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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Monday, January 20 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterNote: Beginning this week, the postcard mailings are being pared from eight per week to seven, primarily because your webmaster is having trouble keeping up. To better facilitate this schedule, Judy Rose has kindly agreed to have her profile feature, Where Are They Now, posted as Tuesday's postcard; please look for it tomorrow. The NTAMHS Old News features compiled by Barbara Hakanen will be posted as Thursday's postcard, with yours truly posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. David Caldwell will continue in the Saturday and Sunday slots.

Academic reform

(Sixth in a series inspired by my doing a couple guest lectures last year at a local high school.)

Taking a graduate degree from a major university was one of the best moves in my life, in most of the ways I hoped it would be when begun, but in some important ways that weren't anticipated.

At the time, I was conducting a campus ministry designed around my background in writing, editing, publishing, and work with high school and college-age students. Though I could have made of that anything I wanted, I took up the challenge of some colleagues in the East and in Toronto to introduce some new, Christian-based, approaches to college-level studies. I wasn't alone in doing this, though I was virtually alone in calling for "Christian studies" at the time in California.

I started a Christian studies center just off-campus at UC Santa Barbara and wrote my UCLA thesis as a Christian theory of journalism/mass communication. After finishing my master's, I moved the ministry from UCSB to Stanford, in part to see if the theories could "fly" in the most rigorous and prestigious academic environment in the western United States. In those Vietnam war years many major universities had independent—what could be called "fringe"— programs designed by students and faculty independent of the traditional academic structure, offering antiwar courses and, invariably, bringing in other interests like women's studies, minority studies, rock music, and others.

I discovered that a program inspired by that "movement" at Stanford straddled both worlds. Though mostly independent of traditional university governance, it was supervised by regular tenured faculty members who legitimated the courses, meaning they could be taken by both undergraduate and graduate students for actual credits toward their degrees. Having my master's and recruiting one of the university's honored full professors as my advisor, I was able to introduce Christian studies (under a variety of names) at Stanford for full credit. At least one of those courses, Pluralizing the Mass Media for Social Change, was being taught, at least by name if not the same in content, by people I've never met in at least one other university a few years later.

I had to plan the courses (I gave 11 of them over several years) from idea to outline to required and recommended reading lists and guest speakers. That entirely unanticipated byproduct of my graduate studies was the most educational experience of my life. I went on to teach an additional nine years of adult courses through other local colleges and set up an extensive catalog of writing and publishing courses for Writers Connection.

What I learned through the experience also revolutionized my thinking about "public schools" and reform movements in that environment, which is where we'll continue on Wednesday.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Women's studies

A WOMAN IS LIKE A TEA BAG...YOU DON'T KNOW HOW STRONG SHE IS UNTIL YOU PUT HER IN HOT WATER

I HAVE YET TO HEAR A MAN ASK FOR ADVICE ON HOW TO COMBINE MARRIAGE AND A CAREER

SO MANY MEN, SO FEW WHO CAN AFFORD ME

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for the day

Seen on a church signboard: "What part of 'THOU SHALT NOT' don't you understand?"

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

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