Regina Masiello & Melanie Cortese
Chapter 5, Creating
the Family Friendly Campus
According to Kolodny, universities have not changed family care services
to accommodate the modern American family or the high percentages of women,
single parents, and student parents in the academy. Kolodny believes that
universities "urgently" need to reform campus services, thereby
creating the "family-friendly campus," and that they must start
such reform with a reconceptualization of the term family in general.
Kolodny frames the chapter with a sense of hope; indeed she begins the
chapter recounting the improvements the University of Arizona made during
her time as dean and proclaims her firm belief that real solutions (such
as flex-time, redesigned schedules, shelters, delay of the "tenure
clock") can be found to child care and elder care problems experienced
by faculty members and students alike. Kolodny continues her feminist
project in chapter five. She believes that current university child care
and elder care services reinforce notions that women are the primary care-givers
and that these services are heteronormative. Kolodny calls for new services
which actually "invite" as well as enable male faculty members
to assume more of the care-giving responsibilities in their families,
thus working to aid faculty and students while reshaping conceptions of
the relation between care and gender.
137-8 the "family-friendly campus" and "reconceptualizing"
the term family
140 Recognizing the family care needs of a changing student population
142 Kolodny refers to the campus as a "rare protected space"
143 accommodating the needs of modern students will generate funds
144 the campus as a "refuge" from violence
145-7 financial fallout Kolodny's reforms might incur
152 Kolodny restates her belief that universities have a societal responsibility
153 the role of child care initiatives in a capital campaign
158 how the troubling state of family care "signifies"
269-71 Appendix 2: A list of practical solutions and reforms
Questions to Consider
-Kolodny is concerned not only with making the campus a practical place
to work, but with making it welcoming, and in some cases even comforting
to its students. Does she assume that universities offer the "solace"
we have been discussing in class?
-What kinds of family-friendly programs does Rutgers have in place? How
many people actually utilize these services, and what does it cost the
Chapter 6, Teaching
and Learning in a World of Cognitive Diversity
Chapter 6 is a call to improve and update our teaching methods given what
we know about learning styles. Kolodny terms the differences in student
learning processes as "cognitive diversity," and this chapter's
closing sentence summarizes her goal: "The next generation of Ph.D.s,
in short, must be prepared to teach a more inclusive everyone, and they
must be prepared to teach everyone well." She takes this chapter
to discuss the changes necessary in teaching to accommodate what we now
know as differences between genders (p 166) and ethnicities (p 162) BUT,
she is very careful to start the chapter with an "anti-Bell Curve"
disclaimer. Kolodny explores the possibility of technology in "designing
new instructional formats," and most importantly she mentions the
inclusion of graduate students in these efforts. One of the questions
this chapter raises is HOW do we better prepare our teachers, both present
and future. Points to consider are the lack of incentive and support for
current faculty to respond to cognitive diversity (p 168), and the training
(or lack of) that current graduate students receive (p 171). On p 170
Kolodny details her beginning of the semester survey which lays the groundwork
for how she will teach her class (taking into account subject experience,
ethnicity, and learning styles) . While this is a useful practice, when
teaching is secondary to a junior faculty member's research, is there
enough time to work on course prep during the semester? Note her counter
to Kennedy's assertion that the sciences are a group-oriented discipline
on p 167.
Chapter 7, Setting
an Agenda for Change
In Kolodny's words this chapter "constructed as a loosely organized
meditation on change." (p 175). The first section lists changes Kolodny
made as a dean, and then she focuses on crucial areas in need of change.
This is an important chapter that explains Kolodny's actions and stance
on the future, so while it's long, it is vital to the book. With that,
I list a quote from each section that gives a sense of her position on
1. Restructure of curriculum with a focus on "cross-cultural literacy."
"Cross-cultural literacy should nurture our students' capacities
to understand and respond to important differences in social customs,
verbal cues, rhetorical patterns, aesthetic norms, and intellectual paradigms
and traditions across cultures and across human history." (p 178)
2. Building of community (this section covers a lot of Kolodny's implementations
that is hard to summarize, so I quote from a faculty member remarking
on her accomplishments - if that doesn't inspire you to read her ideas
nothing will) "Before this dean came aboard, this was just an office
building; now it's a community." (p 179)
3. Faculty responsibility (a preface to #5) "Staff, students, and
faculty must become full and knowledgeable partners in making these decisions.
They must own the solutions, or there will be no real solutions."
4. Better graduate training. "Clearly, we need to develop opportunities
for training graduate students
to understand not only their fields
of expertise and the skills of teaching for cultural and cognitive diversity
but also to understand university budgets, institutional goals, and the
different governance models available within academe." (p 192)
5. Shared governance at the university. "The inclusive team is thus
the seedbed for generating an integrated institutional vision and a campus-wide
sense of institutional participation." (p199)
6. More involved and aware Regents. "I want regents
in campus-based decision-making teams, so that they can see, firsthand,
the devastating consequences of the timing and nature of the [ir] fiscal
" (p 202)
7. Better student advising from faculty. "Everyone's ultimate shared
common goal is to help the students to succeed." (p 203)
8. A new role for unions. "A savvy administration and governing board
will be seeking partnerships everywhere and inviting the unions in."
9. The need for more rewards and incentives (really a follow-up to #5).
"Faculty and staff are capable of exercising great ingenuity and
creativity in restructuring and consolidating services and programs -
but only when they know that they will have a secure place in the new
order of things
" (p 211)
Questions to Consider
-In chapters 6 and 7 Kolodny refers to graduate student preparation regarding
teaching and their future responsibilities as faculty members. Since her
recommendations put into action would result in this class, would it be
possible for Ph.D. programs to require all graduate students to complete
a course such as ours? Who would teach it and what would the student reaction
be to a mandatory course outside of the chosen field of study?
-Similarly, Kolodny emphasizes community and shared governance on campus.
She refers to a committee that took two years to produce a report (p 198)
and her buddy system requires senior faculty to "guide their junior
colleagues through the first three years," as well as introduce them
to friends and colleagues and get them acquainted to the area. Are these
unreasonable time requests to make on faculty, or is it a veiled attempt
to encourage retention by getting faculty (and staff) invested in the
university BEYOND their teaching?
Chapter 8, Failing
the Future; or, How to Commit National Suicide at the End of the Twentieth
Kolodny believes that no look at higher education would be complete without
also attending to public primary and secondary schools which feed universities.
She envisions primary and secondary schooling along with higher education
as part of a continuum, and sees the public schools as deeply entrenched
in a system of the haves and have-nots (a similar story to universities
across the country). Kolodny paints a grim picture in this chapter; with
shrinking budgets, public schools hold overcrowded classes in hallways
and can't afford to hire enough teachers. Even worse, teachers in the
schools are underpaid and overworked, and many of the most devoted instructors
leave after burning out. Funding public schools would decrease the costs
of higher education Kolodny argues, as better quality high schools would
mean fewer remedial college courses. Kolodny's overriding suggestions
are that Americans must "recommit" to educational spending and
that the Japanese model of education should be an inspiration for reform.
With an aging population that feels distant from education though, these
changes seem unlikely. Reflecting on the past is not helpful in Kolodny's
eyes, as notions about the fifties are often wrong, and the educational
segregation of the past is to blame for our current state of affairs.
This chapter does not offer the same sense of hope earlier chapters do;
the problems she outlines are systemic and the solutions few and clearly
hard to employ.
217 the educational continuum
219 claims peer groups "distrust excellence as subversive and creativity
223 concise summary of the disparity between wealthy and poor school districts
226 arguing for a "national recommitment" to all educational
230-4 Kolodny deals with nostalgia for schools of the past
234-5 fewer extracurricular activities in public schools create family-care
239 higher education, primary and secondary education, and legislators
241-7 Kolodny lists her four "initiatives" in reforming the
Questions to Consider
-The question that seems to plague this class should be reiterated here:
how do we define or describe the function of the humanities? As budgets
shrink in primary and secondary schools, language courses and humanities
oriented activities are the first to go. Is it important that these be
maintained? If so, how to we justify that to people trying to move classes
out of hallways?
-What role can academics play in changing what seems to be an immense
problem? Do community outreach programs figure here? Should we consider
our jobs done if we teach remedial courses and train primary and secondary
educators in the classrooms? How many "academics" really do
A Closing Refrain:
Reflections at a Graduation
Here, Kolodny simply wraps up the book the way she began, with a personal
story about her experiences at Brooklyn College in the late 1950s early
1960s related to the university environment today. She notes the changes
(the end of free tuition, the more ethnically diverse student body, etc.)
and the constants (students choose Brooklyn College for its financial
accessibility, the liberating feeling of an education) and explores the
public view of higher education over the years. On pgs 253-254 she discusses
cost as provoking the public's loudest discussion about higher education,
and the misconceptions that go along with that. She notes the increase
in faculty workload and low salaries in relation to other jobs that require
less advanced degrees. Kolodny wraps it up by recognizing that higher
education should be used to "help sustain a democracy when its citizenry
is becoming more and more ethnically, culturally, and racially diverse
with every passing year." Her last page suggests that we speak without
outrage and find solutions to protect academic freedom, and in case you
didn't catch it in Chapter 2, she lets you know one more time where she