Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I know its a week away, but...

From Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty:

"March 1, International Death Penalty Abolition Day, marks the anniversary of the date in 1847 in which the State of Michigan officially became the first English-speaking territory in the world to abolish capital punishment. It is a day to remember the victims of violent crime and their survivors; it is a day to remember those killed by state sanctioned violence - guilty or not- and their survivors; and it is a day for intensified education and action for alternatives to the death penalty."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Lao Tzu wrote that “a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is”.

I first came across this translation of this quote while reading Leading With Soul by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal. This quote intrigues me. I have frequently consulted the Tao Te Ching when struggling with life and its meaning, so I am somewhat familiar with Lao Tzu’s writing, but I think more so than any other verse (with the exception on his verses about oppressive governments) these words have recently had an impact on my day to day life. I have even gone so far as to include this on my email (yeah, I know it’s cheesy, but at least the quote is somewhat thought provoking). I like to interpret this message into my work life by letting conversations and plans develop more “organically” if you will. This does not mean that I slack, or just let things fall apart, but I do not want to constrain my ideas to “what has been done before” or “what works somewhere else”. This is a problem I have encountered more than once in my present position. Too many times I am confronted with “this works great at _____, so we should do it here”. I am not a fan of this train of thought all the time. My institution is like no other. There are different students, different staff, a different culture and a different climate. I fear that this may come off as slacking or inexperience on my part, I just hope that I can help change some minds.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"Spirituality and Education" Pt. 1

Disclaimer: This post is a "stream of thought" post so I apologize if it is a bit rambling.

I recently attended a conference concerning the issue of spirituality in education. The conference was primarily focused on the issue of the spirituality of college students. This is a topic I am very interested in, and have been doing research on for the past year. It seems that college students (specifically in North America) are undergoing a significant developmental change. My colleagues in the world of higher education are struggling on how to deal with the issues of morality, spirituality and ethics when it comes to our student’s beliefs and behaviors. I find this a very difficult issue as well, because our students are obviously struggling and despite many of our efforts we are just unable to help them. This problem is not just at public or "secular" institutions, but is widespread and occurring at religious institutions as well. There seems to be an underlying desperation among my colleagues, and that honestly concerns me. What concerns me most is that many of my colleagues have not yet worked out their own spiritual existence, so it is very hard for them to work with students who are also trying to work out their spiritual existence. The proposition that one can help another work out spiritual crises when they have not gone through a similar crisis is quite frightening. To make things worse, most of our college students are of the Millennial Generation. This generation is very different from those of the past, and they are evolving faster than Higher Education can keep up with them. There is no correct way to address this issue, but it must be discussed and we must find a way to better help our students and ourselves.

I will address this issue more in a few days. If you have any thoughts, please share.