11 September 2009

Status Report

The cold seems to be 99.9% gone now.

We killed the cavern chokers, and Heian eventually found their stash of loot ... while Dovra attacked walls with thunder randomly, once learning that a particular section was ten feet thick, and once dazing herself. Strangely, thunder isn't good to use against walls in very small, narrow tunnels. The rest of the party wandered off into the labyrinth, and managed to defeat 4 "wolfogryphs" (part wolf, part eagle), a giant ant, and two bloodrat-spiderswarms. No luck solving the labyrinth yet, but Dovra will head in there next time we meet. She's a bit irritated at the moment.

I gave the same test to two classes this morning. In the 8:00 am class, I had 10 or so students still hanging on as the class ended, and very very few who left early. I figured that meant I had made the test a wee bit too long. In the 11:00 am class, I only had 3 students still there at time, and only 2 kept working for the five minutes before I felt like I had to let the next class into the room. That's a reasonable number; 10 is not. I don't know if the 8:00 am students were less awake and thus slower, or if the 11:00 am students were just more interested in lunch and thus ready to give up more quickly. I'll have to consider grades very carefully on these.

In the Math 108 center, today was the first quiz deadline, so I figured we'd have a steady stream of business. We didn't. We never had more than 5 students in there at once, and for most of the time, it was just one student at a time. Usually in the fall, everyone's a bit panicked and coming in for last minute help, particularly on the very first quiz. I'm not sure why this semester is different.

In other news, apparently our misbegotten president, aka Frank Burns, has been quoted as saying he wants to turn ISU into "the MIT" of the something-west. This is a bit like saying you want to turn your rickety old garage into the Taj Mahal. The translation of the statement is that he wants ISU to become a top-notch research institution. To do that, apparently, lots of graduate students are required, and qualified instructors are an unnecessary luxury. It's worth noticing that he waited until after his 3-year contract had been renewed to start axing people randomly. The current thinking is that he's trying to pad his resume to get himself a cushy job somewhere far away from here when those three years are up. I want to see him crash and burn for this. ISU has been primarily an education institution. I don't object to increasing its research capabilities, but I do object to doing so at the expense of basic education. Also, Burns has overlooked one rather important detail: you also need faculty to, ya know, teach and supervise the grad students. Maybe he thinks that grad students just show up and create research with no guidance. Who knows at this point.

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