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Vignettes and followups

Once in a while, people mention the musings to me or something happens that is related to the musings. None of these incidents or follow-up events is worth its own musing, but perhaps the various vignettes are worth combining into a musing.

A few weeks ago, there was a Scholars Convocation in which the speaker discussed the effect of peer pressure on how people behave. The studies were interesting, such as the effects on students’ decisions whether or not to take SAT prep classes based on how they thought their peer groups would react. As usual, I encouraged students to attend and to write a short note for a modicum of extra credit. One wrote the following note.

The Friday PSA makes a lot of sense now. Simply letting people know they are not alone in making choices is a brilliant solution.

I love when things I do come together. I really appreciate the student’s insight. I also like when my subconscious is smarter than I am [1].

The other day, a student I don’t know [2] stopped me and said Professor Rebelsky. I read your musings. You write really well. I’m not sure that my response was the most appropriate: Thank you, but you need higher standards.

Last week, I wrote about the status of preregistration period. Prereg is now over. Eight of my advisees are going abroad. I managed to get the remaining 46 of them registered! I also helped one more student who was having difficulty registering. Now, I just have to look forward to the post-registration chaos when they get cut from classes.

A week ago, I ranted about the time of the pre-Thanksgiving shuttle. The College has now added an afternoon shuttle. Is there a connection to the message I sent to the Dean? Probably.

I was at a presentation a few days ago. A faculty member who I didn’t know reads my musing looked back at me and said Like you, I’m behind on grading. Now I look back, and I see that you’re grading while listening. I’m finding that more people read my musings than I know.

A few days ago, I was talking about something with a colleague and my musings came up. They asked me a strange question. Did you know that when you Google Grinnell and another term, your musing are often one of the top ten results? I don’t think that’s true [3]. But if it is, it’s scary.

About a year ago, I wrote about how much I hate the term Best Practices. I still do. And HR continues to use Best Practices in ways that seem anything other than Best, such as their recent decision to cut benefits to one group of staff. Perhaps we should think about Best in terms of what is best for people, rather than best for the bottom line.

I recently noted that I’ve taught a surprisingly large number of student credit hours and then realized that the metric does not fair to faculty who teach lab courses. It looks like the legendary Elaine Marzluff taught nearly as many SCH’s as I did and she was chair of the faculty during two years of that period. Thanks for your hard work for the College, Elaine!

Grinnell continues to prioritize improving our already-high completion rate [4]. I’ve noted in the past that, with the exception of Carleton, the peer institutions with higher rates are on the coasts. At a recent discussion of this issue, now termed Student Success, a faculty member noted that the peer institutions with higher completion rates all have a lower student-faculty ratio. I wonder if the administration will want to do anything about improving our student-faculty ratio [5]?

Yeah, that’s about enough for now. After a dozen or so more build up. I’ll write another set of vignettes.

[1] Or is it that Jen Jacobsen and Angela Voos are smarter than I am. After all, they are the ones who encouraged me to do the Friday PSAs.

[2] Or at least I don’t think I know.

[3] I searched for Apply to Grinnell and didn’t see anything.

[4] I think our six-year graduation rate is currently between 85% and 90%, a number that is the envy of most institutions.

[5] Hah! No.

Version 1.0 of 2017-11-18.