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A Protest Against Specialization

Just yesterday (I refer to the song by Charles Aznavour “Hier Encore”), over four decades ago when I wasn’t yet an adult, I used to take long walks with my grandfather through the streets of Paris. Three or four times during each walk, he would pause in front of a building and, with his walking […]

Writing Assignments in W Courses: I am thinking about not including them in the overall grade anymore.

I know: you are going to say “Yves is obsessed with this issue of grades.” The truth is that I have been, if not traumatized, at least seriously harassed by students complaining about their grade in my writing courses—even though I think of myself as a very lenient grader; but the other […]

Is there a future in (and for) Liberal Arts?

In the time since I last blogged here, I have been mulling over the idea that all of my previous posts must have had some common thread—albeit perhaps not an immediately obvious one. After some reflection, it became clear what that thread is: I, like the institution which employs me, am conflicted about what is […]

The Pre-Med Student and the French Surrealist

Long ago and in a place that seems further and further away the older I get, I befriended the oral surgeon who operated on my jaw. She had—it seemed to me at the time magical—ability to anticipate the next spike of pain: a microsecond before the pain escalated to intolerable, she firmly pressed with her […]

Internationalize Queens College? Absolutely. Let’s Start with Foreign Language Requirements

It was with a curious mix of pleasure and surprise that I received today an email—which most of you will also undoubtedly have received—from Queens College President Matos informing me that

“[…] Queens College is currently developing a strategy for comprehensive internationalization […and] reviewing current internationalization activities to clarify institutional goals, and developing a strategic […]

College Writing: Could We Discuss Reasonable Expectations and Teach Good Grammar?

As an instructor of College Writing, I am struck by what expectations are placed upon our students in terms of the types of essays we ask them to produce and the level of academic savvy we presume they should display even within their very first semester of college.

Having been […]

The Grade Inflation Spiral: Adjuncts Are (Unwilling) Contributors

It is no longer simply grade inflation; the issue is the spiral. You know what I mean: QC Freshmen arrive in our classes “hooked” on A’s. They’ve gotten them in every subject in High School. The students are, for the most part, competitive (they probably wouldn’t be at QC if they weren’t at least little […]