Tag Archives: faculty

Faculty Awards, Round 2

Remember this, from last year?

I got nominated again this year. It’s for the “THE TEACHING EXCELLENCE AND CAMPUS LEADERSHIP AWARD”. There are 5 faculty members nominated each year.

Cross your fingers. If I win, we’ll throw a shindig at the Lee joint to celebrate and blow through that cash prize.

My First Time ‘Round (part 1)

With Rod out recovering from surgery for a few weeks, the dean of the school of music asked me to step in and oversee the summer small groups. It’s the first thing I’ve done (like, ever, in my life) that’s more administrative than creative, but I’m happy to do it – it’s my small way of supporting Rod.

But getting up in the mix on this has gotten me thinking often about my own small group experience. Not the spectacular, talent-packed tours of my later years at APU, not the groups that spawned a half-dozen working pros and a group of friends that still hang out and teach each other’s kids dirty words.

No, I’m talking about my first small group experience. My very first. I was a freshman, a week into my college experience, and the School of Music was putting together a few groups to perform during the school year, at local churches on Sunday morning. I auditioned to play piano for one of the groups.

The Audition

The audition was … oh man. It was a hell of a thing. To fully appreciate how awful it was, you have to understand that back in the day, the School of Music was a cult of personality, and the whole program orbited around the gravitational pull of a man we called Doc. He put every small group together by divine fiat, and he did all the auditions himself, in front of a choir of 120, with everyone watching.

He asked me to play Amazing Grace. He asked everyone to play, or sing, Amazing Grace. It was one of his things.

The problem is, with a cult of personality, sometimes a punk kid comes into the orbit of the thing without knowing that you’re supposed to be all awe-struck and weak-kneed in The Presence. The cult sort of relies on everyone knowing that. It’s kinda the point of the cult.

I didn’t know that I was supposed to be in awe of the man – I thought he was a bit of a pompous ass. I decided to show him what a real musician could do.

So, I puffed out my chest and launched into a massive funk piano breakdown on “Amazing Grace”, complete with an intro stolen from a Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto. And in my funktastic version of Amazing Grace, there are 4 beats in every measure. It leaves a little extra room for my awesome piano pyrotechnics.

Imagine a 50-year-old retired Vegas showgirl wearing a bright pink fur coat with dangly plastic flamingo earrings and an orange fake-and-bake tan, still shaking her jiggly bits in a dank nightclub at Primm.

My arrangement of Amazing Grace was kinda like that.

About half-way through the 1st verse, Doc cued the 120 people in the choir to start singing along.

Did I mention my version was in 4/4, not 3/4? Yeah, it was also in minor.

Now picture yourself trying to ballroom dance with that Vegas showgirl.

(continued in part 2)

A Totally Unbiased Blog Retrofit By A Guy Who Just Finished 7 Days of New Faculty Indoctrination

Last Thursday was my final day of New Faculty Indocrination at (University Name Withheld, in the interest of continued employment), and I realized that many of the new educational theories that were being promoted during that time can be applied, with great effect, to how we run this blog. My hope is that you will find the following new guidelines an aid to you as you attempt to carry forward this blog’s mission of Actualizing Reader Experience.

1) Post Summaries

Prior to submitting a post, please submit a brief summary of your intended post. This will generally be 8 or 9 pages, and must include the following: when you intend to publish the post, the primary points of your post, a detailed correlation of how each of those points relates to the mission of the blog (Actualizing Reader Experience), and a catalog of “objective and measurable reader outcomes”. Please also include the blog mission statement, the blog integrity policy, and your own policy for reader assessment.

This post summary must be received at least 6 months prior to posting, and will be reviewed by both the Blog Posting Committee (Paul T. Reisser, Chair) and the Blog Posting Summary Committee (Aly Hawkins, Chair). Any errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or content will result in the summary being rejected. If your summary is rejected, you will receive notification with 3 months, detailing the reasons for that rejection, so that you can make changes and resubmit.

2) Emerging Church Worldview Integration

This blog began as an exploration of the Emerging Church Movement. Recently, we’re expanded to cover a multitude of other topics, including Music, Apple Computers, Art Review, Nostalgia, and Blasphemy. While we recognize that these are all signs of a healthy, growing blog, we want to make sure that we stay true to our original mission. Therefore, 30% of the content in every post must consist of “Emerging Church Worldview”. One of the distinctives of this blog is our unique Emerging Church Worldview, and we firmly believe that every topic we post on should be overtly saturated with this distinctive.

For example, say you have decided to post on the fact that Apple has released three new commercials in their humorous “PC vs. Mac” series. After giving the link, you might include the following statement:

“One of the reasons why Apple is embraced by the Emerging Church Movement is because of its strong identification of design (form) with function (content). Both Andrew Jones and Ryan Bolger have examined the premise that the ECM constructs worshipping communities that follow that same value.”

Or, say you’re posting a movie review for Snakes on a Plane (Review? How about just one word: Samuel L. Awesome!). You might include the following in your post:

“Snakes on a Plane might be the first movie to have a cult following prior to its actual release. This is due in no small part to its immediate embrace by the blog-o-sphere, and subsequent use as a meme. The Emerging Church Movement also uses blogs. Samuel L. Jackson decided to take the role when he …. “

See how easy, and non-forced, that is? We hope this new standard for Emerging Church Worldview Integration will be a positive and uplifting guide for you as you prepare your posts.

3) Strengths Based Posting

One of the challenges of this blog is our desire to embrace a readership with a wide range of personal strengths and non-strengths (formerly called “weaknesses”). We recognize that each person is unique in their mix of personal attributes, and we want to make sure that the content we are presenting is accessible to all people.

In order to maximize the accessibility of the content, each post will be submitted three times: once as an analytical, fact based piece; once as an emotive, relational piece; and once as a pictograph. For example, the news that Pluto is no longer a planet would need to be blogged about in all of the following ways:

(Analytical) “Pluto does not meet the orbital standards established by IAU for a planetary class object, and is therefore now a member of the class ‘Dwarf Planet’.”

(Emotive) “A group of scientists didn’t feel like Pluto should be a planet, so they all decided to start calling it a ‘Dwarf Planet’. How do you feel about this?”



This way, the content is accessible to people with a wide range of comprehension strengths!

4) Comprehensive Posting Assessment

A significant portion of the Google AdSense income from this blog will be diverted to fund a new “Comprehensive Posting Assessment” team. In order to fully implement these new guidelines and strategies, we need a method for assigning numbers to the effectiveness of blog posts in each of the areas mentioned.

We’ve rounded up the finest statisticians, software engineers, PHP programmers, and graphic designers, and asked them to design a system of assessment for determining how effective each blog post is at achieving the “reader outcomes” listed in the post summary.

We’ll have more details later on what this assessment looks like. Since most of the people on the assessment team have never really seen a blog before, the first few months will be spent orienting them to the language and culture of the new media. We’re confident, though, that their comprehensive understanding of both math (including prime numbers!), and of the technology that hosts the blog (php, apache, etc.), will make them very effective at developing an assessment strategy.

In Conclusion …

Thank you for taking the time to review the new blog policies. I know we’re all on the same page when I say that Actualizing Reader Experience is our number one priority here at Addison Road, and I’m confident that the best way to improve reader experience is through detailed micromanagement of every aspect of the posting process.

Either that, or I would somehow have to just recruit good writers, and then let them write.