Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Fragments

- This piece in yesterday's IHE about an abortive discussion of price caps for vocational programs made me smile. Apparently, the idea is to cap tuition for Title IV-eligible programs (vocational programs) at a set multiple of the starting salaries of recent grads. It's a horrible idea -- hiring and salaries have far more to do with the economy than with any given program -- but for a fun thought experiment, imagine applying something like it to graduate programs in evergreen disciplines. Cap the funding for graduate programs at some multiple of their recent grads' starting salaries, if any. If you really want to put the kibosh on the adjunct trend, this might do it. If nothing else, it might force a little more honesty.

- I've been involved in some ridiculous and highly unbloggable campus drama this week. Other than budgets, the most demoralizing part of administration is seeing the petty and awful things colleagues do to each other. By dint of my office, I'm not allowed to look away. It's not pretty. There's a reason so many super-villains have graduate degrees.

- Actual quote from a meeting this week: "Plain vanilla is our bread and butter." I'm not sure how that would work.

- You know you've reached a certain age when you consider 'cleaning the basement' a good way to spend a snow day. It's one of those tasks that has to be done, but that never quite seems urgent enough to displace something planned. But a snow day is 'found' time, and the kids were preoccupied with the snow, so I got the chance. When your main job involves so much indirect and vicarious effort, there's something gratifying in accomplishing a tangible task single-handedly.

- We had a conference this week with TB's teacher. He continues to rock the third grade. Sadly, we can't say the same for his school pictures. Why do school pictures always suck?

- TB has joined the local youth basketball group, which has twice-weekly practices and weekly games. He has a great coach, who understands the difference between trying to win a particular game and trying to learn the game itself. So far his team is 0-and-nevermind, but it actually runs plays. If any of them could actually shoot, they'd be unstoppable. Sadly, TB has his father's reflexes to go with the height. Poor kid. If I were him, I'd demand some sort of genetic refund.

- Genetic Refund would be a great name for a band.

- Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce. Thus sayeth Springsteen: "Like many of you who live in New Jersey, I've been following the progress of the marriage-equality legislation currently being considered in Trenton. I've long believed in and have always spoken out for the rights of same sex couples and fully agree with Governor Corzine when he writes that, "The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is -- a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law." I couldn't agree more with that statement and urge those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now." The Boss has spoken.