Dot Physics

On being prepared

I am not a boy scout, but I still believe it is a good idea to be prepared. What to prepare for? Well, in Louisiana, it is the time to prepare for hurricanes and the looming budgetpocolypse.

Hurricanes

First, the hurricanes and tropical storms.

i-fc6b7c96010121c199fdc2ccb70dd330-2010-08-11_stomr.jpg

Model image from Weather Underground – best place to track storms (in my opinion).

This is pretty simple. Here is what I need to do:

  • Make sure my generator works and I have gasoline
  • Fill up the cars with gas (in case we want to leave)
  • Back up data and stuff
  • Pick up all the toys and stuff in the yard
  • Flashligh
  • Beer

That should do it. Of course there are a few more things to do, but you get the idea.

Budgetpocolypse

I don’t have a picture of this storm, but basically, the universities in Louisiana are going to have seriously reduced funding. How is Southeastern Louisiana University going to deal with this? Who knows. All they have done so far is lay off some staff and cancel the French program. Here are some of the possible things they could do to meet the rest of the budget deficit:

  • Axe some more programs. What to cut? Some say low-completer programs. Physics is a low-completer (true at most universities)
  • Everyone gets a 20% pay cut.
  • Fire the highest salary people (full professors) and re-hire them as instructors
  • Charge faculty $7,000 for a parking tag
  • No longer provide faculty with pencils. Instead, they must provide their own.

So, you see, some of these things could really suck. Suck to the point of me having to leave (especially if I get fired). I don’t want to leave. I really like our department (Department of Chemistry and Physics). We have good faculty, we have good students. My kids like it here and they finally fixed the climate controls in my office. If I had to move, I would have to deal with all that crap I put in the attic. Why did I do that? But, if I do have to leave, I should be prepared. Prepared means having an updated curriculum vitae (CV – or an academic version of the resume). Of course I will do that and put it on my academic webpage. But this is a blog. I should put a bloggy version of a CV.

Blog-version of CV

I really like lists. Here are my positive attributes as a list.

  • First off, I really like being a learning facilitator (what many people call a teacher). I love being around learners. I love learning myself, especially in the content area of physics. In my own mind’s eye, I am an excellent learning facilitator – but I am sure I can improve.
  • Historically, I have done research in the area of Physics Education Research (PER). I suppose I should write a blog post summarizing PER for those not familiar. My graduate research focused on the connection between student difficulties with the concept of rate of change and their difficulties with the concept of electric potential. (I said that on one breath).
  • I think that I could still do some significant PER work if I had the resources. Here at Southeastern, I really focus mostly on learning. The thing next to learning facilitating that I like is curriculum development and implementation. Two curricula that I have very much enjoyed setting up at Southeastern (and both are successful, I think) Matter and Interactions and Physics and Everyday Thinking.
  • I can save files in Windows 95, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS 8-10, Linux. Why don’t people list this on their CV’s anymore. I used to love looking CV’s that said they knew how to use Microsoft Word.
  • There are some technical skills I have. I have a basic understanding of the internet and its technologies. I feel comfortable implementing new stuff (like google wave – even though now it has been killed). I have been known to do some numerical calculations in python as well as some video analysis.
  • I am a people person. What does that even mean?
  • Videos. I like Videos. I can even make some – even if they aren’t professional quality.
  • Did I mention my blog?
  • Here is a little known fact. As a scuba diver, I am a little above the expert level. Some of my scuba accomplishments include reaching the end of line in Jackson Blue Spring in Marrianna Florida. Just so you know, that is an underwater cave and the explored region goes about 5000 feet back at a depth of 70-90 feet. Oh, that dive took a total of 4 hours.
  • I can also ride a bike without training wheels.

If I weren’t employed at Southeastern, where would I like to be? Probably a smaller 4 year college.

Final note: I have no clue what is going to happen with higher education in Louisiana. My feeling is that either we will all be fine or the whole state is screwed – big time.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Buell
    August 11, 2010

    If you want to teach science to 8th graders in the San Jose I’ll save you a spot at my school next year. Here’s another budget saving idea from San Diego schools:
    http://twitpic.com/2d6r5j

  2. #2 SandPine
    August 13, 2010

    Used to swim in the boil at Blue Spring (mid-70s) before they made it into an offical park. The spring run is a nice place to boat. Have you been down the run below US90 since they updated that area into a park?

  3. #3 Rhett Allain
    August 13, 2010

    @SandPine,

    I have not been back to Blue Springs since the mid-90s. When we first started going there, the park was closed. We would have to get the key from the Sheriff. But you are right – it is an awesome place. A great cave too.

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