Thursday, March 22, 2007

Election update

The good news of the day: San Jose State University students overwhelmingly voted against the proposed name change (according to Spartan Daily). I spoke with Jennifer Cauble, the associate vice president of marketing and communication. She was very relieved. She told me that they were getting calls from angry alumni who did not like the idea either. Michael Harold has promised to not give up his fight.

The other news: The AS election results have also been announced (here and here). And CFA members have approved a strike (here).

The Daily also had an interesting article about the problems the University Police Department is having. Sounds like the school is hiding something. We need to stay on top of this one.

I am also not sure how putting a projector in a classroom makes it a "smart room." I think that is like duct taping something back together and calling it fixed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spartan Daily roundup

I have two articles in today's Spartan Daily. One is on Monday's CSU legislative day. The second is about Lenders for Community Development, which helps low-income students save money for education.

Also in today's Daily was a great column by Kris Anderson on why we don't need to change the name of the university. But you are probably tired of me talking about that...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Moved!

I just moved my blog over to my own domain name. It is now Everything should still work the same as before. In fact, it is still being hosted by Blogger, I just have my own name now. Hopefully there will be more on my Web site soon, right now it is just the page I am required to make for my TA 141 class. I will get around to making something new soon. I am always open to your feedback and advice.

STEM meeting tomorrow

Just a reminder that STEM is meeting tomorrow at 4:30 in Clark Hall room 116 (in the back of the Academic Success Center). Come join us!

We will be talking about RSS. If you know what RSS is, please come so you can help explain it to everyone else. If you do not know what RSS is, look it up and have some questions to help our discussion.

See you tomorrow!

Election day at SJSU

To all of you SJSU students: GO VOTE!

Lindsay Bryant has a column in today's Spartan Daily on the subject. It is pretty sad that only 4 percent of students bother to go vote. It is so easy. You can even do it online. (So there, I even linked to it so you do not have to go to the trouble of typing it into your browser. You have no excuse, now go vote!)

If you do not think it is important to vote, remember that your student fees are going up almost $300 next year. And mostly likely up again the next year, and again the next year, and again...

Some of that money goes to the A.S. and the leaders we are voting for today and tomorrow decide what to do with that $6.5 million. If you don't vote, you do not have much room to complain about how that money is being spent. So, I say again, GO VOTE!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Podcasts and Fee Increases

I posted before about the Spartan Daily article about the effort to teach professors to podcast. I guess I am not the only one that has an opinion on the subject. The Daily today has bunch of letters to the editor on the subject.

Also in today's Daily: The university wants to raise our student fees even more to build a new student health center. I am all for the new buildings and services, but I don't think that students should be asked to pay another $240 per semester.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

SJSU name change a 'bad idea'

Even Scott Herhold agrees, changing San Jose State University's name to San Jose State University - California State University is a "bad idea."

This is a bad idea. It's close to a very bad idea, an 8 out of 10 on the badness meter.
There's simply no persuasive reason for changing a name that has served the university very well for most of a century. In fact, it dilutes the school's identity.
Herhold even says that the idea that changing the name will be good for downtown San Jose is "preposterous." He is right. Hopefully students will agree when they go to vote this week.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My wallet is crying!

The Chronicle's article about the hike in student fees is called: "UC, CSU reach again for students' wallets." I think it is more like they are taking our wallets away. As the article points out, this is the fifth increase in six years. Even better:

Regents acknowledged this is probably not the end of annual increases for UC students. Since the 2001-02 school year, undergraduate tuition has climbed 92 percent at UC's campuses and 94 percent at CSU's schools.
In other words, the cost of attending San Jose State University has almost doubled for me since I first attended back in the fall of 2001. And it is going to keep going up!

This is a huge problem for California. Since 1850, the state has been building a quality educational system (starting with SJSU) that has prided itself in being affordable and accessible to people who would not be able to get an education anywhere else. Now, we are raising the cost so only the wealthy and the poor can attend. The wealthy can afford to go anywhere and the poor can qualify for financial aid. Most students, including myself, are left out in the cold.

This is especially damaging to SJSU. For years, the university has been fighting its image as a commuter school. Until now, I would have argued that the university has done a good job and SJSU is no longer a commuter school. But with costs continuing to skyrocket, students will be forced to work more hours and go to school less. This will make SJSU a permanent commuter school.

The people that can afford to be full-time students will go to Stanford and Berkley and the people who have to work a job or two just to pay for tuition will take a class, when they can, at SJSU. It will take people more years to graduate as they spend less time at school in extra curricular activities and more time working.

It also needs to be emphasized that this is a raise just in the basic fee to attend a UC or CSU. There are hundreds of dollars extra tacked onto the cost of attending the school by the individual campuses. SJSU is currently considering a large fee increase to pay for a Student Union remodel and other projects.

Plus, fees are only a small part of the cost of education. As I have said before, textbook prices are out of control. As the Mercury News points out:
A recent report by the California Postsecondary Education Commission, an advisory panel to state lawmakers on higher-education issues, found that non-fee-related costs - such as gas, housing and textbooks - have increased at an even greater rate than tuition.
According to U.S. PIRG, "
Textbook prices have increased at four times the rate of inflation since 1994 and continue to rise."

To add yet another layer to this mess, the California Faculty Association is currently voting to decide if they are going to strike. The CSU faculty needs a substantial pay raise. As the CFA points out, CSU administrators and university presidents all just got big raises. The teachers deserve the same. The problem is, there is no money to pay for it. As a result, we are losing our best teachers. These teachers are probably the most important factor in creating a quality education.

I could go on, but I think it is enough to say that having a high-quality, affordable and accessible education is vital to the economic success of California and the United States as a whole. As a student, I can assure you that we want to learn. We want to take advantage of the resources that are out there. But too many people are unable to afford to. The State of California is failing its citizens in providing education. Major change is needed right away.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Students could save money

My article in today's Daily is about how students could save money if a bill passes. It will probably be a minimal saving, if any, but it is nice to know they are thinking of us...

Of course the other news of the day is that the board of trustees has voted to raise our student fees another 10 percent. Again, so nice that they are thinking of us...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Extreme Blog Make Over

You may notice that my blog looks a little different. I hope you like it. Blogger does not have a whole lot of templates to choose from, but I wanted one that was pretty basic that I could customize. Let me know what you think. It is a work in progress.

The old:

The new:

Friday, March 09, 2007

College students are all stuck up?

A study recently released says that college students are more narcissistic than they once were, MSNBC and the LA Times reported (Quotes below from AP via MSNBC).

Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

“We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”
I think this is an interesting catch-22. We want to teach children to have self esteem and be confident in themselves, but if we go to far we end up with conceit.

It is also interesting to note that the researchers say that technology has helped to fuel this problem.
“Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism,” Twenge said. “By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube.”
I do not think that college students are more self-centered than others in our society. Most students I know care about the world they live in and want to help others. However, we are trained to take advantage of our talents and to do everything we can to get a head in a very competitive professional world.

What do you think? Are college students all stuck up?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Podcasting Professors

There is an article in today's Spartan Daily (not by me) about iTunes U and the effort to teach professors how to podcast. The tone of the article seems to be that this might be a bad thing because students will not go to class if they can just listen from home.

I disagree, I think having classes available as a podcast is a great idea. First off, if the entire class can be contained in a podcast it is not worth going to anyway. That would proabably mean that the class is just a lecture, and students already do not go to them because they are boring and often useless. The only classes, in my opinion, that are worth going to are the ones where you can interact and do things. I recognize the need for an occasional lecuture, but there should still be more than just the professor talking on and on.

Journalism 163 is the only class I have taken that recorded for a podcast. I still always went to class, because otherwise I would have missed too much, but it was nice to have the recordings to review with.

Classes need to be more of a discussion and be more interactive, and universities need to stop being afraid of new technology and learn how to use it to help further education.

San Jose is not a state?

I am going to post about this again (and possibly again in the future) because I think it is important.

Someone left a comment on my post about the proposed name change from San Jose State University to California State University - San Jose. The best argument: "San Jose is not a state!"

Come on, is that all you've got? Anyone who thinks San Jose is a state is not even worth worrying about.

His or her other argument: "San Jose State sounds like the name of a third-world community college commuter school, in Costa Rica."

I could be wrong, but I have never heard of a community college anywhere in the world that had the word "state" in its name.

I just got out of a press conference with President Don Kassing. He also thinks changing the name of the university is a bad idea. As he correctly pointed out, when the name was changed to Cal State in the '70s, there was a public outcry against it and within two years it was changed back by the state legislature. The university has been San Jose State for a long time. We should honor the school instead of demeaning our long and successful history by trying to change the university into something it is not and never has been.

That said, I am not "satisfied" with SJSU's reputation. I think we have a lot of room for improvement. But causing conflict with ridiculous ballot measure that will have no effect is not a way to improve the school's reputation. Instead, we need to do all we can to make SJSU a leading school for the new millennium. Let's build on our bast, talk about the good things the university has to offer and work to improve the areas where it falls short. I love SJSU and am proud to go there, even though I may sound critical at some times. I think that discussion is healthy and good for the university community as a whole. But, changing the name of the university is not a good idea.

Monday, March 05, 2007

SJSU at War

My article in today's Spartan Daily is on a symposium held Saturday on the history of San Jose State University at war. It was mostly interesting, although it was a little long. I think they have banned me from writing about any more symposiums, although our adviser has said that I am doing a good job of making them interesting.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Police and Mardi Gras

Today's Spartan Daily includes my opposing views piece: "Were San Jose Police excessive in their force in the handling of Mardi Gras?" I wrote the no side. Carla wrote the yes. It was kind of fun to write. I wish that I had some first person experiences like Carla did, but I was not going to go downtown that night, its not worth it.