Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Browsing Books for June - Thoughts on Education

 Saving Alma Mater: a rescue plan for America’s Public Universities by James C. Garland.  Library Call Number: LB23452.G37 2009.
          In this quartet of books about education, the state of American education is seen from many angles.  James C. Garland, former President of Miami University of Ohio, outlines the cost pressures on the American public University in Saving Alma Mater. As the Library Journal review says, Garland “…explains the damaging impact of an unpredictable and uncompetitive system of state appropriations..[he] also shows that faculty values and the character of academic culture get in the way of cost-effective management and the identification of priorities. …Campus attitudes have led to a defensiveness that wastes resources, resists change, and undermines the academic excellence that students and society overall need…While Garland's recommended change in tuition policy may not work throughout the system, his clearly expressed and hardheaded analysis provide a valuable perspective for both the general reader and public officials.”  
Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks out on American Education by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.  Library Call Number: LA228.T68 2008.
In Big Man on Campus, the former President of George Washington University and the University of Hartford provides a lively insight into the job of running a University and reminds readers that  "Finding sufficient resources might be the greatest responsibility, but presidents also focus on student well-being, curriculum, athletics, security, facilities, and the concerns of university neighbors."  The author reminds us that American education is still the place where students and professors from all over the world seek “personal and professional opportunities.”

The Truth about Teaching: What I Wish the Veterans had Told me by Coleen Armstrong. Library Call Number: LB1775.2 .A748 2009.
Armstrong’s The Truth about Teaching takes the reader into the trenches of K-12 education and offers witty, inspiring and wry advice to present and aspiring educators alike. The publisher says,"This beautifully designed book is a celebration of the joys and challenges of the teaching life. Author and veteran educator Coleen Armstrong is a wise, witty, and caring mentor. Her words of encouragement will resonate with new teachers, with students in teacher education schools, and with veteran teachers who wish to remember that they are not alone in an often lonely profession."

The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University by Louis Menand. Library Call Number: LB2322.2 .M45 2010.
Louis Menand’s The Marketplace of Ideas, on the other hand, speaks to the disconnect inside institutions that have functioned for many years with an established structural and philosophical process and are now in an age with radically different students and faculty, along with a society where technology is radically changing the way information is produced and disseminated. Trying to separate what should be kept with what might be usefully discarded, Menand offers a glimpse of education’s future.

Monday, June 06, 2011

June Videos --The Caper Film

The Score, starring Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando. Directed by Frank Oz.  2001. (Library Call Number: PN1995.9.C66S36 2001.)
     Four films on the theme of robbery are featured for June. In The Score, DeNiro plays master thief Nick Wells, who’s ready to retire until his partner (Marlon Brando in his last film appearance) pleads with him to make one last, big score: a priceless European scepter, locked away in a safe. There are only two problems: the vault is in the high-security Quebec Customs House and Nick has to work with an arrogant—and undependable—newcomer.
A Fish Called Wanda, starring Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin and John Cleese. Directed by Charles Crichton. 1999.  (Library Call Number: PN1995.9.C55F56 2006.)
In the hilarious A Fish Called Wanda, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis are crazy Otto and sexy, devious Wanda, part of a gang of diamond thieves.  They double-cross their partners, Ken and George, but George has already hidden the diamonds and won’t divulge where they are. What follows is laugh out loud mayhem of the Monty Python kind, not surprising with two of the former Pythons on screen.

The Bank Job, starring Jason Statham and David Suchet. Directed by Roger Donaldson. 2008.   (Library Call Number: PN1995.9.S87B36 2008.)  

In The Bank Job, Terry Leather (Jason Statham) is offered up entry to safe-deposit boxes in a small Baker Street bank.  He and his low-level crew steal millions in cash and jewelry, unaware that the boxes also contain the property of a vicious gangster and state secrets that the government will go to any lengths to protect. David Suchet, known for playing Hercule Poirot on PBS' Mystery, gives a remarkably different performance as vicious gangster Lew Vogel.

The Heist starring Pierce Brosnan and Tom Skerritt. Directed by Stuart Orme. 1989. (Library Call Number: PN1995.9.J8H45 1989.)
     And in The Heist, Pierce Brosnan, in one of his best efforts on screen, is Neil Skinner, fresh out of jail after being framed for robbery by his best friend—who also used the occasion to steal Skinner’s girlfriend. Out for revenge, the ex-con plots to steal the daily take of the racetrack where his friend runs security--and avoid the police detective still hounding him--in a game of double- and triple-cross.