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Newsletter v.2.2 | From the Dossier

Hello,

I'm Neil and this is my email newsletter.

With the spring 2021 semester started, I'm very much in the 1,000 MPH club. (By the time this comes out I'll have 50 more classes to teach, but who's counting?) Being in the 1000mph club is a bit of a problem because I need (and I mean seriously need) to get a lot of stuff done, and I don't have the time to do it.

One of the things I need to do is write up a dossier to submit as part of my tenure application. (I've written about this before in prior editions of this newsletter.) I had planned to do a lot of writing between the fall and spring semesters, but life happened, and I did not get to write nearly as much as I wanted.

Just this morning, I was freaking out about this, and then I had an idea. I can use the disciplined practice of writing this newsletter every week to write some drafts of the content that will end up in the dossier. I'm going to start with stuff that will go in my teaching philosophy section.


From the Dossier:

The experience of a university education can be valuable and important.

I want to emphasize two things about the prior sentence.

  • First, I do not claim that a university education is valuable and important. I say it can be these things.
  • Second, I use the word experience because I believe it is the right word to capture the totality of a student's journey towards a better appreciation of themselves, their world, and how their self exists within their world.

I believe that a student's experience of a university education needs to be more than coursework for it to be worthwhile. Don't get me wrong, coursework is the foundation of the university experience. For that foundation to be strong, the coursework needs to be rigorous, engaging, and cutting edge. I'm saying that we need to build more on top of the solid foundation of coursework to make the experience into something more than the transmission of knowledge and skills to something that stokes the fire of a student's desire for a future that is better than the past. When it is good, the experience is transformative. It draws out the student's latent capacity for thinking and the student's manifest skills at thinking flexibly yet critically about all things, especially the things they hold the dearest.


That's all I'm going to include for now. Stay subscribed for more.


Podcasts:

The first season of The Gorman Limit: Podcast continues to grow in episodes. This page has all the one-click subscribe options for all the different podcast apps.

Doing this podcast has been... interesting... I say it is interesting because I speak in a different voice than all the other podcasting I do. Different how? Glad you asked. In most of the other podcasts I create, I speak about and through psychoanalysis. In this podcast, psychoanalysis is present but in a far less noticeable way. The voice I'm accessing when I make TGL is more of the voice I use when I teach classes where the students have not yet been exposed to psychoanalysis.

Of course, I would not be able to speak in the way I do on TGL had I not had my own experience of psychoanalysis, so psychoanalysis is there. I guess it's just lurking. Of course, I would not be able to speak in the way I do on TGL had I not had my own experience of psychoanalysis, so psychoanalysis is there. I guess it's just lurking. I do think that I might engage psychoanalysis more explicitly in future seasons of the podcast.

Speaking of seasons of a podcast, I think TGL season one will be somewhere between 10-12 episodes. After that, I'll give it a rest and focus on other stuff. I'm playing what I think is a long game with TGL, and this first season is just the first set of moves in that long game. Stay subscribed for more on that in the future.

Ghosts of My Life:

This week, I found out that Wikipedia is 20 years old. I remember the first time I saw Wikipedia. I was a student teacher, and a student came to ask if they could use it as a source for a paper they were writing on the Pullman Strike.

When I looked at what was going on with Wikipedia then I thought it was cool. I had no idea it would become what it is today.

Living in the Jackpot:

The following is from Axios email newsletter that came out on 1/14.

He lied about the election being fixed. He incited an attack that left five dead at the U.S Capitol. He got impeached. Twice. But the vast majority of Republicans still have his back — and views — by big majorities. ​* Why it matters: Anyone who thinks Trump is a politically dead man walking appears pointedly dead wrong. Just look at the numbers: ​* Two-thirds of House Republicans voted to decertify the election results — in the hours after an insurrection. ​* 93% of House Republicans voted against impeachment yesterday

From that same email newsletter:

Millions are flocking to encrypted apps like Telegram and Signal as fears grow about Big Tech, the N.Y. Times reports (subscription):​* Telegram said Tuesday that "it added more than 25 million users over the previous three days, pushing it to over 500 million users."​* "Signal added nearly 1.3 million users on Monday alone, after averaging just 50,000 downloads a day last year, according to estimates from Apptopia."​Our thought bubble: Careful what you wish for and force, people. Imagine conspiracy and plotting happening only in places no one else can see.

My thoughts: This is what the people in Orwell's 1984 would call "Double plus un-good."

Tools:

I've resisted using a to-do list app for a long time, years, my whole life, really. Why do I resist them? I honestly don't know. I don't have any good reasons that come to mind, but I do resist them. (Perhaps that is something that I will talk about in my analysis.)

My partner uses Todoist to keep track of stuff and tells me it would make my 1000mph club life way more comfortable. Recently I figured I'd give it a try.

Guess what. I now think it is double plus useful as hell.

I'm using it to keep track of the different things I need to do for my academic work, work for the clinic, and podcasting. The screenshot above is of ideas I want to put into future episodes of The Gorman Limit: Podcast. I use Todoist enough that I'm considering paying for the full version.

Fin:

I'm out for this week. Till next time, make glorious mistakes.

-N