particularly useful to them, so I feel less bad about missing it). I was supposed to do Bites with LIRT from 12:30 to 1:30pm and then the Tech on the Front Lines program at 1:30 in the Disneyland Hotel. I hate being late, so I skipped lunch and headed to Disney - a good thing, since it took me about 40 minutes to walk over there with Julian. I snagged a caesar salad from the minicafe in the hotel and THAT program was really fantastic - it covered a 2.0 initiative in a public library system (which wasn't terribly new or informative), a "roving tech monitor" program which sounds like a great idea for larger libraries with a student staff, Courtney Greene from DePaul in Chicago presented on how her library dealt with the loss of autonomous IT staff and being folded into university IT, and Joe from NCSU gave some really great details on the beautiful info commons and digital signage there. Another lovely librarian pointed out the shuttle back to the convention center, so I gave my feet a rest and did that instead of walking.

After that, I headed to the Hyatt to wait for the OCLC blogging salon - I sketched out a research agenda as well as the bare bones of a brief article (sans the research, of course). The blogging salon was fantastic - it was full, there was an open bar, I got to chat up the new media editor at Library Journal (shout out to Raya and her LJ fellow Norman Oder), and my Twitpeople arrived and we spent a goodly amount of time chatting up LJ about Twitter. My roomie Amanda made it, I met Twitpeeps HiddenPeanuts and some others, and generally enjoyed the frantically social time. Amanda and I decided to do dinner on the way home, and buzzed out of Ruth's Chris steakhouse after I choked when they brought us the menu (because I'm tacky like that, and will totally leave if I can't afford dinner). Just as well, since Amanda found us a great sushi place just where the neighborhood turns shady, and we talked about everything under the sun on our way back to pajamas and sushi time.

That brings us up to today. Again, the remainder of my schedule is here if you want to find me, but you can also text me. (No, I'm not on Twitter while ALA-ing, because I can't even consider getting forty bazillion tweets.) Today all of my programs are in the Disney Hotels, which are in the ass end of nowhere as a walker, so I'll be using the bus quite a bit today.

My new roomie also arrives today (I am very sad to be losing Amanda. *sob*), so I'll get to meet Sai. Right now, I'm off to shower and snag some free breakfast before figuring out how to get my booty over to Disney with the least effort possible. My blisters have blisters, though my feet are slowly forgiving me as long as I stick to Danskos. Another mental note made.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Initial Report from Anaheim

Plane got in over an hour late, so it was 10:34pm (Pacific) before I even got onto my shuttle. *yawn* The poor guy next to me on the plane was concerned about my fidgetyness - so was I, since sitting on planes all day had me feeling like I was going to birth a full grown alien from my lower back. Hotel is fine, but my roomie's flight was cancelled, so she won't be in until tomorrow. I was pleasantly surprised to find a fridge in the room (because I drink about 6 bottles of water a day, and imagine this won't change much in the Anaheim heat). I just traipsed over to the gas station and paid $12.43 for a 24-pack of Dasani bottled water. (And that only because the Aquafina 24-pack was going to set me back - I shit you not - $30). Good lord. Guess who has two thumbs and will be taking advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel daily? You can't see it, but I'm pointing to myself. Vehemently.

On the bright side, I'm here, my luggage was not lost, and as the first roomie to arrive, I can set the AC as cold as I want it (which is frigid). I am unpacked, cooling down slowly but surely, and I may now be broke, but I'm hydrated. A little bitter that I left my perfectly good banana in the shuttle, but maybe I'll find some at breakfast tomorrow before the Business Librarianship 101 preconference.

Ah, sidenote. Given the humidity, my failure to remember to pack my gray slacks is going to be a PITA, because there is no way I'm going to be able to traipse around in this heat/humidity in the skirt I had planned for my poster session and my thighs not cause me to spontaneously combust. So if you see someone looking slightly casual for that bit, it's moi.

If you didn't see it the first time, my ALA schedule is here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Internet Librarian 2008 FTW!

Squee! (That is my 'excited' sound for the internet world.) I just got a confirmation email that another proposal got picked up for Internet Librarian 2008. My Twitterpal Rudy and I have been confirmed on the Learning Track about reaching underskilled users (which jives nicely with the book chapter I just put together on the continued presence of the digital divide).

The details, for those who are planning on Internet Librarian-ing in Monterey:

Tuesday, October 21

11:30 – 12:15 RoomC202

2.0 Learning & 1.8 Users: Bridging the Gap

Rudy Leon, Instruction & Collection Development Librarian, SUNY Potsdam

Colleen Harris, Reference and Instruction Librarian, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

For many instruction librarians, the challenge of Library 2.0 isn’t the technology, it's the users. Despite the extreme 2.0 savvy attributed to the Millennials in the buzz that dominated early 2.0 reports, the media is finally catching up to what many instruction librarians have known all along: The Google Generation may need some help moving from passive consumer to active participant in the read/write web. Join two academic library instruction librarians for a discussion of challenges in and suggestions for bringing students, professors, librarians, and IT staff onto page 2.0 and why doing so is an important first step in bringing about Library 2.0 services and technologies our communities can embrace.

That write-up is courtesy of Rudy, who put together a lovely proposal. Looks like we'll have to have our presentation in by August 15th-ish for inclusion in the proceedings. Still, nothing like the oogtastic deadlines I've been up against, so that's fine.

And for those of you who have been suffering through my minor meltdown via Twitter, I know, I know I've had too much on my plate. But IL isn't until October, and I'll be re-ready to take over the world by then, I swear. Heck, I'll be re-ready for that come mid-July once I've washed the smoke from ALA from my hair. *grin*

**Whoops! An addition to the original blog post, here. I'll also be in on one of the preconferences for IL08, along with Rudy, Jezmynne, Kenley, Kate, Laura, Cindi, & Courtney! (Sorry, Courtney, my bad for leaving you off the list....I'm a wee bit senile

Update on Plagiarizing Professor at Columbia

Remember Madonna Constantine, the Columbia professor who committed egregious plagiarism who then accused others of plagiarizing her? (You can read my original disgust with her and her manufactured situation here.) Well, it looks like Columbia finally cowboyed up and decided they should terminate her butt, effective December 2008, according to The Columbia Spectator.

About danged time. It's nice to see academia finally getting around to purging one of the undesirables. And by "undesirable" I mean a plagiarizing liar who sullied the name of her profession, her department, and her university before someone finally made the decision to boot her.

Constantine of course has the last resort of filing an appeal, and she'll likely sue for defamation of character or whatever, since that seems to be the thing to do once people publicly announce that you are, indeed, of poor character. Still, nice to see that this one didn't stay under the rug for the rest of time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Plan for ALA in Anaheim

I know you were waiting with bated breath for my schedule. (I know I have been; this is the first time I've gotten to sit down with the schedule and plan for the conference.) Anyway, here is where I will be:

Thursday June 26

Arrive Santa Ana airport 9:05pm, head to Comfort Inn Maingate.

Friday June 27

8:30am - 5:30pm: RUSA/BRASS Business Reference 101. Location: Hyatt Regency Orange County, Royal A/B.

5:30pm - 8:00pm: LITA Happy Hour. Location: Mist Pool Bar at Hotel Menage (1221 S Harbor Blvd). Note: This is a maybe. I am not a LITA member, but a whole lot of very cool peeps are likely to be there that I would like to meet irl.

Saturday June 28

8:00 - 9:00am: RSS Open House. Location: Sheraton Park Hotel.

9:00 - 10:30am: RSS User Education & Info Lit Committee Meeting. Location: Sheraton Park Hotel, Palm ballroom.

11:am - 1:00pm: Free for lunching - will likely check out exhibits

1:30 - 3:30pm: Learning Virtually panel session. Location: Hilton Anaheim Pacific Ballroom D.

4:00 - 5:00pm: Learning Virtually Poster Session. Location: Hilton Anaheim pacific ballroom C. (Note: I've got a poster session here!)

6:00pm - Dinner/drinks with Cindi T. & various other Twitpeeps. Meet up at registration desk. Can you say par-tay? Ahem, I mean, net-working?

Sunday June 29

7:30 - ?: Alexander Street press breakfast. Location: Red Lion Maingate ballroom.

10:30am - 12:00pm: Energize Your Instruction (LIRT). Location: Anaheim Convention Center Room 204C.

12:30pm - ?: Bites with LIRT Lunch. Location: PF Chang's at 321 West Katella in Anaheim GardenWalk.

1:30 - 3:30pm: Providing Tech Service on the Front Lines (RUSA/MARS). Location: Disneyland Hotel, Magic Kingdom 1.

5:30pm - ?: OCLC Blogger's Salon. Location: Hilton Anaheim Palisades room.

7:30pm - ?: 3M/NMRT Social. Location: Hyatt Grand A.

Damn. The Swets reception is 6-8pm here. But am supposed to meet my fellow IL08 preconferencers at blogging salon and I really want to meet the people I've been fencing with on the NMRT listserv.

Monday June 30

10:30am - 12:00pm: You've Been Shopped! Mystery Shopping for better Service. Location: Disneyland Center Hotel Ballroom.

12:30 - 1:30pm: ProQuest lunch & Learn. Location: Anaheim Convention Center, Room 212A.

1:30pm - 3:30: RUSA President's Program: Quality Service in an Impersonal World. Location: Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland North BR.

4:30pm - 5:30: The Healthy Librarian: Cultivating Wellness in the Workplace. Location: Disney's Paradise Pier in Redondo.

5:30 - 7:30pm: Poetry Blast. Location: Anaheim Marriott Salon F. (Tentative - I have no idea what this is, but I do like poetry...)

Rumors of meeting up with twitpeeps for dinner and perhaps some dancings. Oooooh, I smell a par-tay....

Tuesday July 1

8:00am - 12:00pm: Juried Papers, Location: Anaheim Convention Center 208A, 208B, 209A. I'm interested to see what folks are up to.

12:00pm - ?: I think I'll walk the exhibits and see if there's anything left to pick up or see. It'll be an early day for me, since I leave on Wednesday way before the buttcrack of West Coast dawn. Gimme a holler if you're still around and want some companies.

Wednesday July 2

My shuttle comes to fetch me at 3:45am. Um, yeah. Ew.

I may end up adding small things here and there, but this is the meat of it. I'm still trying to figure out what i want to attend to fill in my Monday and Tuesday; suggestions welcome!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Would You Do With $162 Billion Dollars?

What would you do with 162 billion dollars? I know, I'd spend it on more war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, wait, no...

Seriously. Our government throwing money numbers like that around makes me a wee bit sick to my stomach. $162 billion. That's Scrooge McDuck-style money, the sort you can put in a pile and swim in. That is more than a number of countries' Gross Domestic Product for 2007. Headlines like this are slowly turning me into a liberal (which should please my libraryworld colleagues, who consider me a wee bit of a fascist for my conservative notions).

Consider this: every single university that I have read about or spoken to colleagues and Twitter acquaintances about is about to be on an austerity budget, losing money from their legislatures so the government can attempt to keep itself afloat. We are slicing the jobs of education workers and throwing a bajagazillion (which $162B might as well be) at our incompetent mushmouth of a President. *sigh*

If this money were all to go toward equipping our troops in non-craptastic gear and other equipment, I would tell them to sign yesterday, and be fine about it. I will never forget the stories my little (ok, now very large but still younger) brother told me about equipment failure, like how he and his fellow Marines got back to base one night but found that a taillight from their truck had fallen off in the desert, and they had to backtrack without lights to find it. Or how one of their mailtrucks got shredded by shrapnel, so a number of much-needed care packages were incinerated. He doesn't talk about the more bloody things, but I'm quite sure there are any number of soldiers' lives that could have been saved or improved upon with those armored vehicles the government was a wee bit late in sending over.

But I doubt that's the sort of thing the umpbillion dollars will be spent on. No, I expect more contracts to go to Halliburton subsidiaries that allow for the rape of female contractors instead of to equipment to protect our men and women. And I hate that I'm that jaded.

On a brighter note, the fact that the bill got passed means that they're likely to tack on and approve an addendum that allows for increased education benefits for post-9/11 veterans that will afford them tuition equal to the highest-costing in-state public institution plus a housing stipend. Yeah, how generous of the government to finally get around to passing something to help out the men and women who risk life and limb for the wars borne of armchair quarterbacking politicians. It's about fracking time.

Delta Merging with Northwest

In airline news, other than the massive dropping of numerous flights and raising prices ridonkulously, Delta is merging with Northwest. I have to admit that my first (admittedly ungenerous) reaction was, "when you add crap to poop, you still don't get ice cream."

Delta has been the bane of my existence as an airline traveler. I've lived in Long Island, NY, as well as Atlanta, Lexington (KY), and currently Chattanooga, among other places. My family remains in NY, so I fly to see them quite often, and then there's the various professional conference-type things. Not once have I flown Delta that they haven't lost my luggage. Not a single time. (I credit them for my penchant to fly with copious amounts of underwear in my carry-on.)

Not only have they lost my luggage, but the service desk is always quite snotty about it (which horrifies me as someone committed to good customer experience). I had the temerity to ask, given that they had barcode-stickered my luggage, if they could at least let me know the last place my luggage had been zapped. (Sort of a proof-of-life thing, since I saw that documentary on how some airline got caught dumping lost luggage in dumpsters.) I was informed, in a haughty voice, that they didn't actually *use* the barcodes on my luggage - it was there simply so I could match the number stuck on my ticket to the number on my bag.

This offends me. not the snottiness - that's fine. I completely understand having a shitty job where you have to deal with the repercussions of someone else's failures. I used to work retail, I get it. I am, however, offended by the use of BARCODES when you are not actually utilizing the barcode for its intended purpose. Why don't you just use regular old numbers? Is it because using a barcode makes it look like you are actually keeping track of which bag goes onto which plane? Everyone knows that as long as something *looks* official, people will accept it.

So, yeah. That long-ass sticky thing on your luggage? Not really used for anything, including tracking. Unless it gets lost. And then if you haven't retained your ticket jacket, where they stuck the corresponding barcode number, you are out of luck. So, okay, the barcode does do something - it's there as your way to give Delta information in the case that their incompetence results in the loss of your bag. That way when they find it, they can type in the number and figure out it should be with you instead of in Philly. Where you neither came from, arrived, or transferred at.

I don't know if Delta's merging with Northwest is a good or bad thing, though my libraryfolk have little good to say about Northwest, either. I doubt it, since the airlines seem a bastion of inefficiency and error.
I would like to point Delta to A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette, and today's post on being obsessive-compulsive. Not that Delta is at all OCD - they don't seem to mind being heartily disorganized and losing items. But they really should listen to the part that says "excessive incompetence isn't good for anyone." Really, Delta. I mean it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bonus, My Ass

A friend of mine just reported that at my former place of work (MFPOW), President Lee Todd of the University of Kentucky just received a bonus to the tune of over $145,000 due to his highest score ever on his annual evaluation. Todd, in his generosity, will be returning $50,000 back to the university to support various programs. (To Todd's credit, he does give back a portion of his bonus each year.) This leaves him with the measly bonus of $90,000. Which, to put it in perspective, is more than I (and many other professors, not to mention staff) make in two years.

This is the same University of Kentucky that is offering its employees - who generally make less than half of the president's BONUS - no raise, and is slicing 188 positions. This is a University in a state that is just as hard hit as the rest of the country and has sliced its education budget to the bone, because, hey, states like Tennessee and Kentucky can afford to snip at education, right?

I find it reprehensible that universities going through severe budget years still have the gumption to hand out bonuses like this - because, let's face it, this bonus is on top of his actual contract, payments from athletics, and all his private investments, and housing allowance, and car, and blah and blah and blah ad nauseam.

Now, I understand that this is how it works in the upper echelons, and UK is by no means the only university offering a bonus to its president. (In his defense, Todd has been a real powerhouse for UK, and does indeed deserve a competitive package.) But in a time when tuition is rising, employees are being shafted on costs of living and/or losing their jobs, dropping a cool $140k on a single head is. Un. Acceptable. When does the word go out that the fatcats should have to tighten their belts with everyone else?

Yes, I'm rage blogging. those states that can least afford to cut education funds and charge their mostly-rural students nearly 10% more in tuition somehow think that this is ok, because it keeps Todd happy and he won't be going anywhere. But what if universities simply put the kabash on all bonuses until the budget warranted their return? And UK's funding? About 15% now comes from the legislature. For the first time ever, more support is coming from kids who are borrowing money and scraped-from-the-bottom-of-the-barrel family money than the government. How, then, is UK (or any of the other supposedly "public" universities in the country) a "public" institution? Oh, well, 'public' in the sense that legislators still want their free basketball tickets and to be able to hold the school over a barrel at budget time, not so much 'public' as in 'publicly funded.'

Oh, I'm sure president Todd feels your pain if you're losing your job. Or if your pay is frozen. Or if you'll have to do triple the work because those three open positions in your department just got frozen (at less pay, given no raise and rising costs of living). But I bet rolling around in his bonus money will make him feel better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cliff, Leave Your Notes at Home

That's right, hotmenz. I do not cavort with folks who do CliffsNotes. Ever. I may be single, but I do have *some* standards.

On Evolution and Academia

This post is going to sound a little bit harsh, and I apologize in advance. I promise I'm not trying to offend anyone.

If you believe in evolution (I happen to, and think it can coexist with a belief in whatever Higher Being you wish), aren't you disturbed by the way humans are going? We're letting folks with serious genetically passed on diseases live longer (consuming resources) and procreate (propagating said diseases).

What does this have to do with academia or academic librarianship, you say? I'm glad you brought that up. I've mentioned in another post that telling students in K-12 that they are each a very special little snowflake who deserves the best and should never get disappointed is a crock of poo. What I'd also like to mention is that tagging kids via GPS to reduce truancy rates may be missing the point a little bit. The point being that some little monsters should not be in school. (As someone who taught at a high school for half a year, and attended a rather horrid high school myself, I feel I'm qualified to say that.) Stuffing overfull classrooms full of delinquents does nothing for our suffering education system. Oh, it maintains school funding, since public school funding is somewhat based on attendance and bodies in seats. But it doesn't help the teachers who spend more time telling Johnny and Katrina to be quiet/sit down/stop doing crack in back corners/quit having sex in the back row/etc (swear to God, those all happened in my high school classrooms, but names changed to protect the guilty - yay class of '97!) than actually teaching the rest of the kids who went to school to learn, and hopefully make it out to something better. School may me mandatory, but forcing everyone to be in class is not necessarily the best approach.

Going back to thoughts of evolution, there are now a number of ailments and disabilities for which education systems allow more time for testing. As it should be - I have no issue with this in the academic context - more power to those who are coming from a not-so-easy spot and making it through. What I do take issue with is the sense of entitlement we've engendered so that these folks also think it's okay to take extra time and/or screw up in real life with no consequences, or to get a free pass for accomplishing less. Take, for example, a good friend of mine. She is a wonderful person, and works wickedly hard, is brilliant and bright. But she's got severe ADHD. And now that she's out of pharmacy school - where she got extra time on her tests and harangued professors into upping certain grades because she "got stressed and just couldn't concentrate," she is now filling prescriptions. Occasionally she fills them wrong, which I know from another friend who works as her tech and has saved her bacon on occasion. I do not love my pharma-pal any less, but I do not ever allow her to fill my scrips. Ever.

At what point do we say, "I'm very sorry, I know you are brilliant, but you are working with a particular handicap that simply does not make you compatible with this kind of work?" Is that mean? I don't intend for it to be - I ask this is earnest.

At the college level, we see two branches of this sort of coddling at the K-12 level - we see the kids who don't want to be in college in the first place, and are going to make damned certain *you* know this is not their idea. Is it our job to force them to learn to love it? How many times does a recalcitrant student have to fail the intro comp class before we recommend that they might prefer to expend their non-effort somewhere else?

The second type we see are the kids who, no matter how much extra help and extra time they get, are simply incapable of performing at the college level. One professor came to me at the end of his rope. "I've given her extra time on exams. I've met with her on a regular basis for tutoring outside of class, and hold extra office hours just for her. I've even modified her exams per the instructions from the Disabilities Office. What else can I do? She is still failing - egregiously!" At what point - if ever - are we to suggest that perhaps the university is not the right place for this particular student? When this professor mentioned something to that effect about this student, whose genuine efforts at no point reached acceptable levels for a college student, he was told that his extra office hours, revised exams, and tutoring were simply not enough, and he would have to do better. Whaaaa?

Okay, let me stop a moment here. I am sure some of you are already composing comments in your head diatribing about how dare I say some people aren't capable, that everyone is capable if we just love them enough, give them enough extra time, and maybe allow a tutor to write some of their papers for them. (I keed, I keed. But not by much.) I am not talking about booting borderline cases, here. I am as familiar with the digital divide and people who are coming from behind in the education game. What I am talking about is the situation where you have someone who is fundamentally incapable of doing college-level work, or is unwilling to do college-level work. Many professors at public universities are already feeling this crunch, hounded by a disabilities office to do whatever it takes to get these students to succeed. I am all about student success. I'm a reference and instruction librarian, for godsake. I consider it my calling to take students and help them over the rough spots, teaching them the tips and tricks it takes to be successful both at their research and at life in general.

Still, I feel the need to ask, Is there ever a time when you have to gently inform someone that they simply cannot succeed if they can't perform at a college level? My argument is YES. There is. There has to be, if we are to retain whatever value the college degree has left. And not only is there no shame in that, there are a whole lot of worthwhile positions out there that not only don't require a college degree, but often pay more. (Ask my dad, who is still pissed I decided not to apprentice myself to a union electrician.)

I am not arguing that we give up on students wholesale here. I *do* think that we need to have progressive stages of help available, we need early warning systems that work in place, we need administrations that understand that shoving an unqualified student through college is no better than those who push illiterate kids through the K-12 system just so they can have a diploma. We need to make sure there's counseling that doesn't say that a college degree is the only way to be successful in life (wouldn't that just depress someone who is busting their tail to get there and simply cannot?) and counseling for the student along the way, so that when he/she leaves college, it's not with a bill for $25,000 or more, no degree in hand, and no idea what to do.

I mean, we can ignore this, too, which is what we've been doing in higher education, with a wink and a nudge from administrators who want their retention rates to look good. We certainly can wait decades to do anything about it. But where will you be filling your prescriptions? How much do you know about your doctors? Or lawyers? Or teachers? And doesn't the very idea of schlepping people through (in *any* field of academia) who aren't qualified horrify you, even a little bit? What about when the doctor performing surgery on your wife/daughter/son/father looks at you in desperation and says, "In class, I had more time!" What is higher ed evolving into when critical thinking becomes the first casualty to the political correctness of "acceptance of all?" And who can I trust to not murder me accidentally with the wrong scrip?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Guardienne Update

Awright, folks. I am back from a week and a half in Louisville for the 'res' part of my low-res MFA program. Funnily (or horribly) enough, I actually missed MPOW. It's a busy summer, with the projects we've got going on (which include developing podcasts, building a plan for our instruction program to break into upper level courses, collection development, etc.), Annual coming up in a few weeks, and the book chapters I need to get written. Factor in all of my June weekends out of town (I just returned from a trip to Lexington to see my best pal), and, well, let's just say I'm really looking forward to July.

Random news from the Guardienne's world: June 3rd was my birthday, and I felt absolutely loved between my Twitterpals' wellwishes and all of the people writing on my Facebook wall. An Internet Librarian 2008 proposal put together by Cindi and involving myriad Twitterpals has actually been picked up as a preconference for Monterey in October, so we'll be getting together virtually after Annual to plan that out, since our original PechaKucha format won't work for a half-day preconference. Over the past week and a half I've written two of the three book chapters I need to get done, and I have two days of research leave this week to deal with the monster chapter that's hanging over my head.

I've got some posts percolating in my head that I plan to get up on here this weekend, pertaining to what we can all learn from the Republican Party's presidential election strategies (no, really, I promise, there's some good stuff) and some thoughts on chasing the gold ring of tenure. I've also been pondering questions of leadership that Rudy brings up here, and may decide to blog my opinions for the world to see (once I double check to make sure they're kosher enough to not lose me my job). Just wanted to let you all know that the blog isn't dead, just on a mini hiatus while I put out some deadline fires. Hopefully I should have something up for you to chew on within the next few days.

On Filters

Parental control Puppy  Monitors your interwebs