Friday, November 30, 2012

Meet the Old Boss: The Dean Steps Down

A big announcement came down at DSU today regarding the leadership we've had in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Our dean is stepping down.  
Dr. Kari Forbes-Boyte announced today that she will be stepping down as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences as of June 2013 to pursue full-time teaching here at Dakota State University. She plans to teach in the areas of geography and cultural anthropology starting Fall 2013.
 Since Dr. Forbes-Boyte began her career at DSU as Dean in 2005, the College of Arts and Sciences has grown to include new cutting-edge programs and has fostered research activities for both faculty and students.  The programs in Digital Arts and Design and Computer Game Design, developed while Dr. Forbes-Boyte was dean, have quickly become some of the largest programs at DSU. The cross-college approach to the Computer Game Design degree has built a challenging program that brings the art and technology of gaming together for well-rounded educational experience. The College of Arts and Sciences has also fully implemented the Math Emporium for pre-general education math courses since Dr. Forbes-Boyte has been Dean.
 The research culture within the college has also flourished under Dean Forbes-Boyte’s leadership, with faculty in the college awarded almost $300,000 in grant funds last year. These grants and the active publishing agendas of college faculty have helped build a college where research in both liberal arts and natural sciences is greatly valued.   During her tenure, the Science Center underwent a massive renovation and reopened for classes in 2010.  And, under Dean Forbes-Boyte’s leadership, the college has developed a culturally rich program of speakers and has sponsored a wide variety of learning activities for students outside the classroom, including student participation in regional and national competitions and conferences.  Dr. Forbes-Boyte has also been key in developing a multi-cultural campus through her work with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
 Dr. Forbes-Boyte is a tenured, full professor at DSU.  She has also served on the faculty at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, where she taught American Indian studies, geography and anthropology and on the faculty at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.  Before coming to DSU, she served as the Dean of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Sacramento City College in Sacramento, California.
 A national search for her replacement will begin shortly.
Things change, and we always hope that things change for the better.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Sense of Decency

I can't help thinking that it's about time, and it looks like soon, that some may stand up to Mr. Grover Norquist in the manner that others finally stood up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy when he attacked recklessly in a hearing concerning the U.S. Army.  McCarthy seemed to sniff out Communists anywhere there were people.  Joseph Welch, an attorney for the Army, uttered the lines, "You have done enough.  Have you no sense of dignity?"
A similar charge might be brought against Norquist soon, as Republican signatories to his no-new-tax pledge are beginning to chafe under the binding of his threat to come after them if they reneged.  But these public pledges to a figure not elected to office are helping drag the country to the so-called "fiscal cliff."  It's time they pitch their pledges into the burning barrel and pledged to solve the budget problems first and let Grover grumble.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Snow Queen Competition Update

Who knew what I was thinking when I agreed to be a judge for the 2012 Snow Queen competition that was held in Howard, SD, last night?  Nothing all that critical, I would guess.  And so there I was, spending my Saturday afternoon and evening with some intelligent, lovely young women and two other judges--Dan Bohl and Allison Malone. This competition, which sends its winners on to a state-wide contest, has been held since 1958, and once featured the wife as a contestant.  Turned out to be an interesting day.

Scoff as you might at such contests, the event puts the young women--from middle and high school--on the spot, with interviews with the judges and a pageant at night.  Judges were tasked with ranking the three senior and six junior candidates on several criteria, including poise, sincerity, personality, and other factors.

The interviews and the evening's competition resulted in the crowning of Sidney Thompson as the Senior Snow Queen and Kayla Pardy as Junior Snow Queen.  Each will move on to the state competition in Aberdeen in January.  Both will represent Miner County well.

It might come as a surprise that perhaps 300 people attended the event, and they were enthusiastic with each of the announcements of the winners.

The evening also included a talent show (not connected to the Snow Queen contest) where a very young Faith Genzlinger strutted away with the title of the Junior Talent division with a rendition of "These Boots Were Made for Walking."  Derick Burghardt was unopposed in the Senior Talent division.

Would I do it again?  I suspect I'd be tempted.  The event organizers treated us well and nobody egged the car or threatened to punch me out.  And it's not every day that a guy gets so many lovely smiles from attractive young women or gets to enjoy so much glitz and glitter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Test Pie/Go Pie

Here's what comes from volunteering to make a "real" pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving at the in-laws.  It's a risky business, since pumpkin pie is, for some people, the linchpin of the entire meal.  So, it's not clear yet whether the pie will hold up under the scrutiny of the pie aficionados at the Hueners household, but from what I could tell from the pies in progress, it looked like I managed to hold my own.  
I started by walking out on to the front porch and plucking one of the display pumpkins--maybe not the best source of pumpkin flavor, but it made me feel real and practical.  Then I cut it in halves, baked it to softness, peeled and sorted it, then zapped it in the processor until it was smooth.  That was yesterday.  Today I chose a recipe that supplemented the pumpkin with yams for an even pumpkinier taste.  Lots of milk and cream.  Made the crust with a modified Nancy Moose recipe (changing some water to vodka), then filled the cooked crust with heated filling.  
Waited for the jiggle to move only to the center, and here we are.  I'm ready for a taste.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

GPACW and the Future of Computers and Writing

Word is that the next Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing Conference will go big next year, being hosted by none other than the University of Minnesota at their main campus in downtown St. Paul (or Minneapolis--stay tuned).  After the success of the event yesterday at Mankato, it's sure to be a conference that brings in even more people curious and willing to share about the work that people are doing in this field.

My own session had a small but interested group that heard from Matt Barton of St. Cloud about what we could learn from Kickstarter and similar crowd-funding opportunities.   They heard me talk about our growing English for New Media program at Dakota State University, and they heard Danica Stith of Iowa State talk about using political ads in a swing state for doing rhetorical analysis.  That group lingered and talked and shared more ideas as the conference wound down to a close.

Kudos to Lee Tesdell and his crew at Mankato State University for a job well done.  I look forward to next year!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Living in Red

Mr. Obama's election victory came as a welcome gift from those who made that choice in places mostly far from where I live, and mostly far from where I have ever lived.  In the end, those who voted for him in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Kansas--all states I once and do call home--were essentially uncounted. Their electoral college votes all went to Romney. In fact, despite our hopes for a continuation of the President chosen four years ago, we could only watch as people in other places, most of them far from Lake County, South Dakota, overcame those who chose Obama's opponent.

So a guy has to reflect on living among a majority whose views are so different from his own.  So I look back on places I have lived to see how far out of synch from the majority I am, at least on choosing a president:
RED:  Stanley County, SD:  Obama 28.2%, Romney 69.0%
RED:  Lawrence County, SD:  Obama 35.0%, Romney 61.8%
RED: Albany County, WY:  Obama 46.4%, Romney 48.9%
RED: Yellowstone County, MT:  Obama 39.0%, Romney 58.6%
RED: Ford County, KS:  Obama 30.5%, Romney 67.5%
BLUE:  Roberts County, SD:  Obama 54.1%, Romney 44.2%
RED:  Lake County, SD:  Obama 43.3%, Romney 54.4%.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?  It is nice to know, however, that my three children are all living in areas more friendly to Mr. Obama and the Democrats in general:  Hennepin County, MN, went for Obama 62.4% and Romney 35.6%.  They're among those who chose the President.  Thank you, people in blue. 

All figures are from the "President Map" on The New York Times.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sunset on Election Day

Sunset on Election Day
We've watched and listened and read all about the candidates and the issues on the ballot, and now it's time to put that work to rest and watch the results come in.

Let's hope, whatever our choices, that we've made things better for ourselves and our neighbors.

Election Day

It's election day across the country, like the day we open the presents beneath the tree, ones that have been sitting there for a year and a half, one we want, one we don't (at least we think).  The sun came up like it does every day, and it will again tomorrow, no matter how it all turns out.

I can't help thinking, though, that the consequences of our presidential election will be big.  Two very different paths on the agenda.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Zombie Life Meets Gangnam Style

One of the more popular shows on television today depicts a post-apocalyptic world of a few survivors facing hoards of walking zombies, the AMC program "The Walking Dead." Our DSU campus is celebrating its own version of the dead versus the living in a game of HvZ--Humans versus Zombies. In a backdrop to these developments, PSY is dancing his ass off, gangnam style.  Which leads to the following.  You've been warned:

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Soul Mates?

Nice little video of love buzz.