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Mahatma Gandhi, (attributed)
Indian ascetic & nationalist leader (1869 - 1948)
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"
You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), "Back to Methuselah" (1921), part 1, act 1
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.
When they locked up the incurably sick, I remained silent; I was not incurably sick.
When they came for the Jehovah's Witnesses, I did not speak out; I was not a Jehovah's Witnesses.
When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for the people in occupied countries, I remained silent; I wasn't a person in an occupied country.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
Version based on Rev. Pastor Martin Niemöller's (1892–1984) 1946 speeches. see Prof. Harold Marcuse's Niemöller Quotation Page for an explanation.
In the search for character and commitment, we must rid ourselves of our inherited, even cherished biases and prejudices. Character, ability and intelligence are not concentrated in one sex over the other, nor in persons with certain accents or in certain races or in persons holding degrees from some universities over others. When we indulge ourselves in such irrational prejudices, we damage ourselves most of all and ultimately assure ourselves of failure in competition with those more open and less biased.
J. Irwin Miller, Chairman of the Board (1951-1977), Cummins Inc. From 1983 letter about diversity at the company.
Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.
J. C. Watts
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January 04, 2012
Current thinking on blogging and tenure
This morning's reading brought an interesting discussion of the possible ways that blogging could be evaluated as part of a tenure process, viaBud Goodall. The article Bud cites refers to the primary source Thoughts on Blogging for Tenure and is an excellent discussion of the issue that continue to surround blogging as an academic and knowledge dissemination activity.
Here’s what I would hope would happen for reviews of candidates with a blog or other digital work as part of their dossier (and this is how I’d mentor my junior colleagues or evaluate such dossiers as an internal or external reviewer): the candidate needs to make the contexts of their digital work incredibly clear, explaining the relationship between this mode of publication to other forms, in terms of audience, subsequent versions, parameters for review, goals for why they pursue such forms, etc. If there is a peer review aspect, the candidate needs to clarify exactly how that works and how evaluators might understand the review functions – that might be explaining that it’s a traditional blind review journal published online, an open-review site like MediaCommons, or a self-hosted comment thread like on a blog. The more clarity of context that the candidate can bring to their own work, the better, as we should assume that a candidate understands their own publishing platforms better than a review committee or external reviewers – and I think this is a way that junior faculty can educate more senior faculty & administrators as to why digital publishing can be a scholarly asset.
For review committees or external letter writers, it is essential to try to understand the context for every item in a dossier as presented by the candidate. Ideally, we would approach new formats with an open mind, not trying to apply the standards of older forms onto new platforms (unless we’re invited to by the candidate). We should try to evaluate the content of every piece regardless of its publication or review status, and then try to understand the contexts that provide some evidence of its value to the field. When review material like open-review discussions or comment threads are available, we should read them as well, in the context of the platform as framed by the candidate. We cannot rely on outsourcing evaluation to unseen blind reviewers and assuming that if a university press or established print journal has published something, its value is assured—nor should we assume the opposite, that the lack of traditional review & publication is evidence of lacking value. And when a candidate does embrace digital publishing, we should make the case for its value—to quote one review I did for a candidate who maintains a blog: “I believe his blog has helped him establish a solid reputation within media studies as an emerging scholar. While self-published commentary is not “tenurable” work per se, I do believe it is part a broader part of a scholar’s commitment to disseminating knowledge and promoting critical engagement with culture, and as such should be commended and encouraged.
Resuscitating the old blog
The New Year is just past as are the annual days of reflection. I don't do resolutions any more...they never worked for me. In truth the only tool that ever worked to get me to change a habit is a 30-day commitment to changing it...then I reevaluate at the end of the period.
So welcome to my month long commitment to blogging. For the next month I commit to blogging at least three times a week - hopefully more - and then we will see where we are at the end of the month.