Education

Dear DU Examination Committee, I love the concept of exams. It’s like: We don’t think you have enough things troubling you at this very formative juncture in your life when you’re a teen or a tween, lost and struggling, so we’ll just pile up a very dysfunctional and obsolete system of evaluating whether you deserve to get ahead in your life or not, based purely on your ability to cram, retain and reproduce. Thank you very much. I started off this semester thinking there will be enough time to acquaint myself with the course. I had opted for a course that was fairly new to me. Ideal Assumption: I will enjoy the curriculum and pace up with the other students, and now that I am finally studying something I love, I will excel at it. Reality: The teachers rush to finish off with...
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Dear Mr. Page, We are writing to you on behalf of a group of over 100 student leaders from around the country to express our support for Paul Polak's ambitious challenge to Google to help end poverty. We are the University Innovation Fellows. We believe that poverty can be ended, and we are thrilled with the opportunity that Mr. Polak has presented you. By taking on this challenge, Google can help change the lives of over 100 million people, and can inspire millions more to address one of the world's greatest challenges in a revolutionary way. We do believe, though, that time is of the essence. By responding to this moonshot challenge now, Google can bring a spirit of optimism to the global community and spur a grassroots movement of innovation that spreads around the world. Too...
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Dear Professor Giora Re. Open letter by “BOYCOTT!” to CRH plc management I refer to the open letter to which you subscribed, addressed by BOYCOTT! (Supporting the Palestinian call for BDS from within), to the management of the Irish public limited company, CRH, urging it to divest from Israeli cement company Nesher. Since you signed as a professor, I fear that the shallow unsubstantiated arguments presented in BOYCOTT’s political appeal are unworthy of the rigorous academic standards one is entitled to expect of the university you represent. BOYCOTT’s letter to CRH not only lacks rational argumentation, it employs highly emotive inaccurate language hardly appropriate from an academic. The title professor conveys a false sense in the mind of the reader that the material is...
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Dear Chancellor Gallagher: I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing today as a concerned alumna of the University of Pittsburgh. Recent news has made me aware of our university’s resolute failure to provide a safe and welcoming environment for its transgender students, faculty, and staff. This failure is symbolized by the Johnstown campus’s 2012 expulsion of Seamus Johnston, the subsequent announcement of a policy that forbids many trans students from using sex-segregated facilities that match their gender, and your administration’s April response to the ruling in Johnston vs. The University of Pittsburgh, in which you disingenuously asserted that it was “never [y]our intent to violate anyone’s rights.” Our university’s actions have been reckless and wrong. My studies in...
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Dear Auburn University, I would like to start out by saying thank you. Thank you for giving me the best first year of college I could have ever imagined. You have brought me some of the best memories, that I will hold forever. Although my time so far has been short, I have learned so many things over the course of this year that only Auburn would be able to teach me. Thank you for teaching me how to take pride in my school. Auburn takes a lot of pride of "The Auburn Family" saying, which is why I think it drew me to Auburn, other than hearing my dad talk about how indescribable his four years were here. The Auburn Family is much more than it is made out to be, and once you are a student, it makes more sense. One of my favorite lessons I've learned is the difference between Auburn...
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Dear Dr Spence, I am writing to you on behalf of the Socialist Equality Party to demand that you rescind your refusal to allow the SEP to hire a venue at the university for the purposes of holding a public anti-war meeting on Sunday April 26, the weekend of Anzac Day. The meeting is entitled “Anzac Day, the glorification of militarism and the drive to World War III." The university’s decision constitutes a flagrant act of political censorship and makes a mockery of your own statement, made on April 15, stressing “the importance … of our commitment to academic freedom, the freedom of speech, and the right to protest. We must be a place in which debate on key issues of public significance can take place, and in which strongly held views can be freely expressed on all sides.” As you will...
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Dear President Jennings, I should start by saying that I love Lincoln University. I spent the first six years of my career as a faculty member in the teacher education department. Every time “Lincoln University” appeared under my name in a peer-reviewed article or at a speaking engagement, I would feel great pride to represent a small historically Black university an hour outside of Philadelphia. Not University of Pennsylvania. Not Temple. Lincoln. Thee Lincoln. As many professors do at some point, I started looking to make a move to another university the year before you arrived as president. I didn’t leave until 2012, which means that you were my boss for two semesters. This also means that I attended one of your gender separate convocations (the men’s one, naturally), but more on...
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Dear leaders, I address you as "leaders" because, for some reason (perhaps manager comes too close to rhyming with janitor for your liking), you've increasingly taken to styling yourselves in this way. How grand. How imposing. How spurious. Leaders are followed. The capacity and willingness to drive people along with the use of the pitchfork of threatened redundancy or the flaming torch of disciplinary action does not make a leader and the mere fact that you so brazenly call yourselves leaders is evidence of the malaise that prompts me to write. For the record, if you're not Alexander, Napoleon, Monty or the modern equivalent you're not really a leader. Be neither managers nor leaders. Be provosts, masters, principals, vice-chancellors, rectors, deans, registrars, bursars. How...
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Dear Dr. Register, In regard to your proposal to improve East Nashville schools, let me first say I cannot imagine the job placed before you. It is a huge job, made more complex by the diversity of our metro area. There is obviously no right answer. But there is a right course of action. And that is to involve the schools, administration, teachers, families, parents and leaders of the East Nashville community in the development of a plan to improve our schools. Nine years ago, my husband and I moved to East Nashville despite friends’ and families’ objections. They thought it was too rough around the edges. But the thing is we liked that about it. We wanted a neighborhood for our children filled with families who don’t all look, live and pray alike. Back then, we all knew families...
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Dear Teachers, October 15, 2013 When I came to the high school at age 17, I had absolutely no idea how to be a student. Many of you know by now that I had didn’t know what a teacher-student dynamic was. I hope you understand that up to that point I had been around adults who mostly made stuff up as they went along, and expected respect from authority that was derived simply from being bigger and older, not from legitimate accomplishment. To a scared 17 year old, it looked the same at first, because of the authority aspect. In the three years I went to high school, I learned to respect you for the knowledge and expertise you represent. I think I was supposed to respect you simply for being teachers...
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