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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 160  

post #2386 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post  This is the power that educators wield. They can build up, or they can destroy.

 

That's the point. Professors at research institutions are NOT educators --- they are researchers. Their job is to lead a lab or group. If you look at the terms of their hiring at a university, it is not actually part of their job description to educate students. They have the responsibility to deliver lectures, perhaps one course per semester, and that's it. I'm not saying it's right --- I think it's wrong, but that's the way these schools work. If the school does actually emphasize teaching as one of its primary goals (which it often isn't), then we have a problem of the school not carrying out its directives through its faculty.

 

Second, about the hand holding; it'd be great if the school were willing to allocate resources to perform extensive teaching, but that's not what college is for. In the example you used, if people needed to review algebraic principles, what are they doing in a Calculus class? That's what I mean by the failure of America's primary/secondary education. I know that makes me sound elitist, but the simple truth is that primary and secondary education needs to vastly improve. A high school graduate should have all the necessary tools and skills to transition successfully into undergraduate level courses, but often that is not the case.

post #2387 of 21760
That's the paradigm shift between secondary education and university. In high school/prep school it's the educator's responsibility to engage the students and get them interested. They're required by law to be there, the teacher isn't. In college the instructors present the information, hopefully in a fashion that's objective (heh) and doesn't make everyone fall asleep, and the students need to go get it. Some professors are a little more entertaining and helpful than others, but it isn't their job to make you want to learn. Since your attendance there is completely voluntary, the onus is on you to buckle-down and reach your potential.
Edited by Magick Man - 11/9/12 at 4:32am
post #2388 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

I'm sorry, but that's not a very good way to look at things. If you attend a research-oriented institution (which is what most major universities are), then you need to be prepared that they don't take much stock in the quality of teaching; they expect you to learn on your own. The faculty's primary job is to get research grants and get published.

The faculty hiring process at research universities is firstly about how well a fit the candidate is with the department's resident faculty and the school's intended direction (eg, "Do we need somebody with good a quantitative analysis background? Is there a growing field of interest that we need to address in our program? Don't we already have people covering the various angles of the subject that this candidate specializes in?"), and then about the candidate's publication record and grants record.

If you're in a sexy field of research that major corporations and government programs are showering with money (eg, "Medical Informatics"), you've got access to upper-tier schools, and people who do blue-sky research without regard to major trends rarely do. Now, granted, the rare rockstar-grade scholar who creates the trends can write their own ticket, but they're anomalous enough to not really count.

The hiring process itself involves personal connections -- which is not as janky as that sounds: you're expected to be a recognized scholar in your field, and so there should be at least one person in the department who already knows your name and might have already worked with you -- and in-person presentations to faculty and doctoral candidates, to pitch those outside the candidate's field on the relevance of their work, and for them to size up the candidate on their ability as a speaker and how well they might be, personally, as a fit in the department. This is about as close as they come to evaluating teaching skills, short of the usual backgrounds and reference checks to make sure there's no criminal record.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

While responsibility for learning falls on the student, the first few classes are the ones that the faculty need to hold their hands through.

This is true, but also not really what that level of school is for: In the sink-or-swim environments, your options are really to either hire a tutor to help you keep up or to drop out and enter a program you can manage on your own.

It's not an environment I can survive in so I feel weird about speaking on behalf of it: but when the program is intended to be an academic boot camp, the entire point is not to test your limits but to rebuild you. If the rejection rate is high, the quality control of the shipped product is greater. (Edit: Not to put too fine a point on it: Your goals for the program and the program's goals are not necessarily the same thing. I'm often surprised by how many people enter advanced degree programs without having a good enough understanding how well their intentions suit the degree and what they intend to do with the degree afterwards.)
Edited by ardgedee - 11/9/12 at 4:37am
post #2389 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

 

That's the point. Professors at research institutions are NOT educators --- they are researchers. Their job is to lead a lab or group. If you look at the terms of their hiring at a university, it is not actually part of their job description to educate students. They have the responsibility to deliver lectures, perhaps one course per semester, and that's it. I'm not saying it's right --- I think it's wrong, but that's the way these schools work. If the school does actually emphasize teaching as one of its primary goals (which it often isn't), then we have a problem of the school not carrying out its directives through its faculty.

 

Second, about the hand holding; it'd be great if the school were willing to allocate resources to perform extensive teaching, but that's not what college is for. In the example you used, if people needed to review algebraic principles, what are they doing in a Calculus class? That's what I mean by the failure of America's primary/secondary education. I know that makes me sound elitist, but the simple truth is that primary and secondary education needs to vastly improve. A high school graduate should have all the necessary tools and skills to transition successfully into undergraduate level courses, but often that is not the case.

 

 

If they stand in front of a classroom to deliver lectures on a daily basis, that qualifies them as educators in my book. 

 

I'm not saying the should be spoon-fed throughout college. What I'm saying is that for at least the first semester/year during tougher courses, lecturers should have the mindset to teach in a way that will be easily grasped.

 

As for the algebra, the professor understands one fundamental part of human nature...we forget things. As a result, we need to be reminded of them if we are to tie those in with new concepts. I have no doubt you're a great physician, but I'm willing to bet my GR07 that you couldn't tell me off the top of your head what organism produces verotoxins, or the mechanism of action for sildanefil.

 

I fundamentally disagree with the sink or swim ideology. It's essentially a form of social Darwinism, except people pay a small fortune to have their hopes crushed. It's not right.


Edited by eke2k6 - 11/9/12 at 4:35am
post #2390 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

 

That's the point. Professors at research institutions are NOT educators --- they are researchers

 

 

No question.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

If they stand in front of a classroom to deliver lectures on a daily basis, that qualifies them as educators in my book..

 

Ever seen the bare minimum?  It's almost impossible to learn from, no matter how motivated you are.  My stats class in second year, class size was 80, average attendance, I'll be generous, 8-10.  Most of us learned the material, passed, and moved on, but honestly, it was despite the professor.  At best, the only thing the lectures did was give us notes to pass around, to augment the textbook.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

That's the paradigm shift between secondary education and university. In high school/prep school it's the educator's responsibility to engage the students and get them interested. They're required by law to be there, the teacher isn't. In college the instructors present the information, hopefully in a fashion that's objective (heh) and doesn't make everyone fall asleep, and the students need to go get it. Some professors are a little more entertaining and helpful than others, but it isn't their job to make you want to learn. Since your attendance there is completely voluntary, the onus is on you to buckle-down and reach your potential.

 

Agree.  That said, a professor should be engaging the students who are buckling down - furthering their education in some way.

 

I saw as many professors who were openly hostile to the students they lectured as I did professors who actually gave a damn about teaching.  Honestly, the learning environment was more poisonous than positive.

 

To me, university was about learning the material covered, and learning to put up with ********.  I think it would have been more cost efficient, more time efficient, and I would have learned more if I'd just gone over the course material on my own time, without any professors at all.

 

Which is why I had zero interest in grad school.

post #2391 of 21760
Thread Starter 

The job market is incredibly fierce, even at smaller liberal arts colleges. Really the only reason I got my current position is because I decided to stick with the same university from which I graduated, so it was more a transition from part-time to full-time teaching. You build up loyalties and network with folks, just like anything else. It's about knowing the right people often times.

 

That being said, I'm honestly still a bit shocked I got this new position. I suppose it came down to the fact that I had some really good recommendations from a few well respected names, and that my research interests and area of expertise are a bit unusual. It seems the key to being in vogue is to not be in vogue; that is to say, having interests that aren't in vogue is what's currently in vogue. Just don't go too far, otherwise you'll be pegged as someone who is trying too hard to be clever. Or just batsh-t crazy.

 

Honestly, they took a huge risk going with me instead of someone else with more experience and / or more traditional research interests. As a result I'm terrified I wont be able to live up to those expectations. It's in their best interest to hire younger people however, because younger people are more easily shaped into what the department wants. Someone with a reputation is harder to control. All departments have a prevailing "ethos" of sorts, a certain mindset and direction of focus that is determined largely by the chair. For example, take the interpretation of Plato: There's a whole continuum of differing views on how to read these texts. What interpretations are acceptable for the department are set out in advance, and if you deviate from this established perimeter, you're going to get nailed. There's also usually a black list of figures you aren't supposed to mention, either people who are too radical in the case of more conservative universities or too conservative in the case of more progressive ones. I can see the utility behind this; I wouldn't want a professor prattling on about aliens influencing Descartes.

 

So much of teaching at the university level involves playing the game and getting a feel for the politics of the institution. I've been fortunately spared an excessive amount of drama thus far, and I tend to lay low and think of more subtle ways of subverting policies I don't agree with, but I've still encountered some frustrating setbacks to this effect.

 

As for what my area of expertise / research interests actually are (since I've been asked for a few people), it has to do with the influence of Plato on the contemporary intellectual landscape. Plato (along with Descartes and Hegel) has been the primary target whose overcoming---either through sublimation or destruction---brings together otherwise disparate schools of thought in the last 100+ years. Contemporary philosophy has been fixated on vanquishing these specters. In particular, with poststructuralism and the postmoderns there are interesting parallels to the Sophists which Plato sparred with in his own time. The problems facing philosophy today are actually quite similar to those of Plato's day. In this respect, there has been a push for a "return to Plato" by some recent thinkers, albeit under a rather strange materialist guise. 

 

In a much broader sense, my interests reside in the interaction of the present with the past, the relationship between the two and how the past seems to manifest in the present, how we seem to repeat past events. Hence my fascination with psychoanalysis and hermeneutics. My attention is directed toward the philosophy of history, ideology and beliefs, the one and the many (the individual and society, being and presentation, etc.).


Edited by MuppetFace - 11/9/12 at 5:48am
post #2392 of 21760
Thread Starter 

On an unrelated note, I'm super excited about the upcoming Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3. Finally we'll be seeing the adjutants, the Reaper-modded Salarians that were going to be in the game from the beginning but broke the physics engine (I guess they decided to change their behavior since then?). It'll also be nice to return to the slummy landscape of Omega, an homage to the greatness of ME2. Most of all however, I'm excited over the new temporary squadmates. Aria will be joining the party, and also Nyreen, a female Turian.

 

...Finally! A female Turian!

 

 

 

post #2393 of 21760
Thread Starter 

Fang comments on the Jade 2:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/629253/head-direct-hifiman-customer-service-team/240#post_8851464

 

There is hope! A Jade 2 seems to be in the works, its silhouette on the distant horizon. Please sign this petition if you haven't yet:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634495/petition-bring-back-the-he-audio-jades

post #2394 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

I fundamentally disagree with the sink or swim ideology. It's essentially a form of social Darwinism, except people pay a small fortune to have their hopes crushed. It's not right.

You aren't allowed access to academic programs for without meeting their qualifications and being vetted through an application process. The more difficult and prestigious the program, the harsher the terms of admission become.

They accepted you because they thought you could do the work; they accept people who are borderline qualified because many people have marginal CVs and end up promising when exposed to the right environment. Similarly, many people who qualify easily end up being the ones who crash and burn once they reach the limits of their skills and, for the first time in their lives, have to face real pressure and challenges.

I've got mixed feelings about it, as I've noted, but I can never see it as an academic form of a pump and dump scam.
post #2395 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

On an unrelated note, I'm super excited about the upcoming Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3. Finally we'll be seeing the adjutants, the Reaper-modded Salarians that were going to be in the game from the beginning but broke the physics engine (I guess they decided to change their behavior since then?). It'll also be nice to return to the slummy landscape of Omega, an homage to the greatness of ME2. Most of all however, I'm excited over the new temporary squadmates. Aria will be joining the party, and also Nyreen, a female Turian.

 

...Finally! A female Turian!

 

 

I'm personally excited about the soon-to-be released Bioshock Infinite in early 2013. Pre-order now and we can get a DLC called "Industrial Revolution," which is supposedly a puzzle game with tie-ins to the setting of BI. The two previous Bioshock games were some of the most original and thought-provoking games I've played, and I have very high expectations for this one too.

 

Another highly anticipated game of 2013 is the Last of Us by Naughty Dog, the same company that made one of the greatest PS3 video game series, the Uncharted trilogy. I love fictions that take place in a post-apocalyptic setting, which is why I'm also a fan of TV series like the Walking Dead or Revolution.

post #2396 of 21760

I'm just thankful that I graduated and got the heck outta there. The really sad thing is, many of the folks that washed out of the program would've made decent engineers. They could handle the material, they just couldn't handle the crap that was forced on them. One of the profs was a particularly nasty piece of work. What he "required" of the female students to pass, should've gotten him arrested. The other faculty members knew of his proclivities, yet they did nothing. He hid behind tenure.

post #2397 of 21760
My view of the situation is that since a student has been accepted into the program, why go even further to subject them to more trials.

I love my pharmacy program. On day one, all the professors met with our class and basically told us that this was it. from here on out, gpa doesn't matter, and there's no more competition. We've become a family that helps each other, especially those who are failing. This fosters a far better learning environment than a competitive setting ever could. At the end of our time here we'll graduate with knowledge, but also empathy for other human beings that will reflect in our clinical work.

If this attitude could be passed down to undergraduate colleges then there would be far less dropouts
post #2398 of 21760

I haven't commented on the thread in the last couple of days due to life being so freaking crazy for me lately and for what ever reason the last few days having been a plethora of anything that can go wrong will go wrong, yesterday being no exception. I wake up look at my alarm clock and realize the stupid alarm didn't wake me and I'm a half hour behind the 8 ball. I run around getting dressed skip my morning coffee and run out the door only to get to my usual bus stop barely on time and wind up waiting another 20 minutes for the bus. Turns out the stupid bus broke down and I had to wave down the tow truck that was towing it back to the garage. There's pluses to wearing the bus driver monkey suit and luckily the guy driving the tow truck recognized my face and didn't mind me riding shotgun with him for part of the way. I get downtown with maybe 15 minutes to spare and decide why not grab a coffee since I have a few minutes. I get my coffee and I'm walking out the coffee shop door when this one idiotic dunce with no brains collides into me and sends my freshly bought coffee on a one way trip all over the pavement. The ignorant dunce didn't even bother to stop to apologize and just kept barreling on nearly colliding into a woman with a stroller in the process. Needless to say he heard a few colorful words from me as he continued trucking on and he was lucky I was so pressed for time or he would have been buying me a new coffee whether he liked it or not.

 

Feeling rather pissed off I proceeded to walk to my bus jump on point. I still had 5 or 6 minutes and it was cold so I decided to yank out my gloves in an attempt to keep my hands warm. Dumb move on my part. As I'm pulling out my gloves my RX MKII/iPod Touch rig which happened to be in the same pocket as my gloves comes flying out and crashes onto hard pavement. It must have hit iPod side first because the cheap plastic protective case I have on it came undone followed by the dual lock unlocking and the Fiio L9 connector popping off. My eyes went wide and my heart skipped a few beats as I'm picking up my rig which altogether cost me well over 600 bones. Thinking my rig is no more I pop the protective casing back onto my iPod and start pressing buttons and tapping on the screen and to my relief there's no cracks on the screen and it powers on and seems to be responding normally to my touch commands. I check my RX MKII and notice the power switch and gain switch is on. I'm guessing the impact and/or the L9 popping out might have tripped both of the switches. I switch it off and power it back up and thankfully the amp seems to be still powering up normally. I rehook everything up and yank out my K2 sp's to test if everything is ok only to be forced to quickly throw the rig into my backpack due to the fact the bus I'm slated to take over has just arrived. For the next 5 hours I'm driving around wondering if my rig is still working. Did I also mention the streets yesterday seemed to be packed full of idiots who ate up any spare time I could have used at the end of my route to test my rig out? Finally once I got relief from my first bus I was able to get some time to check my rig out properly and luckily everything worked the way it was supposed to. I had one heck of a crap day yesterday. Thank God I'm off for the rest of the weekend.


Edited by DigitalFreak - 11/9/12 at 10:00am
post #2399 of 21760

Well, the problem with the "one big family" approach can be that groupthink can never be a substitute for individual ability. Keeping with the engineering theme, you simply can't have say, an electrical engineer who doesn't understand some of the basics of signals and systems or circuit building. It's in the interests of a program or department, and engineers as a whole, that each individual has a minimum mastery of knowledge, or has at least demonstrated the capacity to process these facts and apply them, even if they don't have textbooks upon textbooks of information memorized. 

 

Of course this does not mean that professors have to have a negative attitude towards their students or that we should celebrate poor teaching. But some students simply aren't as intelligent as they think they are or well suited for certain fields, and it behooves a department and school to show them that perhaps they should consider a different concentration or major. If you need your hand held through something as simple as calculus I, you probably aren't going to understand something like complex analysis. 

 

However, the most important skill I feel I acquired in college was probably learning how to learn. As cliche as that sounds, being able to take a problem you've never seen before, in a field that may only be tangentially related to what you studied in school, and break it down into simpler steps or sub-problems is great. Knowing what (mental) tools and skills I need and being able to quickly grasp the fundamentals of the problem at hand have been far more useful to me than any individual fact or equation.

post #2400 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

My view of the situation is that since a student has been accepted into the program, why go even further to subject them to more trials.

 

I don't know but for example in technical schools the big number of dropouts is considered to be a norm. 


Edited by mutabor - 11/9/12 at 8:45am
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