Thursday, October 08, 2009

In which reading takes on a whole new meaning

I feel like I've finally got my "for pleasure" reading mojo back, and suddenly I have a bunch of reading to do for work. Of course I'd like to say that the work reading I have to do is pleasurable, but I am just not sure. Here is what's coming up:

  • A History of American Higher Education by John R. Thelin
  • Radicalizing the Ebony Tower: Black College and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi by Joy A. Williamson
  • Going Coed: Women's Experiences in Formerly Men's Colleges and Universities, 1950-2000 by Leslie Miller-Bernal & Susan L. Poulson
  • The Diverted Dream: Community Colleges and the Promise of Educational Opportunity in America 1900-1985 by Steven Brint
  • Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the Present by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
  • The Rise of Universities by Charles Homer Haskins
  • And a yet to be named book about the history of intercollegiate sports

Whew! Fortunately, I've read at least parts of three of the books, but in order to actually teach a history class I'm going to have to read a little closer and for greater comprehension! This reading doesn't include finding additional articles for the class, planning out activities and assignments, and developing the syllabus. This may very well be the hardest course I have to teach.

My goal for this course is to make it interesting, personal, and meaningful. No one wants to memorize a series of names and dates -- history should be full of fascinating stories about the individuals that lived during the periods we study, and their stories should illuminate the larger social movements. I also hope to be able to give students the tools to take what we know from our historical roots of higher education and apply it to the current issues we are facing. Sounds like a big job and I hope I'm up to the task!

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