Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Pages

At Miami University Summer 2011 is a time for thinking and tinkering.

Technology is the steamroller that moves us to change, painful as it may be. Yes there is help to be had, but there is also the need to own up to the job of overhauling your Blackboard course content into the new, improved Niihka. Of course you can do this! You are bold and brave and persevering!

Then there's the thinking part. This is code for reading. Summer's pace slows and there is time to sit, read, and reflect deeply. This launches tinkering with course content as well as new conversations and commitments.

What's on your book shelf? Here are a few titles on mine.

Okay for Now
. Gary D. Schmidt is an English Professor, Newberry Honor winning author, and observer of the human condition, especially in classroom settings. In this 2011 novel, 8th grader Doug is dealing with cruel forces and creative, caring individuals. Why did you become an educator? Read and remember the transformative pain. Yes YA literature matters. Schmidt mixes humor, art (James Audubon) and literature (public libraries) into small town life in upstate New York during the sixties.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
. Karen Armstrong is a big picture person who writes about the place world religions and spiritual practices have held in our lives throughout the centuries. Beliefs drive behavior. So how do you get close to people in your world or classroom who are so very different from yourself? Compassion.

The Heart of Higher Education a Call to Renewal: Transforming the Academy through Collegial Conversation. Parker J. Palmer & Arthur Zajonc believe in the value of experiential learning, lingering conversations, and crossing boundaries in the university. When spirituality matters to so many undergraduates, how can academics address such issues of meaning, purpose, and value within their disciplines? Academics who connect with the inner life over and above facts and information, shape lives and motivate students to stay the course and create solutions.

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