Category Archives: Working

Already published

Odor and gaze
Lost from view (Without a trace)
Oh fury…
Scandalous life…
Various lions…


Camino de tierra…
Mundo ilustrado…
El humo se disipa…
Vienes en la noche…
Leve pisada…
El fuego la poesía…

MY SLOT is 15-20 minutes so I will try for 14. This is seven poems and the last is in six parts, so it is like twelve.


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E-mail too dry to send

This weekend in Large City I saw a friend who is the language coordinator at R1. For exit interviews from the BA, departmental goal is to have 40% of graduates at ACTFL Advanced Mid, and the other 60% at Advanced High.

I am looking right now at examples of Distinguished, Superior, Advanced and Intermediate readings. It is revealing. There isn’t an undergraduate curriculum that doesn’t include Superior readings, and many include Distinguished ones.

​Oregon high schools aim for Intermediate-mid or Intermediate-high proficiency after 4 years of study (720 hours). 14% of their students actually attain this. Our major has 1,660 hours in it, starting with 102. In that time we should be able to get people to Advanced.

People not at Superior are not in fact ready for graduate school, and you have to be at a Distinguished level to really function professionally, as a Hispanist. The students we have had struggle in graduate programs have been Advanced.

This is why Advanced should be a minimum goal for graduation, and we should insist on Superior-level readings. In some of my courses, though, I may need to recognize that readings are unrealistically difficult.


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Koritha Mitchell

Here is someone worth knowing about.

I feel really alienated from work and really sad. But it is important to recognize, as Mitchell points out, that aggression is one reaction people can have to others’ achievement. I never understood this. I believed it when told I had done them wrong, and tried to disable myself so as not to hurt them again.


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Habits of mind

The automated university-as-a-business that Schumpeter desires fails to valorize the qualities of mind that follow from regular writing practices. A good writer of prose is also a good teacher, and can easily detect good ideas in well-written prose. The regular writer, then, does not need to spend as much time “teaching”. The student and the teacher are prepared by their respective efforts to prose the material. A quick bit of interaction. Some simple comments. Even something as a simple as a grade. That’s all it takes to move the student in the right direction. There’s the source.

And yes, that is what I would like back. I gave it up to Reeducation and then to harassment, and to my extreme sense of responsibility.


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I want to e-mail this but should not. I have to get it out of me.

The narrative of the beginning of all of this I got from X, with difficulty, during the summer, was:

1. Y had been coaching student practice many hours a semester, for honorarium of $100.
2. The importance of the $100 was that it defined this work as something separate from regular workload. Y did not need to do this work to comply with regular duties.
3. When the $100 was withdrawn Y was offered the possibility of claiming this work as part of service and/or research, or of not doing it — this latter being difficult because it is necessary work to hold the program together, cannot be left undone, X said.
4. The alternative would be for department to find another way to get coaching for the students; other departments have students pay, for instance. But there was pressure, for program integrity, on this instructor to coach for free, X implied.
5. This redefinition of workload, said X, had implications for everyone. What more extra work could the university assign, and tell people to account for it as part of regular workload?
6. Y, however, did not wish to complain and according to X the reason was fear of dismissal. Again, X was concerned about implications for others. Saying this work could now be counted as service or research changed job descriptions, definitions of research and service, and took the descriptions of these things away from faculty, said X.
7. So X decided to go on a campaign, which led to everything else that has happened.

My questions:

a/ Did Y really feel threatened or coerced?
b/ Was program integrity really threatened if the coaching was not done?
c/ Did the department consider any other way to get the coaching done?
​d/ Are other faculty concerned about the disappearance of coaching?

e/ Are there other faculty doing excessive service?

I never got answers to these practical questions. What X has done seems overwrought for what had been in essence a practical problem: students apparently need coaching and if the university provides it, and it is not included in tuition, there needs to be some kind of lab fee to pay for it.

It took me a long time to try to make sense of X’s initial complaints. I don’t know how accurate this narrative is, but I tried to come up with something rational, as opposed to faux rational, and ended up in this game with X where X appeared to be  trying to turn me into an instrument for co-creation of psychodrama. It then turned out that X was engaged in similar games with many others.

I have delegated this and must stay out, rise above the poison.


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Le plan

1/ To qualify our courses for supplemental instruction we will say we have raised the minimum competency level to graduate. There will be more to the request: we may have to point out that it is not possible, in the first three or four courses, to create people who can easily do the major without supplemental instruction (the alternative would be to hire more and more qualified faculty, so as to be able to have a coherent curriculum and stick to it, but since we cannot, we MUST be able to coach enough students to A+ in the lower level courses).

2/ My colleague will take over the honor society.

3/ My next mini-grant will be for library materials. The other one will be used by me for students — they will not each get their own spending accounts, but will have to sign an agreement to match the money spend on materials for them, and not expect never to buy or read a book.

4/ I have to post to Moodle for one course and put up instructions for a make-up written composition and oral composition for the other course.

5/ I have to grade very many papers.

6/ I will read at least two articles for my own reasons before I do any of the above.

7/ Good-bye.


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El futuro

“Great comparison to the Elsevier model. Also, LSU-BR now has outrageous targets for online enrollment: 5,000 students. If we think of the twenty or so other campuses that have their own targets and if we take a very conservative number of, say, 1,500 per campus, we end up with 30,000 online students. This raises two points. The first is that such numbers would constitute another major campus, indeed one bigger than LSU in Baton Rouge. That would be a major institution that is operating in a variety of unregulated spaces. The second point is that, in my judgment, such projections have something Malthusian about them. I doubt that the population and the market in Louisiana can even remotely sustain them. When we consider that every other state in the nation is doing the same thing, we quickly conclude that the online thing is a bubble.  Or, more likely, a kind of propaganda tool by which administrators try to look with-it and active even when the numbers won’t support that impression.”

“Think the Elsevier model as opposed to publishing? Good grief!” 

“LSU-S has perhaps the largest MBA program in the USA, 3000 students. It was covered in the Washington Post recently. In my opinion, Academic Partnerships, their recruiter, has created a diploma mill. It has NOT led to prosperity at LSU-S. Beware of Academic Partnerships.”



Filed under Movement, Working