New Story: West Virginia Seizes the Narrative

I spent two amazing days in Morgantown, WV last week for New Story 2017. This is my second time at the conference, which features some of the most amazing initiatives taking place in my home state. New Story is reclaiming West Virginia's narrative, providing a networking opportunity for people doing work in the state accomplish …

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Field School 2017

    The Field School has been progressing nicely--the students have interviewed about 35% of the 70 gardeners at Lang Street Garden--it's been fun, intensive and exhausting. One of the fun parts of working with community gardens is the distinct opportunities for participant-observation research. Some of the students have "dug in" to the experience by …

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Good Leaders and Followers

This is a follow-up to my last post about the Future of Folkloristics conference. The conference participants talked about the skills of leadership and "followership." Many people don't think that they are, or can become leaders. They feel more comfortable as a follower. I don't have a problem with that, except the rules for good leaders …

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The Future of American Folkloristics #FOAF

About a year ago, a group of forward-thinking graduate students at Indiana University hatched a plan for a conference. They wanted to bring folklorists at all stages of their careers* together to discuss the future of the discipline. Shortly after, the planning for FOAF began. This week, one hundred plus folklorists converged on Bloomington. From …

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Real Innovation, Not Corporate Modeling

Some VA schools are recreating the idea of the university, not trying to fit it into the corporate model


If your institution has implemented RCM budgeting, you know that one of the main casualties of the model is interdisciplinary studies, especially across colleges. And given that most cutting-edge innovation is coming out of just those kinds of interdisciplinary study, the corporate management model is actually undermining one of the most significant ways in which university research might feed economic development.

Writing for the Roanoke Times, Robby Korth has reported on Virginia Tech’s significant commitment to developing not just interdisciplinary programs but interdisciplinary “areas” of study in which very innovative teaching, learning, research, and scholarship will be fostered. And it is hard to see how this approach will not benefit the more traditional disciplines within the university since most of them will contribute in some way to the work being done within new areas of study.

Here are the opening paragraphs of Korth’s article, describing the major elements of…

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