Friday, May 12, 2006
Semester over, for me!
I posted grades this morning (no failures! YAY!! Actually, this was a really great class -- every other time I've taught I've managed to keep the average around a B-, which seems reasonable; this time, even with my grading frustration, the average came out a B/B+... and they really deserved it, which was exciting. Seeing freshmen business students writing about the hegemonic formation of 'common sense' which contributes to ongoing racism -- GREAT STUFF! yee-haw. And some of them even understood what they were writing! sigh.... argh... oh well. I really did try!) and am now in the process of putting together a syllabus for my summer course. I'm thinking of doing Macintyre's Dependent Rational Animals instead of the usual unit on existentialism & identity. Since we basically just have four weeks, it might be more straightforward to do another unified text, instead of a bunch of scattered articles.
One of my students this summer has, as her email address, "next ----------" (name of a well-known super-fanatic conservative blonde woman, who tends to write about liberals as if she means 'rabid dogs', all one word), @ ---.com. Hm. I wonder what she'll be like?
Meanwhile I'm also scanning through the Middle States Report that was just completed -- they're our accreditation agency, & it's always nice to see that one's university will remain accredited. Yay! We finished our huge Strategic Planning process & review last year (I was on the Graduate Student Association committee for this... we had many many long meetings) & handed in a Self-Study that related to that last year, & this year they came & visited.
I think these Middle States people are a little optimistic... I'm not sure I'd use the word 'excellence' in application to Fordham. Particularly not in any context of trying to live up to our mission statement. Well, maybe a little. When I chatted with Jude Jones this week about the Social Justice Forum (and ended up saying I'd like to go to the organizational meetings) we spoke quite a bit about the mission statement.
Fordham's Mission Statement is actually pretty groovy, if I haven't posted about this before. We only recently adopted & approved it, as part of last year's Strategery. You know, groovy stuff about "Fordham is committed to research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice, the protection of human rights and respect for the environment."
Basically, it would be awesome if the mission described what we actually did -- if we actually did take particular care of each student's whole formation as a moral & intellectual being, leading them to excellence and a sense of being 'men and women for others', that sort of thing. I'm not sure that we do.
And in a broader sense, the institution just seems messed up. I mean, there's no recycling on campus. And why there are gates around the whole thing, so no one from the neighbourhood -- the Bronx -- can come in to use our library? I'm not going to get into the usual litany of woes suffered by all the students -- e.g., how Financial Aid regularly loses aid applications & fails to process incoming loans until months after the school year begins.
Our president wants us to be the premier Catholic university by 2017. By 2017, Father Joe McShane wants us to have surpassed Georgetown, Notre Dame, all the biggies. On our eensy little endowment.
OK, I'm just rambling now, and this is probably very boring to anyone who isn't me. I'll stop. But I'll just say, that what with the GSA job, and working with the Social Justice Forum and the Student Global AIDS Campaign, and teaching, and regularly talking to Doug & Reuben about institutional politics & procedures & missions & Jesuits & failures to live up to ideals, this is all very much on my mind & will continue to be. Sorry about that.
jane 10:56 AM [+]