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Pick a Header Color, Any Color!

Do you like how my “David W. Boles’ WordPress Blog” header looks?

You can have it, too!

Go into your PRESENTATION menu on and then choose the “WordPress Default 1.5” theme and then once that theme is active you choose “Current Theme Options” while still in PRESENTATION view and there you can do yer a’ pickin’!

Rise of Credentialism

The rise of credentialism is an onerous and angry philosophy of separation forced upon the “have nots” by the “already haves.” That phony-on-the-surface and irresistible-in-the-depths separation of people by paper is an ominous cloud along the horizon of our educated humanity because this is a separation not by talent or ability or deeds but by theory and strategy and if you doubt it there is a growing diploma trail to prove my point. I have an MFA degree from Columbia University.

An MFA means “Master of Fine Arts.” An MFA differs from an MA degree in two ways. The first is the degree moves beyond theory and into the technical aspects of the art: I can not only describe how colors affect a dramatic presentation I can design and implement them as well. Second, an MFA degree, because of the technical aspect, is considered a “terminal” degree in that, like a PhD, you have reached the end of the road in your trip for knowledge and because you have touched that terminal end you are certified by the system of academe that you are worthy of being hired on a full line tenure track.

At least that’s the way it is supposed to work in theory. In the last five years there has been a sea change in academe as the basic requirements for applying for a tenure track position at a major research university have shifted. Most job announcements used to say “MFA or PhD preferred.”

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Passionate Mind and Intellectual Heart

When I first started teaching at a small liberal arts college on the East Coast I knew I was unprepared for student interaction. I didn’t know how to create a syllabus. I didn’t know how to grade students. I had no clue how to speak to them. I was a last-minute emergency appointment for a freshman English composition course and when I talked to my boss about going into the classroom feeling so totally unprepared, he said, “Just teach them what you know,” and with those words of encouragement he kicked me out of his office and down the hall into my classroom.
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Pareidolia and a Face in the Cloud

Pareidolia is an interesting phenomenon that reveals how our human minds are programmed to give randomized visual and audible forms experientially recognizable features like faces, spoken meaning and known objects.

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Mr. Grumpy Goes Blogging Again

In my post Mr. Grumpy Goes Blogging I set out a few suggestions to help people build better blogs.  Today, Mr. Grumpy Returns to share some additional suggestions. A few of these ideas come from readers of the original article who wanted to add their own nuggets of advice for creating great blogs by avoiding common pitfalls. 

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Promise Before Dying

I have permission to tell this story.

I am sharing this with you because it was a human moment that shocked the core of me with quiet tremors.

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Make Yourself a Blank Page

The task of living is can be difficult as the world in which we spin becomes smaller, time speeds up, and the distance between people and cultures shrink. Now, more than ever, we need to find ways to achieve common ground beyond ideology and narrow value sets.

Rutgers-Newark has one of the most diverse student body populations of any university in the world. In fact, Rutgers-Newark won awards in the past for several years in a row for having the most diverse student body in the nation. The great thing about teaching at Rutgers-Newark is that everyone is a minority.

No one can claim majority rule by culture or ethnicity or regional flavor. That kind of “minority rule” can teach great lessons that cross color lines and cultural obstacles unlike any other place I have previously experienced. One precious thing we are losing in current university experiences is the loss of individuality in favor of the requirement to be politically correct to the point where the world becomes grey and differences and dissent are discouraged so no one will be offended.

Continue reading → Make Yourself a Blank Page