Tag Archives: south bend

Speaking of grading…

…it’s not really good to farm out your grading tasks to a person who is not an employee of your university, as one faculty member at  IU-South Bend apparently has done:

Professor Otis B. Grant faces sanctions as a result of student complaints that he allowed a nonemployee to grade student work and access student academic records, a potential violation of federal privacy laws.

Students also complained that Grant used foul language in class, improperly canceled classes and dismissed two students from a course without due process.

The investigation did not determine the identity of Riane Hunter, the name used by a woman who identified herself as Grant’s graduate assistant. Students said she graded and signed their academic papers and sent instructions to the class from Grant’s campus e-mail address.

No one named Riane Hunter is employed by IUSB or has ever been enrolled at any IU campus, according to IU administrators. Students said Grant referred to a woman named Riane Hunter as his graduate assistant for several years, but no student has come forward who met her in person.

Indeed, some of the IUSB administrators are not even sure if “Riane Hunter” even exists. Read the whole article, which describes even more lurid behavior, such as summarily expelling students from a course and refusing to let students see their final exams. And yet, he was granted tenure and even won teaching awards as recently as 2005. If any one of those allegations are true, is it any wonder that the general public has such a negative view of higher education?

Ironically, Prof. Grant teaches “law and society” and affiliates himself with the “Institute for the Study of Race, Law and Public Policy” and the “Center for Leadership, Law and Culture”. The latter appears to be fictitious, based on newspaper investigation. The former has a web site here with almost nothing on it, with the exception of Prof. Grant’s credentials, which describe him as “a critical socio-legal theorist and psychoanalyst whose work focuses on the intersection of culture, jurisprudence, leadership and power” with “a particular interest in legal (un)consciousness”.

Indeed, you’d have to be pretty legally unconscious to think that you can hire out your grading and evaluations to a non-employee of the university and not violate FERPA in a hundred different ways.

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Filed under Higher ed, Life in academia, Teaching

An outside look at college football

At Culture11, Alex Massie muses on an unlikely sports obsession for a Scotsman: American college football. Here’s one of several insightful observations, appropriate for this opening day of the season:

There is [a] permanence to college football that is comparable to European soccer or rugby. True, sports teams in Europe have owners, but their sides are held in trust, beholden to the supporters and the communities that hold them dear. It is all but unthinkable that their teams could be moved as a result of an owner’s whim. Even in an age in which sport has become big business, there’s an identity and belonging that endures, rooted in a keen sense of place. College fans know this feeling, because it is their feeling too.

Read the whole thing. It makes me think back to the four years I lived in South Bend in my first job out of graduate school. Those Saturdays when there was a Notre Dame home game were horrible for traffic, and forget about having out-of-town visitors; but the whole atmosphere of the city had this happy charge to it (even in those beginning-of-the-end Bob Davie years), and the one home game I actually attended was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had. It made you glad to live in South Bend, which is not an easy thing to pull off.

It’s easy to focus on those instances of college athletics where the sports programs have basically taken over the school, crossing the line from co-curricular to super-curricular. But college sports, football especially, remain a powerful means for students and communities to identify with universities in a way that you don’t usually see with academics. And don’t forget that you can’t be dumb and be a good football player at the same time.

[ht Phi Beta Cons]

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Filed under Higher ed, Life in academia

Hillary rejected in South Bend on educational grounds

Indiana, usually a non-factor in Presidential politics because the lateness of our primary, has suddenly become a hot place to visit by Democratic candidates. But it looks like Hillary will have to keep on looking for a place to stop in South Bend tomorrow:

South Bend school officials have rejected a request by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to hold a rally in the Washington High School gym on Friday.

South Bend Community School Corp. board President Sheila Bergerson says Clinton’s visit would have interfered with the school day. She says plans called for juniors and seniors to attend the public rally.

School board members denied the request Wednesday night. Bergerson says she worried that the school corporation would give the impression it was endorsing Clinton.

Kudos to Washington HS for saying “no” to a disruption in the school day. And anyway, how is it that Presidential candidates can commandeer publicly-funded schools, during school hours, for campaign events? (Obama held a rally at Plainfield High School a couple of weeks ago, but it was on a Saturday.)

I’m going to be in South Bend tomorrow for the sectional MAA meetings. I wonder where Hillary will end up? I recommend here, although it would be hard to get up and rally the troops afterwards.

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Filed under Education, High school