Ten Years Since the Shooting at Virginia Tech

April 16, 2007 is one of those dates of national tragedy that seem to mark a point in time where we can say things will never be the same again. It has been ten years since that horrific day when a mentally troubled student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 and wounded 17 more. In today’s post, I want to remember the events of April 16th and reflect on where we’ve come in higher education since that time.

Ten Years Since the Shooting at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Memorial – Photo Credit: Alan Levine

There was Columbine before and Sandy Hook after (and countless other tragedies throughout), but the shooting at Virginia Tech was an event that shocked the nation generally and higher education specifically.

I suspect all of us that were teaching during that time wondered what we would do if that had happened to one of our classes.

There was anger, frustration, and above all, sadness.

My favorite tools

I often have friends and colleagues ask me about my take on various tools and programs that I use.  Each of these are for Mac as I work completely on that platform.  I frequently consider adding or changing tools and this list is kept up-to-date (at the top of the page) with my current favorites.

The Future of University Credentials

American higher education today may be influenced more by hiring and vocational outcomes than any other time in history. Policy makers, students, and families look to postsecondary education to improve their chances of getting hired. A new book by Sean Gallagher looks at these issues and provides a thoughtful analysis of the future of university credentials. In today’s post, I want to share a book review of his work for those that may be interested in learning more about this important topic.

Photo credit: Franck Michel

Scott Walker and Republicans try to increase faculty teaching

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is joining Republicans in other states across the country in seeking to push professors to earn their salaries by teaching more. Walker cites raising college costs and a decrease in the among of time professors spend in the classroom. In today’s post, I am sharing a thoughtful piece by the Associated Press that looks at Walker’s proposal as well as similar efforts in other states. I provided background information and a quote to the story.

Scott Walker pushes faculty

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Republicans Press Professors to Spend More Time Teaching

By Todd Richmond

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin chemistry professor Robert Hamers has a jam-packed day ahead: an hourlong lecture, a conference call with colleagues about nanotechnology, meetings and plans to check on students in the lab.

Backward design can help you plan your research

Research is more than simply collecting data and writing up results. Particularly if you’re a pre-tenure assistant professor looking to establish your research agenda, research is also about planning and arranging your publications. Without a sufficient guide, you can miss opportunities or fall short of your institution’s research expectations for tenure and beyond. In today’s post, I want to share how backward design can help you plan your research activities.

backward design can help you plan your research

Photo credit: Paul Albertella

Backward design is an approach to curriculum development that calls for creating learning goals and then working backward from those goals to determine instructional methods and assessments.

The goal with backward design is to teach toward specific goals which helps to focus and organization a course. Backward design provides a roadmap to guide the instructor.

Similarly, backward design can help you develop a roadmap for your research activities.