Daily Archives: April 6, 2009


It looks like the final project will take the form of a final essay, though there are two changes: 

1. Everyone will be required to workshop their paper at the LAC except those who were told in my comments that their papers were well-written. Please take this requirement seriously. Even if you feel that your writing is exemplary use the opportunity to hone your paper. Your goal is a grammatically pristine, conceptually rich and stylistically awe-inspiring final paper.

2. All papers will be submitted to turnitin.com because some people with no moral compass or sense of irony plagiarized essays for a class on VALUES. Fair Warning: I am so tired of busting people for plagiarism– or, worse, knowing they plagiarized via teacherly intuition (paranoia?) yet not having sufficient evidence– that I vow to prosecute any offenders to the limit. Potentially this means not only an F on the essay, but one for the semester and notification of the proper authorities, an action that can and has– believe it– ended in students’ expulsions. 


Yes there is extra credit. Here’s how it works:

Go to a museum or other cultural institution and write a 500 word “field report” on one or more of its features (a painting, a sculpture, the theme of an exhibit, etc.) and how they relate to the subject of this course. This assignment should be undertaken in a reflective manner. Points for creativity, profundity, and unexpected brilliance. I reserve the right to NOT grant extra credit if the response is, like, super lame.

Finally, all of you have been on my mind in recent days. On Friday I attended a meeting with professors in SJSU’s American Studies department. One of the topics of our conversation was the issue of “grade inflation” and a “culture of entitlement” which is said to characterize the current cohort of college students, the so-called Generation Y or Millenials. You might be interested to know that according to a fairly recent study (pdf) sociologists consider your generation to be dangerously narcissistic. You can read an account from the LA Times here. I like the last bit in particular:

Flacks summed up the attitudes he often encounters in students, who expect a tangible payoff from their education:

“The old model was a collegial one in which students and professors alike sought knowledge for knowledge’s sake. The new model is ‘I paid my money, give me my grade and degree.’ It makes me want to ask [students], “Want fries with that order?”