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Nov. 8th, 2007

Pagan symbol I made


teaching HUGE classes?

Hi fellow faculty!

I was hoping we could share a few great large lecture class activities for college students. Truth be told, I feel more natural in smaller courses. As for me, here are a few that worked well:

*having students work in small groups to compare and contrast key concepts from recent readings
*having students peer edit essay drafts with a partner
*including at least a film clip, a current event, and a story as well as the normal lecture content

Other thoughts?

EDIT: While it is a perfectly valid opinion that lecture classes should be purely lecture-based, I am just asking for additional activities. Thanks! :D

Oct. 10th, 2007

Ezra Pound's Hieratic Head, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska


"World Literature"

What is it? Or, better yet, what isn't it?

My department (English) has a (relatively new) "World Literature" requirement. This is not surprising. Many departments have such a requirement. But I'm wondering if anyone can help me define what it is, exactly.

It seems (though I could be mistaken) that the impetus is to increase our students' exposure to and understanding of literary works, authors, traditions, etc. beyond our own national borders. (I should point out that I teach in the US.) But as I have seen such courses taught (at more than one institution), there's no clear definition of what "world literature" is.

For starters, how is US literature not part of "world literature"? Can we not see the ways that writers look beyond the literatures of their own nation? Would Thoreau have written what he did without his education in Greek and Latin? Would Whitman be the same without having read the Hindu Vedas? Does Pound do anything of note that doesn't look to antiquity, medieval Europe (British and continental), north Africa, or Asia? Does Ishmael Reed make any sense without some background of Haitian Voodoo? Can we even begin to understand Gerald Vizenor without a familiarity with the Chinese character Sun Wu-Kung (itself an adoption from the Ramayana)? Sure, I may pick very specific examples, but can we really think of the literature of one nation in strict geographical isolation?

I am asking people for what they think because this is a discussion my department is currently having, with really no consensus. According to one member of the faculty, "World Literature" is anything not written in English. For another, it is anything "not part of the literary history of literatures written in English," including Classical literature because (in his words) "it is the backbone upon which English literature was built." (So the ancient literatures of the Mediterranean are not "World Literature" because of later developments in western Europe and America?) For yet another, it is any "non-western" literature, so the literature of western Europe does not count as "World Literature." As you can probably imagine, there then become as many opinions as there are pulses in the room. And not one of them is satisfactory.

One reason I ask is because I teach Native American literature. I asked, "what about my class, is that World Literature?" "No," most answered right away, but then discussion followed. On the one hand, any Native American literature written in English is part of the "literatures written in English" (and geographically in the US), so cannot be "World Literature." On the other hand, many writers work outside of the intellectual and philosophical traditions handed down from Europe, so sure (one faculty member tells us), "Native literature is World Literature, because it's not really American in the sense of Emerson, Thoreau, and Melville." (I find those choices interesting, but I didn't want to continue this digression.) Right now, there is no course called "World Literature," but people can and do teach courses that fit this requirement (such as "The Novel," or "Postmodern Literature," or "The Short Story," without teaching anyone from England or the US).

Personally, I don't care what requirements my courses fill; I won't teach it any differently whether it's "World Literature" or not. But I am curious what others think about this. Is there a department that has a good working definition of "World Literature"? Is there a department that doesn't bother with this distinction because it causes more problems than it solves?

Sep. 18th, 2007

Pagan symbol I made



Hi folks,

How you those of you in hybrid fields feel about dual or related accreditations? I have a friend in art education who is panicking because he accepted his first full-time job at a university that general regional accreditation, and has NCATE - for the education/teaching stuff - accreditation, but not NASAD - art - accreditation. I was under the impression many good universities that will have NCATE are missing the subject area one or vise versa. And it looked like Harvard doesn't have either Art or Ed accreditation - so it can't be a hopeless situation? Any thoughts on this?

Sep. 13th, 2007


(no subject)

I work as a Program Coordinator for a Graduate Program.  On Monday, I made a presentation to the Graduate Academic Council about a new course proposal. This course is something I thought of completely on my own, and I put the presentation and even sketched out the Course Summary, Course Outcomes, Course Objectives and a possible Course Schedule.  Now one of the Program Directors is trying to convince all the other Program Directors that I should not be the one to develop and/or teach the course because I don't have a Ph.D.  Nevermind that I thought of the concept, and nevermind that I spent time developing a very detailed course proposal. 

Is this normal in academia?  I don't know what to do, other than to sit and wait to see what's decided.  Oh, and what really pisses me off is that probably 1/2 of the graduate school's faculty don't have Ph.D.s.

(x-posted in several academic communities.  Sorry for any repeats.)

Aug. 30th, 2007

office, work


Asberger's Students

I'm wondering if anyone has strategies on dealing with Asperger's spectrum students in the college classroom. It seems as if most of the advice I can find on-line involves K-12 education, which doesn't quite work for the limited interactions in a big lecture course. (Or is this inquiry better suited to academics_anon?)

Aug. 14th, 2007

Pagan symbol I made


What's in a name?

Hi all!

I am new to the community and rather pleased to find it exists! I have just started a tenure-track position and have a small question about title. Here is the situation: I am tenure track and hold a position for assistant professor. However, I am ABD (all but dissertation) and hold a masters in my field - and my masters is not the terminal degree. I have been told that once my degree is conferred, they will call me professor for rank on paper and give a slight pay raise. On the school's website, it lists me as faculty (not adjunct) but instructor (not professor). So my question is this, what would you use as a signature for a full-time, tenure-track instructor who will soon be professor?

I was thinking some combination of:

Troy McClure, Ed.M.
Faculty in Theatre
Springfield University
(ABD at Harvard University)

And should I be careful calling myself professor? (I know adjuncts call themselves this, but I wondered...)

Jul. 11th, 2010

te nori taiga



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