Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Year! Oh, and SACS

Dear blogospherians, cyberdenizens, and hypertextuals,

Here's hoping your 2010 is a happy and productive one! I've had a lovely and relaxing two week break, in which to read and write and do the inevitable projects around the house. At some point I came across an article about why we humans behave inconsistently. For example, we may have fabulous will power one day to stick to a diet, and then throw it out the window the next. The explanation in this psychology piece was that we have what you might call different personalities that inhabit our cranial chambers at different times. This sounds creepy and like something out of a horror film, but it was meant in a mild sense. Whatever the case, I decided to embrace that idea and just read sci-fi novels and not think about work for two weeks, and boy did it feel good. I discovered Richard K. Morgan, Charles Stross, and Jack McDevitt. Now I have a stack of unread books by these gentlemen that will take me months to read. At the bitter end I did some writing myself on a novel that progresses asymptotically (i.e. only to be finished if there is infinite time available).

If you are in the south, the Southern Association needs no introduction. There is now a list serv to share ideas about accreditation issues thanks to Patrick S. Williams, PhD, Associate VP for Institutional Effectiveness, University of Houston-Downtown. This is very welcome! You can sign up here (instructions copied from Pat's email):
To subscribe:
- Send an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UHD.EDU (Caps not required; I'm
only using them for clarity.)
- You can leave the subject line blank.
- In the body of the email write SUBSCRIBE SACS-L YOURFIRSTNAME
YOURLASTNAME (Be sure to substitute YOUR first & last names.)
- It's best (but not essential) to delete your signature or anything
else that follows the SUBSCRIBE message.
Note that the listserv isn't actually moderated by SACS officials--they tend to hint and nudge rather than come out and say anything that's not official policy (and for good reason). But the crowdsourcing of experts from member institutions is a wonderful way to solve problems. Ultimately, it would be really nice to have something like StackOverflow for accreditation issues. It's a very smart interface for group problem solving. The overhead is considerably higher than that for a listserv, however, and it requires a large body of consistent users to be of much good.

In other news, there's an interesting comment exchange on my post "Assessment and Automation". Scroll to the bottom to see it.

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