Conceptual Art on Global Warming

 Posted by on 23 October 2007 at 6:21 am  Academia
Oct 232007


TO: All CU-Boulder Students

FROM: Center for Energy & Environmental Security, University of Colorado Law School

SENDER: [email protected]

DATE: 10/22/07

SUBJECT: Famous Artist Lectures on Climate Change

What: The Art of Climate Change
Where: Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law
When: Oct. 25, 7:00 – 8:15 p.m., Free Event

Dear CU-Boulder Students:

Climate change is arguably the defining environmental and social issue of the 21st century. You are invited to attend a special lecture by Ms. Lucy Lippard on the use of art to impact climate change. Ms. Lippard is an internationally renowned writer, activist, curator, and acclaimed art critic.

This is not a lecture about the science of climate change; nor is it a lecture about laws and policies dealing with climate change.

Rather, this distinguished lecture is about the use of conceptual art to illuminate our understanding of the environmental, social and political dimensions of climate change; and perhaps more importantly, the ability of art to substantially influence our response to the challenges posed by climate change.

Ms. Lippard’s lecture, entitled “Weather Report: Art and Climate Change,” will present imaginative and inspiring collaborations between acclaimed artists and world-class scientists designed to address, in a variety of ways, the issue of climate change. In a New York Times article published on Sept. 23, 2007, Ms. Lippard commented on these collaborations: “The critics used to say that conceptual art brings in too much other stuff, too many ideas. I love the idea that art can become something that acts in the world.”

Please join us in welcoming and learning from our distinguished guest, Ms. Lucy Lippard.

For more information on this event, please visit:

Oh, how I do love the auto-parody!

Oct 102007

Hamline University Student Suspended After Advocating Concealed Carry for Students: School Orders Psychological Evaluation:

Hamline University has suspended a student after he sent an e-mail suggesting that the Virginia Tech massacre might have been stopped if students had been allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. Student Troy Scheffler is now required to undergo a mandatory “mental health evaluation” before being allowed to return to school. Scheffler, who was suspended without due process just two days after sending the e-mail, has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.



 Posted by on 14 September 2007 at 9:45 pm  Academia
Sep 142007

As of today, I am officially a Ph.D candidate in the Philosophy Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder. (In other words, the faculty has determined that I’ve completed all the requirements of the Ph.D except the dissertation.)


Mark your calendars, as graduation is scheduled for May 2009, come hell or high water!

Freshman Student Stabbed by Crazy Guy at CU Boulder

 Posted by on 27 August 2007 at 10:52 am  Academia
Aug 272007

Well, I’m rather glad that I’m not on campus for the first day of classes today: CU student stabbed at UMC on first day of classes. (I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I’m not on campus on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays. I’m often in and around the UMC though.)

Happily, the student doesn’t seem to be seriously injured. He’s definitely in better shape all-around than the crazy guy who stabbed himself multiple times after stabbing the student.

My Worth

 Posted by on 3 August 2007 at 6:07 pm  Academia
Aug 032007

Well, I’m pleased to find out that I’m worth slightly more as a graduate instructor in philosophy at CU Boulder than as a corpse:

$4575.00The Cadaver Calculator – Find out how much your body is worth.

Ward Churchill, Begone!

 Posted by on 25 July 2007 at 7:33 am  Academia
Jul 252007

Thank goodness:

TO: CU-Boulder Students

FROM: Office of the President

SENDER: [email protected]

DATE: 07/24/07

SUBJECT: Communication from President Hank Brown on the Board of Regents Vote

Dear Students of the University of Colorado,

The Board of Regents today voted to accept my recommendation to dismiss Professor Ward Churchill from the faculty.

I made the recommendation for the good of the university. CU’s success depends upon its reputation for academic integrity. A public research university such as ours requires public faith that each faculty member’s professional activities and search for truth are conducted according to the high standards on which CU’s reputation rests.

We are accountable to those who have a stake in the university: the people of Colorado who contribute $200 million annually in tax dollars, the federal entities that provide some $640 million annually in research funding, the donors who gave us more than $130 million this year to enhance academic quality, the alumni who want to maintain the value of their degrees, the faculty and staff who expect their colleagues to act with integrity, and the students who trust that faculty who teach them meet the high professional standards of the university and the profession.

Given the record of the case and findings of Professor Churchill’s faculty peers, I determined that allowing him to remain on the faculty would cast a shadow on our reputation for academic integrity.

Throughout the case, we have adhered to shared governance procedures as determined by the CU Faculty Senate Constitution and Bylaws and adopted by the Board of Regents. During the course of two-plus years, Professor Churchill presented his position in writing, in person, with his attorney and with witnesses of his choosing. He was afforded full due process.

More than 20 tenured faculty members (from CU and other universities) on three separate panels conducted a thorough review of his work and found that the evidence shows Professor Churchill engaged in research misconduct, and that it required serious sanction. The record of the case shows a pattern of serious, repeated and deliberate research misconduct that falls below the minimum standard of professional integrity, including fabrication, falsification, improper citation and plagiarism. No university can abide such serious academic misconduct.

Professor Churchill fabricated historical events and sought to support his fabrications by manufacturing articles under other names. His publications show more than just sloppy citations or using the work of others without crediting them. The Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct found multiple instances of falsification, fabrication and plagiarism. Any student engaging in such a wide range of academic misconduct would be seriously sanctioned. We should hold our faculty to a high standard of professionalism

While Professor Churchill’s peers on the faculty panels were unanimous in finding research misconduct, views on the appropriate sanction varied. Some faculty recommended dismissal while others suggested a less severe penalty. My obligation as president is to recommend to the Board of Regents an appropriate sanction that is for the good of the university.

Some on the Boulder campus and beyond claim Professor Churchill was singled out because of public condemnation of his writing about September 11, 2001. They see this case as a referendum on academic freedom. The university determined early in the process that his speech was not at issue, but that his research was. The prohibition against research misconduct extends to all faculty, regardless of their political views. We cannot abandon our professional standards and exempt faculty members from being accountable for the integrity of their research simply because their views are controversial.

Professor Churchill’s activities not only run counter to the essence of academic freedom, but also threaten its foundation. Academic freedom is intended to protect the exploration and teaching of unpopular, even controversial ideas. But that pursuit must be accompanied by the standards of the profession. Academic freedom does not protect research misconduct. After his research misconduct was identified, Professor Churchill did not admit any errors or come forward to correct the record, as is expected in the profession.

CU’s most important asset is its academic reputation. Professor Churchill’s actions reflect poorly on the University of Colorado, but we will not let the research misconduct of one individual tarnish our reputation. Our faculty members take pride in their work and demonstrate their respect for the high standards of their profession and this university day in and day out. Professor Churchill’s research misconduct is an affront to those who conduct themselves with integrity.

We will remain accountable to those who have high expectations of Colorado’s flagship university. And our faculty will remain true to high professional standards to ensure our reputation for academic integrity remains intact.

Hank Brown

I think I’d like to throw a party!


 Posted by on 23 July 2007 at 12:06 pm  Academia, Objectivism
Jul 232007

Now that OCON is past, I’m posting one final announcement about my new OAcademics list before opening it for business tomorrow:

The OAcademics mailing list is a private forum for Objectivist academics to discuss teaching, research, coursework, dissertations, job prospects, publication, and all other aspects of life in (or after) academia. The list is basically a means of sharing knowledge and experience as ever more Objectivists enter academia.

The list isn’t limited to philosophers. All Objectivists in academia, whether professors or graduate students, are welcome. Future academics, i.e. those in the process of applying to graduate school, may also join.

No subscriber is obliged to participate in list discussions. However, I do make two requests:

(1) That subscribers post the syllabi from the courses they teach (including the list of readings) at the beginning of every semester so that others may consult them in the process of their own course development.

(2) That subscribers post any significant announcements about their work, e.g. the successful defense of a dissertation, an article accepted for publication, a fabulous new teaching job, leaving academia to hunt bears in Alaska.

These are strong recommendations but not ironclad obligations.

The list is not moderated. Posts should be polite, friendly, and reasonably relevant to life in academia.

Messages will be archived, but those archives will be available only to other list members. List members should not forward list messages to anyone else or post them to any other forum without permission from the author(s).

If you have any questions, please e-mail Diana Hsieh, the list’s owner and administrator, at [email protected].

To subscribe, enter the relevant information on the web interface. Also, please feel free to forward this post (or a link thereto) to anyone you think might be interested in joining the list.

On Ashland University

 Posted by on 13 July 2007 at 7:22 am  Academia, History, Religion
Jul 132007

Ashland University’s insanely unjust treatment of John Lewis was recently detailed in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Tenure Shrugged. FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) has posted some further details (correcting some small inaccuracies in the CHE article, as far as I understand) here: Ashland University: No Objectivists Need Apply.

Notice that the source of Dr. Lewis’s troubles were (1) neocons and (2) evangelical Christians. From what I understand, the run-of-the-mill liberal faculty were rightly shocked and outraged by his treatment by Ashland.

Also, I might as well mention that I was quoted in the Chronicle’s introduction to its three articles on Objectivism in academia:

The articles in this special Chronicle report are about a different group of scholars: those who believe that Rand created a true and complete philosophical model, which must be widely spread or else civilization will perish. These scholars believe that the road to cultural renewal runs through the philosophy department: If the public adopts the correct metaphysical and epistemological beliefs, then peace, justice, and prosperity will naturally follow. (In this respect, the famously anti-religious Randians are oddly similar to Catholic philosophers in the Thomist tradition.)

“The serious study of Ayn Rand’s work­ — in and out of academia­­ — is only in its nascent stages,” wrote Diana Mertz Hsieh, a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, on her blog in 2005. “If stillborn, our culture is doomed. … It’s not just some academic game: It’s literally life and death.”

In case you’re wondering, I’ve not blogged because I’ve been at OCON in lovely Telluride. I’ve enjoyed myself well enough, although I’m eager to return to real work on my dissertation and to preparation for my fall “Intro Phil” class. I probably won’t return to regular blogging for another week.

New List: OAcademics

 Posted by on 18 June 2007 at 8:32 am  Academia, Objectivism
Jun 182007

Along the same lines as my OBloggers mailing list, I’ve created a list for Objectivist in academia: OAcademics:

The OAcademics mailing list is a private forum for Objectivist academics to discuss teaching, research, coursework, dissertations, job prospects, publication, and all other aspects of life in (or after) academia. The list is basically a means of sharing knowledge and experience as ever more Objectivists enter academia.

The list isn’t limited to philosophers: all Objectivists in academia, whether professors or graduate students, are welcome. (Those in the process of applying to graduate school are also welcome to subscribe.) If you’re not an Objectivist in academia, please do not subscribe.

No subscriber is obliged to participate in list discussions. However, I do make two requests of subscribers:

(1) That you post the syllabi from the courses you teach (including the list of readings) at the beginning of every semester so that others may consult them in the process of their own course development.

(2) That you post any significant announcements about your work, e.g. the successful defense of your dissertation, an article accepted for publication, a fabulous new teaching job, or leaving academia to hunt bears in Alaska.

The list is not moderated. Please make sure that your posts are polite, friendly, and on-topic.

Messages will be archived, but those archives will only be available to other list members. Please do not forward list messages to anyone else or post them to any other forum without permission from the author.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Diana Hsieh at [email protected].

Objectivists in academia are welcome to subscribe themselves to the list. I’ll also be contacting people privately, but since I don’t have e-mail addresses for all the Objectivists in academia I know, please feel free to spread the word.

FYI: If some responsible person wants to manage an “OLawyers” or “ODoctors” or “OWhatevers” list, I might be willing to host that. Just drop me an e-mail. It’s not that I want Objectivists to talk to each other in some cloister — quite the contrary, in fact. The point is to foster success in the real world by sharing advice, experience, and expertise.


 Posted by on 3 May 2007 at 6:45 pm  Academia
May 032007

I’m beyond delighted to report that I’ve made significant progress on my Ph.D over the past year — after suffering from far too much hideously painful demotivation, disorganization, and overwhelmedness for the prior two years. In essence, I’ve completed all the work that I need to do to advance to candidacy. So provided that the two papers awaiting grading from faculty pass muster, I should be declared an official “Ph.D candidate” in the fall. I’ll be writing my dissertation prospectus this summer. Then my goal is to write my dissertation at breakneck speed so that I can graduate in May 2009.

Mostly, I have Debi Ghate to thank for that miracle. I couldn’t have done it without her help; I was floundering too badly. As my OAC graduate mentor, she acted as an excellent manager by helping me focus on priorities, set deadlines, evaluate my progress, and the like. Most helpful were the “Weekly Reports” that I began writing her about two months ago. On Sunday night, I’d write her a brief e-mail of detailing what I’d done that week and what I planned to do the next week. That was enormously helpful, as I had to be totally explicit and objective in reporting to her. (She’d often write back with helpful questions, suggestions, and plain old encouragement.) For the other graduate students without perfect skills of organization, monitoring, and self-motivation, I’d strongly recommend writing such reports to someone who will gently hold your feet to the fire. (You can’t have Debi though! She’s mine!)

So over this past academic year, I managed to write and complete my “Fifth Semester Qualifying Paper,” as well as three papers for incomplete classes. I helped organize and promote the new “Think!” lecture series for the Philosophy Department, with good success for the four lectures and particularly the two debates. I taught my own courses for the first time: three introductory ethics courses of about 30 students each.

I also wrote a review of Tara Smith’s Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist for The Objective Standard. I took Eric Daniels’ excellent year-long History of Capitalism course. I’ve also contributed a bit to FIRM’s fight against the imposition of socialized medicine in Colorado.

And… I’ve stayed in excellent shape. I’ve learned to play bridge. I’ve taken my dog Abby to regular acupuncture appointments to help slow down the progress of her degenerative myelopathy. I wrote a long essay on the election of which I’m still very proud. I’ve blogged regularly. I’ve listened to the whole Bible, as well as tons of other fiction, philosophy, history, and more. I endured eight straight weeks of winter snow. I’ve been a reasonably well-behaved wife. I’ve not gone totally nuts.

So I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

My semester isn’t entirely finished though. My students still have their final exam to take, so I’ll have that plus revised papers to grade next week. (That’s a piece of cake though!) After that, Paul and I will take our traditional “enjoy life by physically working yourself to near death in some fantastically beautiful location” May vacation. This time, we’ll be mountain biking around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

That’ll be a really, really well-deserved vacation for me!

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha