April 30, 2005
It's Saturday night and I've spent the entire night avoiding what I need to be doing--working on my special topics paper to prepare for my oral prelims. I'm still in shock that I scheduled my orals. After all, it's not because I'm feeling fully ready that I scheduled them. I scheduled my orals because my advisor from Portland State, who is on my committee, will be in town that day (June 3rd), and it seemed like a good idea to have my orals while she'll be in town. I know I could do a conference call, but it'll be better to have her there.
In many ways, I really feel ready to keep this train moving on. After the Comparative and International Education Society conference at Stanford, I really feel ready to move on to a faculty position somewhere. I just need to get done. And, orals is the next step so I'm on my way.
Now I just need to get working on that paper. It's just so much more fun to blog instead....
April 17, 2005
Lipgloss, ladybugs, and pink didees
For as much as conversations about gender have opened up in university classrooms, it seems like in the world of parenting a three year old, it's still all about pink and blue, dolls and trucks. A friend of mine commented once that she tried to get her boys interested in dolls, but they never were and gravitated to trucks instead. I don't know--I think it's all a little more complicated than dolls and trucks, and I also think that the societal messages about what a good girl/boy is are more prevalent than we think.
For Halloween, our son Jurgen wanted to be a ladybug. He was absolutely THRILLED to find a ladybug costume, after looking ambivalently at all of the other choices. Since then, he has continued to be fascinated by ladybugs--he just pocketed a dead ladybug he dug out of the windowsill at Davanni's the other night. I wouldn't be surprised if he wants to be a ladybug again next year--he'll be another cute ladybug, for sure.
Earlier this week, when we were out shopping, Jurgen found a little purse full of lipglosses, and naturally, one was in the shape of a ladybug. Of course, he couldn't leave without it, and now he's slathering lipgloss all over his body (and ours, on the rare moments when we'll let him). The other night, he even fell asleep with the ladybug lip gloss in his hand--he's so cute!
The thing that really frustrates me these days is that he wants to wear pull-ups instead of didees, and while I don't have a clear problem with that, I DO have a problem with the fact that most pullups are either pink or blue. It is true that some simply have Elmo on all of them, and others don't have characters that are trademarked, but three year olds are little emperors and they know what they want. I wish there were more character choices that weren't just pink and blue. Well, as it turns out, this week, Jurgen is really into the Cinderella pullups. A visitor to our house these days might find a half-naked kid in a pink pullup, putting on lipgloss out of a ladybug container. Without knowing us, you might have no idea if Jurgen's a boy or a girl--and that's the way we like it. I still maintain that until the time comes when gender expectations of my child are more rigid, I want Jurgen to feel like it's all within limits, pink didees and all.
I'm in the process of scheduling my oral prelims. I can't believe that I'm actually moving on to take the next step and become ABD, but hopefully that will happen on June 3rd. In the meantime, I have a lot of writing to do on my special topics paper. In fact, I have to turn in a draft of my paper to my advisor on Wednesday (theoretically, Tuesday night via email).
This is where being a writing instructor comes in handy because I'm not really sweating it out at this point. I know that a draft is just a draft, and I have over a month to get this paper done. It's something I've been working on in stages for awhile, although I don't really think that I've "officially" written a word--yet!
I'm starting to get excited for the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm imagining a day when I might be a faculty instead of a student. But first, I've got to get this special topics paper written.
April 16, 2005
It seems that there is now one less sign of the cities: "Roman Warrior" the statue by Fernando Botero that has stood careful watch next to the Weismann Art Museum has now taken leave of our fair campus. Where he has gone, we do not know. Will he return? That, too, is unknown.
The Roman Warrior has gotten his fair amount of attention from my visiting family members, and I suspect my family is not alone in their admiration of the statue. I don't think that corner of the Weismann will be the same without him. Adieu, Roman Warrior! Fare thee well!
April 7, 2005
On your mark, get set...sympose!
The world is a swirling mass of chaos right now. General College, my academic unit, is slated for closure under the strategic plan (okay, the President doesn't say "closure," just downsizing to a department), and in the midst of that, I'm coordinating a symposium at the Humphrey Institute. Check it out!
This symposium is definitely a way to use blogs beyond simply a journal. It's pretty exciting, and I have to thank Shane Nackerud (our fearless blog leader) for all of his help in getting the symposium blog together.
April 3, 2005
Inscription on Northrop Auditorium
The inscription reads:
The University of Minnesota
Founded in the Faith that Men are Enobled by Understanding
Dedicated to the Advancement of Learning and the Search for Truth
Devoted to the Instruction of Youth and the Welfare of the State
Just a little reminder in this age of university restructuring....
April 2, 2005
What about graduation rates?
As it turns out, the graduation and retention rates for other institutions are lower than the U of M when it comes to students who have participated in developmental education programs. What's also important here, I think, is that there is research to show that students of color who start out at 4 year schools are more likely to graduate than those who start out at community colleges. Finally, U of M is a land-grant institution,and with that comes a responsibility to educate the citizens of Minnesota. These are three big pieces of the puzzle that need more unpacking, and I'll do that as I'll continue to be writing about General College in the next few weeks. And, please feel free to post questions and comments!