The greatest cowgirl of them all

cowgirlbackinthesaddleI’ve saddled up old Seminar and we’re ready to ride this afternoon up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a week of camp as a participant in this year’s Parks as Portals to Learning, which is run by my colleagues who are faculty affiliates of the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University:

This interdisciplinary field workshop was developed by Dr. Ben Bobowski and Dr. Ben Baldwin of the National Park Service and Rocky Mountain National Park. This workshop is a major curricular and institutional innovation that addresses a real-world, practical problem: the disconnection between academic teaching and research on the one hand, and professional natural resource management in the public land agencies on the other. Parks as Portals to Learning will use environmental history as a foundation for students, professors, and agency professionals to analyze contemporary resource issues such as climate change, air quality, and elk-vegetation dynamics. The pilot launched in 2013, with field workshops held each summer since. For one week each August, a group of students and faculty from a range of disciplines stay on the ground in Rocky Mountain National Park. They engage with park natural and cultural resource managers, learn about management issues within the park, and propose ways to use environmental history to address these issues and propose creative strategies for learning about and preserving park resources.

rockymtnnpIt’s a real honor to be participating this year, as the NPS celebrates its centennial this month.  La Famille Historiann buys a parks pass every year as we tend to visit and vacation in national parks very often–but then, we live an hour’s drive from Rocky, and there are dozens of spectacular national parks and monuments within a day’s drive of Colorado’s Front Range. Continue reading

History Made

Hillary Clinton, Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, PA, July 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton, Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, PA, July 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president last night.  To quote Joe Biden from 2010, “this is a big f^cking deal.”

All through this campaign–and as some of you may recall, throughout the 2008 campaign season too–I’ve been disgusted by the irrational hatred that people direct towards Clinton and her supporters in the face of the facts and her obvious qualifications for the presidency, from both the left and the right. (But let’s face it: it’s 90% coming from Republicans and other conservatives, with only a token amount from fellow Democrats, liberals, or leftists, who proved themselves to be as impotent as still-anesthetized neutered kittens this week in Philadelphia.) Continue reading

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Avenir Museum, Colorado State University

Doreen M. Beard, Director of Operations and Engagement and Megan Osborne, Coordinator of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising unpack and prepare to move-in to the new addition of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, June 18, 2015.

Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, Colorado State University

Curate your own museum and build an academic career in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains! This is a very cool opportunity for people with Ph.D.s in historic costume and textiles, anthropology, history, material culture, and/or museum studies.  For the full job description and instructions for applying, click here.   Here’s a little taste of what we’re looking for and who is eligible to apply:

Applications and nominations are invited for the Assistant Professor* tenure-track position of Curator of the Avenir Museum in the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University. This is a nine-month position with three months half-time summer salary. Salary and rank commensurate with experience and qualifications.

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Brexit for dinner tonight in the U.S.

UPDATED below

EU-flagHere in the U.S. the slowness and lateness of the results of the British exit vote on the European Union, or “Brexit,” is crazy-making. It’s 8 p.m. Mountain time in the U.S.–doesn’t that make it 2024 already in Greenwich Mean Time?  How do you people in Britain take this molasses-like pace of election returns?  (If that were on the ballot, I’d definitely recommend a revolution.  Or at least several strong mugs of flip while you wait.)

I didn’t have strong opinions about the Brexit, although leaving the E.U. seemed like an astonishingly stupid idea from a U.S. perspective:  “Go ahead:  pull out of the E.U.!  There’s always Ireland when we need to move our European bases of operation to another English-speaking country .”  Also:  “Get used to standing in the slow line when you’re traveling in Europe, with the rest of us who don’t have E.U. passports.”

But then all of the pro-exit voters and leaders I’ve heard and seen interviewed in the U.S. media sounded like Donald Trump, plus the fact that both David Cameron and John Oliver have been urging a NO vote on this Brexit business.  I heard an interview on NPR yesterday in which a British retiree in Spain said he hoped that the U.K. would vote NO on the Brexit today, but admitted that if he were back home, he’d probably vote to leave the E.U.  Why? Continue reading

Why it’s a good idea to take your teaching off the grid

Phil Hill reports on the Scriba Disaster: Sakai-based LMS for UC Davis is down with no plans for recovery:

In what might shape up as one of the worst LMS outages in recent history, UC Davis has been working without an LMS for the past week and does not expect their vendor to fix the problems before the end of the term. UC Davis uses a version of Sakai hosted by the LMS remnants of rSmart. In 2013 rSmart sold it’s Sakai-supporting LMS business to Asahi Net International, and in 2015 a private equity firm – Vert Capital – bought ANI and renamed it Scriba. Scriba brands the Sakai LMS for UC Davis as SmartSite.

UC Davis is on the quarter system, with the last week of class next week (May 31) and finals the week of June 6. A few months ago UC Davis announced their intention to migrate to Canvas as their LMS. SmartSite subsequently went down on May 19th, and all signs are pointed to a complete and final outage. Scriba will not answer the phones (you get a message that the mailbox is full), and UC Davis staff are making a heroic attempt to in-house recreate LMS tools and even to recover grades that had been entered on SmartSite.

At this point, they’re working on a temporary fix that will permit only instructors (not students) to access their LMS information for the end of the semester. Continue reading