Second-class PhD

"I never thought I'd be a second class citizen," he lamented. "Where I come from, education is the most important thing. A man with a PhD is respected, listened to." He shook his head gravely. "What did I do to cause such treatment, that I wouldn't be listened to by my colleagues?" He dug a … Continue reading Second-class PhD

Conversations with My Son: on Death and Becoming an Angel

"Mommy, why do people die?" he asks me as he snuggles next to me just before falling asleep. "Well," I tell him, "people get sick and they get hurt, and sometimes that causes them to die." His body starts to hitch with tears, so I pull him closer. "My grandpa died!" he sobs, and I … Continue reading Conversations with My Son: on Death and Becoming an Angel

America’s Cemeteries are Filled with Good Folks

We lose students all too often at Chico State. Some die from accidents, some from overdose, some by their own hand. Not many die as Melinda Driggers did last Thursday, though, on campus, in the middle of the day, in the middle of our Student Services Center. We got an email Monday from the University, … Continue reading America’s Cemeteries are Filled with Good Folks

The Toothache

“The Toothache” is excerpted from Marianne Paiva’s book Breathe: Essays from a Recovering Paramedic which tells of her life as a paramedic in rural areas of northern California in the 1990s. This particular story tells of the time she was called to take a man by ambulance with a toothache to the emergency room at … Continue reading The Toothache

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr – Letter from Birmingham Jail

I remember the first time I had the horror and pleasure of reading Martin Luther King Jr's, Letter from Birmingham Jail. I was somewhere in graduate school, buried in the depth's of Taylor Branch's epic Parting the Waters, when a passage that Branch mentioned drove me to find the letter King wrote in the margins of … Continue reading Remembering Martin Luther King Jr – Letter from Birmingham Jail

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr – I Have a Dream

As a writer, I have an obsession with words, speech, poetry, songs…really, anything written or spoken or sung. My dream class to teach would be one that would analyze great speeches in history, and analyze them given their context in time and place. We would analyze one speech a week, and try to understand why … Continue reading Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr – I Have a Dream

The McDonaldization of Higher Education

George Ritzer proposed one of the most significant contemporary sociological theories when he developed the theory of McDonaldization. We have a tendency to McDonaldize, or rationalize traditional processes in Western culture. We like being able to bet on an outcome following a set pattern of small steps, that lead to a larger outcome. Through this … Continue reading The McDonaldization of Higher Education

Jackie Robinson, Curt Flood, and the Great American Past time

In college, the most fascinating class I had the pleasure of being part of was an undergraduate elective called Sport and Society (sorry Tony Waters). An Education professor by the name of Don Chu taught the class, and I took it because I thought it would be an easy A and I could harass all … Continue reading Jackie Robinson, Curt Flood, and the Great American Past time

The end of the semester, again

The end of the semester is always bittersweet for a college lecturer. Unlike elementary and high school teachers, college instructors go through a cycle of 16-week long relationships with different classes. I teach, on average, 4 to 5 classes each semester, with a total of 220 to 250 students per semester. It’s a lot of … Continue reading The end of the semester, again

Putting things into perspective

Today, I hosted an "end of semester" celebration for ten students and their peer mentor at my house. I cooked and baked and put on Christmas music but honestly, wasn't looking forward to it this morning. Yesterday was a rough day, I didn't sleep well last night, and I'm generally just not feeling well, but … Continue reading Putting things into perspective