La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Professor fantasies

Are pretty G-rated.

posted by Michelle @ 10:19 AM, 3 comments

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Johnston HS to reopen as Eastside Memorial

My alma mater was closed in June and will be reopening as a 'new' school in the fall.

posted by Michelle @ 7:26 PM, 1 comments

Thinking about data

The following observation in Grant McCracken's musing on the qual/quant debate in business echoes an uneasiness of my students in globalization class:
The numbers people sneer at the hopeless imprecision of a world without numbers. The concept people believe that anyone who waits for the world to manifest its intentions in numbers will have waited too late.

In class, it wasn't just that sometimes the data we analyze or use to measure the extent or impact of globalization are sometimes several years old, but also that much of our academic writing on the subject is outdated by the time it reaches press.

Nevermind the implications for a field like political science, which seems to be creeping ever more steadily toward the quantitative end of the qual/quant spectrum.

posted by Michelle @ 3:52 PM, 0 comments

Monday, August 11, 2008

Students today

This is a nice video about today's college students.

posted by Michelle @ 2:12 PM, 0 comments

Do you hold your breath?

When you get ready to read your course evaluations? I do. Even if I think a class went well and am happy with my students' overall performance, I'm still oddly affected by even one harsh or cruel comment--like a punch in the stomach. I don't get them often (and usually have a good guess as to which student made the comment, especially if they make the same grammatical errors that I've seen all term in their papers), but they still are like a right hook out of left field. (How's that for mixing metaphors?)

Anyway, just read my comments from summer school, and there were no sour grapes or right hooks. Instead, I got:
Great teacher. I really enjoyed the structure of class. Being able to discussed what we read was a big help in understanding the material. I think that I also learned more critical reading skills in understanding complex material.
Professor Dion was an amazingly effective teacher and really helped explain complex material that I never would have understood on my own. I felt like I was really learning beneficial and pertinent material in this class that would help me in the ''real world.'' This course was challenging but also very rewarding!

I felt like I learned a lot in the course without the addition of unnecessary stress. In other words, though the material was challenging and the reading was time consuming, it seemed very proportional to what I was actually getting out of the class.
That just goes to show that students sometimes do want to learn and like to be challenged, at least at Tech anyway.

I'm just relieved because these will be my last set of course eval scores to be added to my tenure packet.

posted by Michelle @ 9:59 AM, 1 comments

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cool funk

You should check out my buddy's mp3 blog. He also has a record store in Austin that I have yet to visit.

posted by Michelle @ 6:46 PM, 1 comments

Friday, August 01, 2008

Eerie parallels

My mom really likes watching The Golden Girls. She leaves it on late at night. Having sat through a number of episodes over the last couple of years, I have come to realize that the Golden Girls were really just the women from Sex and the City in their retirement years.

Samantha Jones becomes Blanche Devereaux.
Charlotte York becomes Rose Nylund.
Miranda Hobbes becomes Dorothy Zbornak.
And finally, Sophia Petrillo becomes Carrie Bradshaw.

I could go through several specific similarities, but sitting and watching a couple episodes of each would probably provide more compelling evidence.

posted by Michelle @ 6:25 PM, 1 comments

Mexico City slideshow

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