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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Surgery is so much fun

For those of you who have been wondering (thanks mom) where I might have wondered off to and why I have not responded to the high level of administative name calling let me just say that typing with one hand is difficult. You may be aware that there are some gifts that just keep on giving. Two and one-half years ago I fell off a ladder. I broke my hand, my elbow and had a compression fracture in my back and wore a brace for several months. I also slammed my left shoulder and head into the asphalt. All in all it was a really fun time. Little did I know the fun would continue. This past December I awoke with a very sore left shoulder. My dear wife said, "take an aspirin it may be a heart attack." I finally had an MRI done and it was determined I had torn my rotator cuff. I put the operation off till between summer school and regular classes. The operation was May 12. I wish to thank Dr. Sohn at the Medical College for doing an excellennt job. It turned out I had torn the labrum. I also probably dislocated the shoulder when I fell and popped it back into place. I had bone spurs, torn cartiledge and lots of arthiritis. So thanks to Dr. Sohn I have been able to teach my on-line classes. Friends gave me a bell to use to summon my wife when my drink needed refreshing. I got to use it once and then the proctologist had to retrieve it. I am now ready to return to the fun and excitement that seems to have occured while I was otherwise detained. About that.

There is now a committee. Since there are 12 members and all female we should probably call them the disciplettes except that I'll get called all sorts of names if I suggest it so I won't. While I will note that had it been all male the response would have been ugly and ilmmediate, I frankly do not care what the makeup is. In fact, I do not think it is possible to get a "representative" committee of faculty. We are all independently nuts. What I do care about is transparancy and input. If we are going to land somewhere other than our present location it would be nice to have real input into that. We talk about sustainability around here all the time. How about some sustainable transparancy? I read that phrase somewhere recently and think it would be nice if applied here. It will be impossible to prove whether reorganization actually leads to more or better research. It will be impossible to prove if it leads to more or better programs or teaching. The problem, as we all know, is in the amount and use of resources. If you apply resources to a problem, its chances of improvement go up. If you do not apply resources to a problem its chances of improvement go down. And, that's only the beginning. Even if you apply resources you may not apply them properly. Do you want more faculty lines or more technology in the classroom. Presently, we seem intent on balancing the budget by laying off secretaries. That will have an impact on both students and faculty because they directly interact with each other. Choices are made daily at this institution in which we have no role. Had I been asked, I would have opted for keeping the secretaries and dumping the bonuses for a couple of big shots. You can keep a whole lot of folks for $200,000. We talk all the time about being a transformative force for the world but don't seem to care about the transformation that will now take place in the lives of those we have layed off. Gosh, it's good to be back.


Anonymous said...

Sohn works at UTMC. We merged.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I hope that you are doing better!

Welcome back to insane asylum!

Anonymous said...

Sohn works at UTMC: we were taken over.

Anonymous said...

It's odd how the UTMC people think they were taken over too.

Anonymous said...

There is an excellent editorial in the May-June issue of Academe. The last paragraphs are especially poignant:

'Once upon a time, we didn't completely adapt our rhetoric and our curricula to the market place. We had missions and visions of universities and colleges that didn't hum "global economy" as a creepy mantra while abandoning higher education to the business of business. Higher education had another purpose. Back then, business seem to do just fine on its own.

"Our parents and grandparents ... who lived the consequences of the unraveling of an earlier economic age, had a far sharper sense of what can happen to a society when private and sectional interests trump public goods and obscure the common good," [Tony] Judt wrote. "We need to recover some of that sense." '

zoroxyz10 said...

Re Anonymous 9:31

Absolutely true regarding the commercialization of the academy - but it is difficult for many academics to acknowledge the equally egregious sins of postmodernism and political correctness in academe.

There are at least two old-guard stalwarts I am aware of at UT who never caved to the passing intellectual fads and refused to confess their "traditionalist patriarchal sins" before the partisan tribunals of PC and PoMo – even when most everyone else was opportunistically taking advantage of deconstruction madness and gleefully hopping aboard the careerist Ship of Fools.

They are, if I may be so bold as to commend them by name, Bill Free in English and Dick Perry in Education.

These two gentlemen scholars should definitely be consulted by the UT Prez and BOT for some deep and thoughtful institutional memory, assuming anyone still really cares about recovering some of the high-minded ideals that once made up the solid bedrock foundations of the academy of old.