A couple of days ago, there were a whole bunch of Rosy Maple Moths around our porch light when I went out. I don't know what maple tree they might be visiting these days: the maple tree that used to live in our yard had to be cut down a few years ago and the one in the neighbors yard is dying -- maybe these moths are why.
My brother Phil has started making the transition to a full-time career as a writer. He wrote a posting on making a budget for a blogging site that helps people learn how to live frugally. Its a good fit for Phil to write about that stuff. He derives great pleasure from being frugal and when his current employment ends, he'll get to derive that pleasure full time.
This morning, as I had predicted, John Lombardi was officialized as the new president of LSU. Now we get to see how deep the rabbit hole is.
A few days ago, I got an announcement that the MSP was looking for stories about the need for professional development. It's been very frustrating to not have it for the past three years. The Romney administration, for the first time since I arrived at the University, refused to provide professional development as part of the collective bargaining agreement. They promised (in writing) however, to introduce a separate spending bill to make up the funds, but then reneged. Our bargaining team reportedly presented some 60 stories today about the opportunities the University is missing when professional development isn't available. Here's the story I wrote:
In the 10 years that I've been at the University, I generally presented papers at one to three conferences every year until the past contract didn't provide any professional development. Since then, I've had to be much choosier, presenting only when I received an invitation that would provide at least some of the travel or lodging expenses. I've passed up at least 5 opportunities to present over the past three years where I probably would have offered a paper if professional development funding had been available.
I would also like to respond to a comment I heard regarding concern over faculty purchases of video equipment with professional development funding being an inappropriate use of the money. I received a professional development grant from the president's office to purchase digital video equipment and gave several conference presentations about it. Here are the slides from one such presentations. Furthermore, I subsequently used the equipment for my students in the course I was teaching called "Information Technology in Biology Education" where the students would create 30 second "commercials" to illustrate biological concepts.
I also offered to send links to those -- unfortunately, they aren't collected anywhere, but they're a real scream. It was Ethel Stanley who gave me the idea of having students create videos as a form of persuasive presentation, because it was a form they were already familiar with and you could use it to talk about persuasion is important in science and what the differences are between trying to persuade a lay audience versus a scientific one. I hope we can convince them of the value of the professional development money. It really makes a huge difference.