Obama gave his task force 90 days to recommend best practices for colleges to prevent or respond to assaults, and to check that they are complying with existing legal obligations. The task force — which includes the attorney general and the secretaries of the Education, Health and Human Services and Interior Departments — was also asked for proposals to raise awareness of colleges’ records regarding assaults and officials’ responses, and to see that federal agencies get involved when officials do not confront problems on their campuses.
Academic Kindness January 10, 2014
The Tumblr. Here’s one of the posts:
While doing my comps, I found myself in need of an obscure, unpublished Ph.D. I was still figuring out Proquest and I was trying to figure out a way to order it from the university. As I was doing this, I sent a brief email to a very senior scholar whose work deals with the material in this dissertation and asked if he could recommend the best way to find a copy of it. Instead, he sent the entire dissertation to me by mail – in two packages because it took him a while to photocopy the whole thing (I should also note that I live in a different country, so it would not have been cheap to send). A very kind and unexpected gesture!
Article on Increased Respect for PGPs (Preferred Gender Pronouns) December 1, 2013
A recent article in the Telegram.com is titled, “Preferred Gender Pronouns Gain Traction at Colleges” and discusses how Mills College in Oakland, CA is incorporating PGPs into various aspects of college life.
“On high school and college campuses and in certain political and social media circles, the growing visibility of a small, but semantically committed cadre of young people who, like Crownover, self-identify as “genderqueer” — neither male nor female but an androgynous hybrid or rejection of both — is challenging anew the limits of Western comprehension and the English language.”
“Inviting students to state their preferred gender pronouns, known as PGPs for short, and encouraging classmates to use unfamiliar ones such as “ze,”’sie,” ”e,” ”ou” and “ve” has become an accepted back-to-school practice for professors, dorm advisers, club sponsors, workshop leaders and health care providers at several schools.”
Open Courseware July 28, 2013
This isn’t news, but a lot of folks don’t know about this wonderful resource yet: Course lessons from a number of universities are free and open to the public online. For example, open courseware materials from the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy can be found here. Philosophy courses from Notre Dame are available here. A list of institutional sites for OCW material is here, via the Open Courseware Consortium. And, of course, this is not just limited to philosophy courses. If you want to, e.g., watch a series of lectures on physics, you can do that too.
Training teens on bystander intervention June 25, 2013
An article on CNN is discussing bystander training in a high school, instituted in the wake of the murder of former student Lauren Astley by her ex-boyfriend. It’s a terribly heart-breaking story, but it’s a welcome change to see these issues being discussed in a nuanced way, and to see long-term plans for intervention going forward, in a mainstream news outlet.
Protecting children from internet pornography May 24, 2013
A call for better sex education:
A report released on Thursday by the commissioner’s office found that children who watch pornography are more likely to develop sexually risky behaviour and become sexually active at a younger age.
It called for urgent action to “develop children’s resilience to pornography” after discovering that a significant number have access to sexually explicit images. It also called on the Department for Education to ensure all schools delivered effective relationship and sex education, including how to use the internet safely.
I’m really pleased to see this. I naively thought when I first came to the UK that students here would have far superior sex ed to what students in the US have. Years of conversations with my students have shown me otherwise. None of them have been taught such basic things as that sex should be enjoyable for everyone involved, and that you should make sure that the person you’re having sex with is happy about it. (My favourite student anecdote was about one school where the girls were taken into a room to watch a film about menstruation while the boys watched a film about cars.) Thanks, Mr J!
Dealing with offensive comments in seminar May 9, 2013
There’s a post up on this over at NewAPPS; go check it out!
A Reason for More Sex Ed… April 30, 2013
…We want 15 year olds (and journalists) to be able to tell the difference between contraceptive pills you take daily (which come in packages of 28) and emergency contraceptive pills (packages of 2).
Using History to Teach April 12, 2013
From a recent news article:
“A high school English teacher could face disciplinary action for giving a writing assignment that asked students to make a persuasive argument blaming Jews for the problems of Nazi Germany, Albany school district officials said Friday.”
The assignment, first reported Friday by the Albany Times Union, asked students to research Nazi propaganda, then assume their teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty. The assignment told students they “must argue that Jews are evil.”
My first reaction was, this could have been a poignant exercise on rhetoric, logic and history, but didn’t take into account the current existence and legacy of antisemitism. Though, whether that is a valid reaction might depend on what one thinks of things like The Third Wave experiment. The more I read over the article though, the more I’m baffled about what the teacher in NY was even trying to accomplish. (Were they just trying to be edgy?)