Swarthmore in the News
October 30, 2009
The Flat Hat (The College of William and Mary)
Provost, panel discuss merits of College's "liberal arts" tag
By Ian Brickey
October 29, 2009
The College of William and Mary prides itself on having nationally ranked undergraduate and graduate academic programs, but can it remain one of the nation's best small, public liberal arts universities in the 21st century?
A panel of faculty members discussed the future of the College as an elite liberal arts university Thursday in the Sadler Center's Tidewater Room. The forum was the first in a series of liberal arts university conversations hosted by the College.
College Provost and panel moderator Michael R. Halleran began the forum by saying that the College's future success stems from balancing its self-identification as a liberal arts university with high levels of research on the graduate level.
"Our strategic plan requires as a total, overarching goal to be a leader among liberal arts universities," Halleran said. "The first objective of this goal is to conduct a conversation about the future of a liberal arts education. What does it mean for William and Mary to be a liberal arts university?"
Physic professor Keith Griffioen said that calling the College a liberal arts university lowers its standing and misrepresents its character.
"William and Mary is not a liberal arts university, and we should stop describing ourselves as one," Griffioen said. "Stanford and Princeton are better roles models for us than Amherst and Swarthmore ... Calling us a liberal arts university is the same as calling us a physics university."
According to Griffioen, emulating universities like Stanford and Princeton would combine great teaching with great research to create a home for the best teacher-scholars.
"Whatever we call [ourselves], whether it's liberal arts university, public ivy, whatever the name might be, it's much more important to reflect the substance behind it," Halleran said. "[That's] what makes us special."
The Georgetown Voice
DeGioia disconnected from students
Author: Editorial Board
October 28, 2009
Where in the world is President John DeGioia? A quick Google search shows Georgetown's president popping up worldwide-in China, or in Davos, Switzerland. Very rarely, though, will a student spot Georgetown's president roaming the campus that he's in charge of.
The vast majority of Georgetown students will see DeGioia only a handful of times during their four-year undergraduate tenure. They're guaranteed to see him twice: first, in the stuffy confines of McDonough Gymnasium, while listening to a convocation speech that barely changes each year, and second, when he hands out diplomas at Commencement. Other appearances with students are rare-during emergencies, DeGioia may come out to calm the masses, as in the aftermath of 2007's hate crimes.
No one expects DeGioia, pressed as he is with building Georgetown's reputation as a global university, to practice with Georgetown's swim team every morning, as President Brian Casey does at DePauw University. ...
If DeGioia doesn't like to swim, or is too busy overseeing three campuses, including one thousands of miles away in Qatar, he could just hold open office hours for students like Swarthmore College president Rebecca Chopp. Every month, Chopp makes herself available to students to sit down and discuss whatever is on their minds. Most of us will never understand the pressures on DeGioia's schedule, but surely he could spare a few hours once a month.
The 5 secrets of happy families
By Barbara Rowley, Parenting.com
October 28, 2009
(Parenting.com) -- In the hubbub of life with kids, it's amazing how fragile happiness can seem.
One minute everyone is enjoying breakfast together, and the next the orange juice is toppled and the drawing is ruined and nobody wants the pancakes anymore. Blown out of proportion by a cranky preschooler, sulking tween, or grudge-holding parent, a single mishap can expand into a gloom that lasts for hours.
This is why the spate of recent research into the actual science of happiness caught my attention. Juice puddles (and far worse) will always be with us, but, it turns out, they have little to do with how truly content a family is. Instead, as Tolstoy said, happy families actually are all alike -- at least in that they practice common habits that help inoculate them against setbacks large and small. The good news for the rest of us? Copying those might make us happier, too.
Seek Out Satisfaction in Your Choices
"I've never met a parent who will say she only wants what's 'good enough' for her kids," says Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, and author of the book "The Paradox of Choice." "But if happiness is your goal, that's exactly where you need to aim."
Schwartz's research shows that for many people, having multiple options and aspiring for the very best among them causes far more pain than gain. Schwartz calls these people "maximizers," and we all know them: They are the ones who can't enjoy the balcony at their beach hotel because they see a better balcony around the corner. more
The Huffington Post
The Smartest Guy in the Room
October 27, 2009
If New York was mother to many of the evildoers in the financial disaster that sent the economy into a tailspin, it's also home to an avenging angel for the millions of ordinary Americans who lost billions of dollars in the meltdown.
The guy with the wings and the sword also wears robes: He's federal Judge Jed Rakoff. The shock waves from Rakoff's scathing denunciation last month of a proposed settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bank of America are still rippling through Wall Street and Washington.
Lawyers who know Rakoff mention three qualities that mark his style as a jurist: intelligence, independence and a thoroughness that can turn the resolution of an apparently routine legal question into a day-long hearing.
"He is one of the best federal judges that I have ever seen," said criminal defense lawyer Gerald Shargel, "because he's the smartest guy in the room, he's painstakingly fair, and he never kowtows to the government."
Rakoff's strong suit is securities law. He was born in Philadelphia and, after graduating from Swarthmore in 1964, attended Oxford and Harvard Law School. According to friends and colleagues, he arrived in New York City in 1970 with a dual dream: He would work as a lawyer by day and by night write the book for a musical that would take Broadway by storm.
Despite Rakoff's love of lyrics, the law won out.
Swarthmore College runs the online version of its magazine on WordPress
Posted by Karine Joly
27 Oct 2009
Since I started this blog in February 2005 with its version 1.2, WordPress has become one of (probably the) best online publishing tool out there. Can you believe version 2.9 will be released in a couple of months?
Naturally, as higher ed print magazines have started to go digital or even paperless, more and more college editors choose WordPress to power the online version of their publications.
Swarthmore College Bulletin is a good example of this trend.
That's why I asked Nathan Stazewski, Web Multimedia Specialist at Swarthmore College's Communications/News & Information Office, to answer a few questions about the online magazine and its WordPress implementation.
1) What design theme did you use?
We used the BranfordMagazine theme as a jumping off point and highly modified both the look and functionality. Since WordPress is really a blogging platform, the most difficult part was getting it to pull together content from a single issue. This was accomplished by setting each post's "publish date" to be from the month of the appropriate issue (July 2009 magazine articles are all published with dates falling sometime in July 2009 even if we're preparing them in June). Long story short, our theme's custom coding is very specific to the way our magazine works.
2) How long did the implementation take?
Our implementation took around 4 months. Our Web Designer, Steve, worked on the look of the site and I worked on the backend.
4) What advice would you give colleagues creating an online version of a magazine using WordPress?
If someone was looking to use WordPress as the backend for their magazine, I would definitely suggest they use the BranfordMagazine theme as a starting point. Also, this project wouldn't have been possible without a PHP programmer and a great web designer. I think the fact that we had a programmer (myself) and a designer (Steve) really let us both work to our strengths which pushed out a much better product than if either one of us had to do the whole project ourselves.
La Grange Daily News
Nobel Prize an albatross?
When I voted for Barack Hussein Obama last November I voted for an elephant gun that would sweep the corruption, mendacity and militarism from the Cheney/Bush White House. Instead, to date at least, it seems we've wound up with a Daisy air rifle that scatters harmless shots in all directions.
Yes, I know, he's copped a Nobel Prize. But that, in poker parlance, is known as the come. You're sitting at the table with four cards hoping to hit an inside straight.
It's time to act boldly. Go all in with your ante. Shame your fellow Democrats.
* Education: If the dumbing down of America continues apace, our kids will have to start learning to speak Chinese and Indian. I'm closely acquainted with a young man, 17, who was home-schooled until he was nine. He has won a $42,000 a year scholarship to Swarthmore College in Philadelphia. The family has no TV. He reads. He plays the classical guitar. He loves learning. And he has a girlfriend.
Inside Our Schools: Theodore Sizer's Essential Schools
October 23, 2009
Theodore Sizer, who just passed away on Wednesay at the age of 77 (NYTimes, 10/23/09), was one of the more influential educators in the last two decades. He founded the Essential Schools movement in which he and other reformers such as John Dewey, the originator of modern education, believed, that "education must be rooted in democratic pluralism. ... Schools, he argued, should abandon the one-size-fits-all educational methods like standardized tests, grading, and even grouping of students into classes by age" (Times quote).
One of the schools that he inspired is the Urban Academy located in the Julia Richmond complex in Manhattan. According to its website: "classes have multi-aged, heterogenous groupings," and "students select classes from the Course Catalog on the basis of their interests, past courses and experiences, progression towards graduation and skill level - not solely on their grade level."
In an evaluation of the school by Inside Schools, an organization that visits and evaluates NYC schools, the Urban Academy is " . . . an unorthodox high school. ... Urban is a school that is able to take kids who have not been successful anywhere else and prepare them for graduation and subsequent achievement, in some cases at elite colleges, such as Brown and Swarthmore."