March 16, 2012

In the head

The truth is, love is in the head.
Emotion residing in our body's blood pump is but a folksy construct.
Sure we might feel sadness in our chest, like an empty ache
And yes, you could say that feelings travel through us,
As though the heart is pumping out joy or pain into every extremity.
Some might even argue that heartbreak feels life threating, like cardiac arrest
But that’s all just romantic fancy.
Love is in the head.

December 13, 2011

The Veil

The Veil

I don’t know when it happened
Or how it got so thick
But there it rests
Between me and the Sky.
I usually resign myself to sputtering about
Generously naming the darkness “healthy doubt”
But on days like these I try to lift my head
Straining weakened muscles to look up
And I scan the veil
For a hole, a thinner place
Where the light bleeds through.
With furtive moves and side steps I inch
Toward warmer earth on my feet and a glare in my eyes.
Some days it’s enough.
Some days.

by Dan Buck

August 13, 2010

Pedagogical Crisis - Why should they care?

So, I have begun at Lee.

My colleagues and I have been enduring a number of long meetings. It's lots of good stuff, but it's lots of sitting for a borderline ADHD guy like me.

Wed. we heard from the university president, Dr. Paul Conn. Despite his long tenure as president (25 years) the man is clearly an educator first. He understands the minds and hearts of both professors and students and he has inspiring things to say about how to make the two meet. He's funny and passionate and wise.

Jeanette Norden, PhD
Vanderbilt School of Medicine
Yesterday, we were privileged to hear from Dr. Jeanette Norden who is a professor at Vanderbilt Medical school.  She has won numerous teaching awards and had very valuable and moving stories to tell.  Here are the three primary things I've taken from her seminar.
  1. Teach less better.
  2. Let the end goal(s) of the course inform every class.
  3. Model the kind of thinking you expect from them. (and the kind of person you hope they'll be)
It's numbers 1 and 2 that have me most concerned about the course I just finished putting together.  I have been asked to teach Drama Lit I.  A history course that traces the trends of theatre from Classical to Ibsen.  (that's 500 BCE to 1900 CE).   Anyway, there's a lot you can pack into a course like that and packed I have.

But yesterday I realized I was more worried about what I am teaching than why I am teaching it.  (A common rookie mistake according to Dr. Norden.)  So now I am left looking again at my syllabus with the following questions:
  1. Why will my students care about these plays and playmakers and their historical contexts?
  2. Is there a grand story to be told that will have more impact than details about sundry period styles and drama theory?
  3. Is it wise to try to create a "master narrative" for a class of postmodern students who respond better to multiple layered and fragmented narratives?
Wrestling with these questions is my task for the next few days.  It's scary and intimidating as all true growth is, but it reminds me of the fortunate position I am in.  I get paid to learn more about subjects that I love and devise the best ways to spread that love!  I could do much worse.

July 02, 2010

Preview: The Buck Life

Here's a little video showing our new home and some of what our life will include in TN.

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