Obama invokes history in eulogy for Charleston pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney

President Obama’s rhetoric about history in his eulogy at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the College of Charleston’s campus.

Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the south, we have a deep appreciation of history. We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”

What is true in the south is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other; that my liberty depends on you being free, too.

That — that history can’t be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, how to break the cycle, a roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind. But more importantly, an open heart.

Source: Transcript: Obama delivers eulogy for Charleston pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney

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Less humanities for engineers ?

At times I get the feeling that my colleagues in math and the sciences don’t value the type of learning and knowledge that is taught in history, literature, and political science.  I’m really pleased to see this group of engineering faculty standing up for the idea that their students will be less valuable as employees (and perhaps as members of society) with a general education that doesn’t require coursework in the humanities.

Of course at the heart of this change is the idea of ‘accreditation’ and having demonstrable learning competencies.  This is just one of hundreds of examples of how the demand that colleges “prove” students know something is actually weakening students’ educations.

Source: Faculty members criticize proposed changes to gen ed accreditation standards for engineers | InsideHigherEd

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…not if you consider history as something alive that can live and breathe and bleed.

We should speak of it as an attack on history, which it was. This was the church founded by Denmark Vesey, who planned a slave revolt in 1822. Vesey was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. On Wednesday night, someone turned it into a slaughter pen.

We should speak of it as an assault on the idea of a political commonwealth, which is what it was. And we should speak of it as one more example of all of these, another link in a bloody chain of events that reaches all the way back to African wharves and Southern docks. It is not an isolated incident, not if you consider history as something alive that can live and breathe and bleed.

Source: Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable

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APP That Can Predict GPA

A Dartmouth faculty member has produced an APP that monitors student behavior – study time, partying, sleeping, exercise, etc. – to determine what a student’s GPA will be at the end of the semester.  As far as I can tell, the APP has not been released to the public, but some of the take away points is that high performing students tend to limit conversations at the end of the semester and spend more time studying than partying.

Source: StudentLife Study

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History of Eductional Accountability

Interesting story on how the educational accountability movement began in the progressive era and why teachers have not been able to resist or stand up to it.  The author, however, suggests that higher education has been able to resist the accountability movement, but anyone involved in reaccreditation at a college or university knows that isn’t true anymore.

Source: Education reformers have it all wrong: Accountability from above never works, great teaching always does – Salon.com

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Using Team-Based Inquiry to Teach Research Skills in the Humanities

Interesting story from Inside Higher Education about a way of teaching research skills in the Humanities.  The inquiry approach is something I could see using in Historiography, not sure about team-based research though.

Source: Trying Team-Based Inquiry to Teach Research Skills in the Humanities | GradHacker | InsideHigherEd

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Technology and Higher Education

Great Chronicle of Higher Education piece about how technology can not address inequalities in education, because it does not have the power to inspire the motivation that students require to succeed.  Moreover, technology without a trained and dedicated instructor also fails to  achieve highest of outcomes.

Source: Why Technology Will Never Fix Education – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Associate Professor of History, Berry College