Re: grading ourselves to death

Beth W. Baldwin (bobaldwi@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 12:55:19 -0400

On Wed, 4 Sep 1996, Jeffrey R Galin wrote:

> One of the assignments that all first year grads at Pitt had to
> write when I first started teaching there required us to explain what our
> "social mission" was for teaching. Seems to me this is the question that
> lies behind Eric's series of questions, but on a larger scale. More like,
> what is your social vision and why? How does it serve students, big
> business, and the nation-state?
> One difficulty with this question , however, is that it asks us to
> project our teaching practices into the future. The assignment in the
> grad seminar was grounded in the here and now. I like where this line of
> questions is heading, but am not sure how to tackle it.
> What do others think?

Jeffrey, I for one think that this would be a good line of questioning to
pursue. What's wrong with projecting our teaching practices into the
future? What better place to do that projecting than on Rhetnet?

I'm interested in "our" social mission. To what extent can there be a
collective "our" rather than a personal or group "our?" To what extent
are our institutions responsible for articulating a mission and then
asking departments and instructors to articulate how their missions relate
to the institutional mission. Several years ago, I surveyed members of
Rhetnet to find out whether or not their institutions/departments had
mission statements and whether or not they knew what those statements
said. Unfortunately, few people responded to my question at that time.
Perhaps this would be a good time to revisit that issue.

And considering the fact that you're talking about teaching practice here,
I don't know how one can ethically avoid projecting into the future.
Whether your class is a dream or a nightmare, it will have an impact on
the future of your students.


Beth Baldwin, Ph.D. *
Office of Continuing Education *
University of North Carolina at Greensboro *
Greensboro, NC 27412-5001 *
910-334-5301, ext. 44 * *