Wednesday, August 30, 2017


I went to a meeting, today.  We were discussing the "learning goals" around research papers.  My department head had a grading rubric with 11 things on it, regarding such.  I'd already gotten this through email, and had skimmed through it thinking "Do that already.  Yep.  Yep.  Yep.  Oh, and that one, too."  I figured today would be a waste of time.

Come to find out today, about half the people in the meeting do half the things on the rubric when teaching the research assignment, and not the same half between them.  Some things were left totally untouched. 




These people ALL teach the same class I teach.  All of them teach research papers.  Nobody mentions other citation styles than MLA in conjunction with major.  Nobody works on integrating source credibility in their lectures.  Few discuss currency and relevance regarding the sources.  Few discuss actually pulling the information together into a coherent argument, or looking at how different sources use and offer different types of evidence.  They all simply focus (over-focus?) on the technical: you cite the source only and exactly like this, but only in this situation, and your bib is called Works Cited, and you must do this, this, and this, in this order, or it's wrong.

I...have just had further illustrated to me exactly why English departments are fading in relevance to EVERY OTHER FREAKIN' DEPARTMENT on campus.

We have ONE job that the campus as a whole deems even remotely valuable.  And we're falling down on it.

We (they) are not doing our damn jobs.  


  1. Strunk And White! Strunk And White! Strunk And White!

    1. One of my colleagues teaches directly from that. His students are usually very strong on sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. It's easy as pie to take it from there and guide them through improving their focus, purpose, organization, development, and tone.

  2. Wow... But I guess I'm not surprised anymore... sigh

    1. I wasn't really surprised. Saddened and horrified, but not surprised. This is the results of handing education over to the far left, with incremental decreases in quality year by year. I had a professor who gained his doctorate from Harvard in '63. He read classical Greek and Latin as well as French, German, and Italian.

      I can stumble along in Old English and in Spanish. I can cuss in a few other languages.

      We've all been cheated, horrifically, when you compare current educations to those held by voters in the early days of the nation, most of whom had somewhere between a 5th and 8th grade education.


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