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Assessment in the Second Language Writing Classroom

Deborah Crusan

Assessment in the Second Language Writing Classroom is a teacher and prospective teacher-friendly book, uncomplicated by the language of statistics. The book is for those who teach and assess second language writing in several different contexts: the IEP, the developmental writing classroom, and the sheltered composition classroom. In addition, teachers who experience a mixed population or teach cross-cultural composition will find the book a valuable resource. Other books have thoroughly covered the theoretical aspects of writing assessment, but none have focused as heavily as this book does on pragmatic classroom aspects of writing assessment. Further, no book to date has included an in-depth examination of the machine scoring of writing and its effects on second language writers. Crusan not only makes a compelling case for becoming knowledgeable about L2 writing assessment but offers the means to do so. Her highly accessible, thought-provoking presentation of the conceptual and practical dimensions of writing assessment, both for the classroom and on a larger scale, promises to engage readers who have previously found the technical detail of other works on assessment off-putting, as well as those who have had no previous exposure to the study of assessment at all.

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Assignments across the Curriculum

A National Study of College Writing

By

In Assignments across the Curriculum, Dan Melzer analyzes the rhetorical features and genres of writing assignments through the writing-to-learn and writing-in-the-disciplines perspectives. Presenting the results of his study of 2,101 writing assignments from undergraduate courses in the natural sciences, social sciences, business, and humanities in 100 postsecondary institutions in the United States, Assignments across the Curriculum is unique in its cross-institutional breadth and its focus on writing assignments.

The results provide a panoramic view of college writing in the United States. Melzer's framework begins with the rhetorical situations of the assignments—the purposes and audiences—and broadens to include the assignments' genres and discourse community contexts. Among his conclusions is that courses connected to a writing-across-the-curriculum (WAC) initiative ask students to write more often, in a greater variety of genres, and for a greater variety of purposes and audiences than non-WAC courses do, making a compelling case for the influence of the WAC movement.

Melzer's work also reveals patterns in the rhetorical situations, genres, and discourse communities of college writing in the United States. These larger patterns are of interest to WAC practitioners working with faculty across disciplines, to writing center coordinators and tutors working with students who bring assignments from a variety of fields, to composition program administrators, to first-year writing instructors interested in preparing students for college writing, and to high school teachers attempting to bridge the gap between high school and college writing.

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At A Loss For Words

How America Is Failing Our Children

Betty Bardige, foreword by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

Drawing on the latest research on development among toddlers and preschoolers, At a Loss for Words lays out the importance of getting parents, policy makers, and child care providers to recognize the role of early literacy skills in reducing the achievement gap that begins before three years of age. Readers are guided through home and classroom settings that promote language, contrasting them with the "merely mediocre" child care settings in which more and more young children spend increasing amounts of time. Too many of our young children are not receiving the level of input and practice that will enable them to acquire language skills—the key to success in school and life. Bardige explains how to build better community support systems for children, and better public education, in order to ensure that toddlers learn the power of language from their families and teachers.

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At Home in the Heart of the Horseshoe

Life in the University of South Carolina President's House

Patricia Moore-Pastides

The University of South Carolina was founded in 1801 on a modest parcel of land now called the Horseshoe. While the campus has grown well beyond its original borders, the oak-lined and gated historic Horseshoe remains the heart of campus life. At Home in the Heart of the Horseshoe pays tribute to the handsome regency-style structure at the midpoint of the historic Horseshoe. Constructed in 1854 to house faculty families, then used for sororities, the residence ultimately became the official President’s House in 1952. Through the stories and images in this beautiful book, Patricia Moore-Pastides provides a window into life at the University of South Carolina President’s House from her perspective as First Lady. Through these pages readers will discover the ways in which the house has become a central location for enriching and celebrating the university community. Beginning with Mrs. Russell’s famous senior dinners in the 1950s, the tradition of entertaining continues. From small formal dinners to garden receptions for several hundred, the President’s House is alive with celebration. A multitude of thoughtfully planned festivities embrace the entire university community, honoring students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, donors, legislators, and national and international leaders. At Home in the Heart of the Horseshoe is the first book to feature the workings of the President’s House and gardens. A pictorial tour through all the public rooms calls attention to the provenance of special antiques and works of art. Presidential events are described and illustrated in charming photographs, and delectable recipes and novel flower-arrangement ideas are shared. Perhaps most compelling are the stories from family members who have lived in the President’s House. Through interviews with wives and children―and in one case a grandchild―of former university presidents, readers are privy to their most vivid memories of life in the house and recollections of campus happenings. Experiencing the house as her home, Moore-Pastides shares highlights of her years as First Lady, including the most poignant times as well as the lighter moments. From thieving pets to helpful ghosts, panty raids to Vietnam War protests, and visits from brownie scouts to Pope John Paul II, the tales shared here will warm the heart and in a few cases make readers laugh aloud. And the more than two hundred personal and archival images will reveal not only the evolution of this beautiful historic structure but also the people who made the house a home.

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The Athletic Trap

How College Sports Corrupted the Academy

Howard L. Nixon II

The unrivaled amount of cash poured into the college athletic system has made sports programs breeding grounds for corruption while diverting crucial resources from the academic mission of universities. Like money in Washington politics, the influence bought by a complex set of self-interested actors seriously undermines movement toward reform while trapping universities in a cycle of escalating competition. Longtime sport sociologist Howard L. Nixon II approaches the issue from the perspective of college presidents—how they are seduced by prestige or pressured by economics into building programs that move schools toward a commercial model of athletics. Nixon situates his analysis in the context of what he calls “the intercollegiate golden triangle,” a powerful social network of athletic, media, and private corporate commercial interests. This network lures presidents and other university leaders into an athletic arms race with promises of institutional enhancements, increased enrollments, better student morale, improved alumni loyalty, more financial contributions, and higher prestige. These promises can cloud the judgment of college presidents and governing boards, entangling them in an athletic trap that restricts their influence. Unable to control spending, inequalities, and deviance within commercialized athletic programs, universities are ensnared in financial, political, and social obligations that are difficult to sustain—or escape. Nixon clarifies the structure of this trap, describes how higher education institutions fall into it, and explores what it means for institutions and presidents caught in it. This timely analysis also has relevance to the debates about the role of the NCAA and ongoing reform efforts in college sports. The Athletic Trap will be of interest to university presidents, board members, and administrators, sport sociologists concerned with the balance of power between academics and athletics, and anyone else with a serious interest in college sports and its future.

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The Attainment Agenda

State Policy Leadership in Higher Education

Laura W. Perna and Joni E. Finney foreword by Patrick M. Callan

Although the federal government invests substantial resources into student financial aid, states have the primary responsibility for policies that raise overall higher educational attainment and improve equity across groups. The importance of understanding how states may accomplish these goals has never been greater, as educational attainment is increasingly required for economic and social well-being of individuals and society. Drawing on data collected from case studies of the relationship between public policy and higher education performance in five states—Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and Washington—The Attainment Agenda offers a framework for understanding how state public policy can effectively promote educational attainment. Laura W. Perna and Joni E. Finney argue that there is no silver bullet to improve higher education attainment. Instead, achieving the required levels of attainment demands a comprehensive approach. State leaders must consider how performance in one area (such as degree completion) is connected to performance in other areas (such as preparation or affordability), how particular policies interact to produce expected and unexpected outcomes, and how policy approaches must be adapted to reflect their particular context. The authors call for greater attention to the state role in providing policy leadership and steering of higher education in order to advance a cohesive public agenda for higher education and adopting public policies that not only increase the demand for and supply of higher education but also level the playing field for higher educational opportunity. The insights offered in The Attainment Agenda have important implications for public policymakers, college and university leaders, and educational researchers interested in ensuring sustained higher education attainment.

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AUDEM: The International Journal of Higher Education and Democracy

Vol. 1 (2010) to current issue

AUDEM: The International Journal of Higher Education and Democracy grows out of the work of the Alliance of Universities for Democracy (AUDEM). AUDEM focuses on the integration of universities at competitive levels into the world academic communities. With this journal, AUDEM adds another tool in its effort to expand opportunities for international collaboration in higher education and to promote the role of higher education in social and civic development.

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Audience Expectations and Teacher Demands

Robert Brooke and John Hendricks

The audience—the community of readers who will use the texts a writer produces—must be an important influence on the writer for his or her work to be effective.

Robert Brooke and John Hendricks examine the difficult task of teaching "writing for an audience" in a classroom where students know that the teacher, not the addressed audience, assigns the grade.

The authors describe in detail a particular writing class, taught by Brooke and observed by Hendricks, that attempted to teach writing for an audience. By combining the experiences from their study with student reactions to the class, they draw some conclusions about the dynamics of teaching writing and about learning in general.

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Audubon

The Kentucky Years

L. Clark Keating

Kentucky attracted an amazing variety of would-be settlers in pioneer days, but none with brighter talent than John James Audubon. Although his years in the state came long before publication of the monumental Birds of America, he was already painting the scenes from nature that were to make him famous.

Audubon: The Kentucky Years is the captivating account of Audubon's sojourn in Kentucky from his arrival in in 1807 as a gregarious twenty-two-year-old storekeeper to his departure in 1819, when his failure in business was about to force him to seek a livelihood from his skill as an artist.

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Austerity Blues

Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education

Michael Fabricant and Stephen Brier

Public higher education in the postwar era was a key economic and social driver in American life, making college available to millions of working men and women. Since the 1980s, however, government austerity policies and politics have severely reduced public investment in higher education, exacerbating inequality among poor and working-class students of color, as well as part-time faculty. In Austerity Blues, Michael Fabricant and Stephen Brier examine these devastating fiscal retrenchments nationally, focusing closely on New York and California, both of which were leaders in the historic expansion of public higher education in the postwar years and now are at the forefront of austerity measures.

Fabricant and Brier describe the extraordinary growth of public higher education after 1945, thanks largely to state investment, the alternative intellectual and political traditions that defined the 1960s, and the social and economic forces that produced austerity policies and inequality beginning in the late 1970s and 1980s. A provocative indictment of the negative impact neoliberal policies have visited on the public university, especially the growth of class, racial, and gender inequalities, Austerity Blues also analyzes the many changes currently sweeping public higher education, including the growing use of educational technology, online learning, and privatization, while exploring how these developments hurt students and teachers. In its final section, the book offers examples of oppositional and emancipatory struggles and practices that can help reimagine public higher education in the future.

The ways in which factors as diverse as online learning, privatization, and disinvestment cohere into a single powerful force driving deepening inequality is the central theme of the book. Incorporating the differing perspectives of students, faculty members, and administrators, the book reveals how public education has been redefined as a private benefit, often outsourced to for-profit vendors who "sell" education back to indebted undergraduates. Over the past twenty years, tuition and related student debt have climbed precipitously and degree completion rates have dropped. Not only has this new austerity threatened public universities’ ability to educate students, Fabricant and Brier argue, but it also threatens to undermine the very meaning and purpose of public higher education in offering poor and working-class students access to a quality education in a democracy. Synthesizing historical sources, social science research, and contemporary reportage, Austerity Blues will be of interest to readers concerned about rising inequality and the decline of public higher education.

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