Monday, August 30, 2004

Why I Love My Job Reason Number 5007: Time is a thief
I've been thinking a great deal lately about time. It started this summer while doing archaeology at Tel Zeitah with Ron Tappy. He commented that time is a thief. He is correct. Time takes away our loved ones, our cities, all the things we value, Time steals them all. Time is a real downer. I hate time, though I am obsessed with being on time oddly enough. However, when I conduct history, archaeology, and theology, I am taking things back that time stole. I help others to remember things that happened, and it must upset time that I'm doing this. Some people help those that are sick, and save a life here or there. I help entire civilizations to be remembered, immortalizing them in a way.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Let Students Register
The theology department has been leading an effort to change the registration system at Xavier. Currently students have to go to an "advisor" who enrolls them during registration. We want to change this so students can register themselves. Currently these advisors are making many mistakes and putting students in the wrong classes. Moreover, this will free up everyone's time. Students won't have to stand in line at their advisor's door, and this will give faculty more time to do real advising about careers and material instead of simply putting numbers in a computer. Win win situation. Hallelujah!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Center for Undergraduate Research and Sundays
There is this new office here at Xavier called the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) headed by Dr. Mary Crowe. It seems like a great asset, and Dr. Crowe seems like a great person to run the office. In the past I’ve tried at times to include students in my research. It’s a great thing, but it can be much more work at times instead of just doing work by myself. Anyway, CUR has some new funding opportunities for new proposals. It isn’t much money but it is better than a sharp stick in the eye, as one of my teachers used to say. I want to propose some project with me and one of our majors Roy DuBose. The problem is trying to pick a topic that will help Roy and get me a publication. I am interested in doing more research with residue analysis. Roy’s most recent research has focused on the ark of the covenant. Anyway, this weekend I need to finish an article on source criticism for Bible Review. Then, I need to pick a topic for the CUR proposal. Also, we decided to make Sunday house day. SO every Sunday we pick a project and work on the house. Last weekend I put Polyurethane on the brick fireplaces. This weekend I think we will paint the molding we just put up. Anyway, that means I need to get much more done on Saturdays, because I won’t be in the offfice. I’m very pleased with how blogging is going so far. I’ve got some great students, at least that is my first impression.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Pedablogically Improving the World
I'm trying something new this semester. I set up a fairly massive blogging site for all four sections of my Theology 1120: Intro to Biblical Studies Course. The site can be seen at here.

Actually, Bart Everson in CAT helped me set it up, as the technological knowhow was beyond my current capabilities. I'm asking students to blog 2000 words per week in response to weekly questions that I have posted. I believe this will help them become better writers. Also, a theme in the blogs is in relationship to a project they implement to improve the world. You can read more about why I'm doing this here. That site also lists my criteria for grading these projects/blogs. I'm pretty enthusiastic about it at this point. In the end I think I will have a massive record of blogs that will directly relate to Xavier's mission statement, which reads as follows:

Xavier University of Louisiana is Catholic and historically Black. The ultimate purpose of the University is the promotion of a more just and humane society. To this end, Xavier prepares its students to assume roles of leadership and service in society. This preparation takes place in a pluralistic teaching and learning environment that incorporates all relevant educational means, including research and community service.

I'm a big fan of that mission statement. Anyway, the first blog has just been posted and unfortunately it wasn't so uplifting. Most of it consisted of ramblings about why 2000 words was way too much to expect. Even so, I think in the end it will be great pedagogical tool. Bart and I coined the term "pedablogical," pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Fall Semester Schedule Blues
Yesterday was the first day of classes for the Fall 04 Semester. It's the beginning of my fourth year at Xavier. Time has really gone by quickly. To be honest, I'm sort of starting off the semester with a bad attitude. I left for the summer to do archaeology thinking my schedule for the Fall would be the best ever. I was going to teach all four of my classes on Tuesdays and Thursday. That would have given me some much needed time to write. While in Israel I received an email from our department chair saying that the vice president let her know that I could not do that. I sent a long email explaining why I needed the schedule, but to no avail. They said nobody here at Xavier has a schedule like that, though I have personally found several who do. I believe that if the chair would have intervened and asked to give it a try because she thought it was a good idea it could have worked. Anyway, it reinforced my belief that students come first here at Xavier, whereas I would prefer a system where my needs are weighed equally to the needs of some incoming Freshman. Freshmen are important to me, as are Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. I would just like my voice to be heard and have more of a say in determining my schedule

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Death in Jerusalem
I'm in Jerusalem, at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, waiting anxiously until August 4th when I get to fly home. I've been gone too long. June 1 I went to a conference for a week in Indiana, and was home for a few hours, then flew to Jerusalem where I supervised on an excavation for a month and a half. Then I spent a week in Egypt, traveling around and taking pictures. Now I'm back in Israel. I phoned Therese and she said that Gilgamesh asked the other day if I died. I need to remember two things: two months is way too long to be gone from family, and that if I am going to travel around, it is much better to do it before the excavation. I was very homesick when volunteers on the dig got on the van to drive to the airport for home and I still had three weeks. Plus I am exhausted, and a bit ill, from the hectic schedule I had in Egypt. Anyway, I can't wait to get home. Things will be crazy busy when I get back. I have a couple of articles to finish and a pretty huge teaching load. So, Gilgamesh, I'm not dead, but about to be resurrected.