Tuesday, June 10, 2008


It's FINALLY summer-like weather and that SO works for me. As the reader(s) know/s, I hate hate hate hate hate hate cold. It was in the 80s with loads of humidity for the past few days, which works for me - but boy, oh boy were the family members whiny. So today, after buckets of rain, it's like 70-something (77, according to my Apple dashboard [which, btw, I finally got set to the right city - for a while it kept showing forecasts for Detroit, Alabama. I would like to live in that temperature zone during the winter, let me tell you - vastly preferable]). Puffy clouds are floating across the sky, and it's alllll good. Now, if I could make good headway - and I think that I might be, actually - on the latest project, great. More on that in a moment.

First, though, the subject is BIKING. Thanks to Dave Morris at the A2 YMCA, I learned about a new-to-me web site, mapmyrun.com, where people post bike routes. New ideas! New possibilities! This a.m., Ben Caldwell (also of the A2 YMCA, at least for this a.m.'s spinning class) also suggested some great new routes on dirt roads north of here. Exciting! The Friday spin class is riding outside this week, which should be great (Apple dashboard says the low will be in the high 50s/low 60s - lovely!). Weather this weekend is also predicted to be fab, so that means... yes... biking! More biking! I'm doing a lot more dirt road this summer than trail, but that's okay -- I see more, which is great. I still love the trails, of course.

And then, there's thinking. I still have to redo the fall class, but that's on hold while I work on this chapter for the new book and some work for another article. Thanks to thinking with James Carey and the public journalism literature (a lot of which is pre 9-11 - interesting to hear about changes with that...), I've been mulling over some issues connected to reframing. I think they're leading to some good ideas, but WHAT A PAIN it is to slog through! Ah, writing. Still hard. That's it, though, isn't it?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

It's BACK!

Having not written a post in almost a year, the tens of readers may now have dipped into the single digits. (Do RSS feeds unfeed themselves? Could be!) Nonetheless, I finally feel like I'm into summer work mode, which means that I can spend a few moments updating my reader(s) -- and that might be a singular, me -- on the many issues of interest here on BrownDogsBlog.


Issue #1: Eastern Michigan University. We have a president who will start July 1; that's good. Our college has a new dean, also starting July 1; also good. If you happen to be reading this blog and are considering enrolling in EMU for the fall, DO IT!!! It's a great place! And take English 120, for pete's sake, will you? As always, EMU (like all institutions) has challenges an opportunities -- a BIG one right now around admissions and advising.

Issue #2: The world of public policy and assessment. Whoo! It's been quite a year around that. There was a story in today's Inside Higher Ed about what one can only hope is Ed Department's last attempt to monkey with the accreditation process. Let's hope the story is accurate. Meanwhile, check out the editorial by Margaret Spellings linked in the IHE piece, which captures the problem with the Ed Department so beautifully (in a hideous, car wreck kind of way). The problem: for Spellings and her ilk, the purpose of ed is to help individuals develop their talents and abilities so that they can advocate for themselves in the (corporate capitalist) culture. Education isn't doing a good job teaching to this, so "investors" (taxpayers) are not receiving the "benefits of their investments" (employees who can magically do everything). The solution is to cultivate that individual growth. Of course, this is a very problematic way to frame education and completely elides any notion that education is a place to think through the problems with/purposes of a democratic culture. It's just not good.

On the up side, I think there's a lot of movement around creating alternative stories and working from positive frames, which is good. I can't point to anything specific (except my book, but that doesn't count), but I've heard of a lot. So yay to that.

Issue #3: The OMB (that's oft-mentioned book, for new reader[s]). It's done! Now I'm working on a new project (with friend and colleague Peggy O'N) that is taking me in some very interesting directions. In case reader(s) is/are interested, the new book is called Reframing Writing Assessment. Working on the "reframing" chapter, I think I've gotten to some cool new stuff about the ways we need to shape discussion and our personas as researchers within/around that shaping. In some ways, the literature on objectivity and public journalism is really useful/important here, so that's cool. More on this as it develops.

Issue #4: Biking. Doing a ton of it. Loving it. It's all I want to do. I'm going shortly.

Issue #5: Flowering trees. A great year for this. And today, finally, it's hot.

That's it! For now. More in less than a year.