COVID-19 and Academia

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by Ismitje, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As of a week ago, we at University of Idaho had a two day "trial" of moving classes online, scheduled for the Monday and Tuesday following Spring Break (23-24 March). But as of Friday we switched to an indefinite time frame.

    Our dorms are remaining open as are most services. And we'll be working - theoretically at least - so we're "ahead" of a lot of places.
     
  2. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Maryland
    I'm in Western NY, and we just finished our first week of 100% digital. I had my first Zoom bomber today (almost positive it was one of those Turning Point USA dingleberries). Setting up passwords on all my Zoom rooms this weekend.

    This is a suitably crazy end to an already crazy year (between a 4-4 VAP and a couple of adjunct gigs, I've been teaching a 6-5 load this year).

    I've already had one pretty harsh beat. I finished my PhD last July, but since my grad institution only does one commencement per year, I was set to walk/get hooded in May. Commencement was canceled the day my regalia arrived.

    There is another potentially awful beat in the works. I was offered, and verbally accepted a tenure track position last week. The offer letter should have arrived by now. I'm watching searches and new hiring get frozen/canceled across the country over the last 48 hours. So I'm pretty much living in abject terror that I may have actually gotten the brass ring only to possibly see it revoked a week later.

    I'm already pretty sick of 2020, haha.
     
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  3. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Maryland
    In rare good news...the offer letter did arrive, was followed by the formal contract, both of which have been signed. I officially have a tenure-track job. I have to move to Arkansas, but I have a tenure-track job.
     
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  4. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's a "get to" move for sure!
     
  5. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Arkansas must be one of the closest shapes to a square, although I don't know if there's a way of quantifying that. Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, Wyoming, and Alaska look the closest to squares.

    What's farther is my friend who came from Long Island east of New York City, went to Boston University, and his only job offer was at University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) by the border, so he moved. He's a college and minor league sports broadcaster who has broadcasted the USL. He's in one of the southernmost towns of the country. Only southern Florida, Hawaii, and islands that aren't states are farther south. UTRGV is north of Miami, but south of the northern suburbs of Miami.
     
  6. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Maryland
    Interesting to see that Cal State has announced that all classes will be digital in the Fall, but the sports have not yet announced anything. Will certainly draw the line pretty clearly about the link (or lack thereof) between sports and education.
     
  7. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We're currently planning to be open at Idaho, and at Wazzu too. I don't think residential campuses like ours could announce going online without the other schools in the region doing the same, without risking budgetary disaster. It's already going to be brutal.

    What being back actually looks like is a very different question.
     
  8. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    How did I miss this?

    Well, nothing to add, except congrats to Jacen. My wife's college had to tell candudates that offers won't be finalized with formal letters until July 1.
     
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  9. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Colorado, too. In terms of having straight borders, only them and Wyoming qualify, and even their northern and southern borders appear to me to be following a parallel
     
  10. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A date comes with me to dinner with my family, and we somehow begin discussing the states with the squarest shapes. Away go most of the dishes and out comes an atlas or two (one a gazeteer, one a road atlas), and the look on her face told me she was not the one.

    We decided on New Mexico.
     
  11. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #12 EvanJ, May 31, 2020
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    I was excluding Colorado because I thought the length was too much bigger than the height, but I just measured and I shouldn't have excluded Colorado. The ratio of length the height is about the same as Wyoming.

    I agree. The length and height were both 1 5/8 inches on Google Maps, which converts to 335 miles. The square root of the area is 348.85. Western New Mexico goes a little farther south, which explains at least some of why the square root is greater than my measurement. Arizona has two borders that aren't straight.

    A unique thing about states is that you can start in Delaware, go straight west, and you go to Maryland, Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. Farther south, if you cross where state borders are diagonal, you can start in Delaware and go to Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. That means you have a streak of four consecutive states you've entered that you've already been through.

    The four Census regions also have strange things. Missouri is in the Midwest. If you start in southeastern Missouri, you can go opposite directions that both go to the South. Delaware and Maryland are in the South because they're south of the Mason-Dixon Line. That means that if you're on the Delaware side of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, taking the bridge to New Jersey takes you in a different region, but you can drive to El Paso, which is 30 hours according to Google Maps, and be in the same region. To put that into perspective, going from St. Agatha in northeastern Maine to Miami takes 29 hours. Driving from Gillette Stadium in New England to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado is also 29 hours. Comparing it to Europe, it's 28 hours from Lagos in southwestern Portugal to Prague, and 30 hours from Lagos to Vienna. Starting in Brest in western France, in 29 hours you can get to Thessaloniki, Greece or Kiev. Starting in Barcelona, you can get to Minsk, Belarus in 28 hours and to Riga, Latvia in 30 hours. I'm saying people should drive that far. I'm just using it to compare distances. You're always going to have unusual situations near borders, but that's ridiculous. Regions are divided into two or three parts, but there should be more than four regions. If you surveyed people asking about which of these three cities would be most different from the other two, I wonder if all one million people out of one million would say Philadelphia and Baltimore are similar and El Paso is different, but the Census regions say Philadelphia is different.
     
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  12. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Okay I get that. You're looking for a true square. There are none.

    Colorado and Wyoming are the only rectangular states in the nation. The others have wiggly border lines somewhere that keep them out of the running.
     
  13. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd choose a state with a very close height and length with one border that isn't straight but that doesn't change too much like between New Mexico and Mexico over an exact rectangle with a greater difference between length and height. If you made a toy shaped like New Mexico where the base has a strange shape, compared it 8.5x11 paper, and asked people which is closer to a square, I wonder which one would get a majority.
     
  14. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Unless and until there is some guarantee that income/jobs/businesses will somehow be protected, many entities (universities included) are in Faustian situations. If we go fully online at the university this Fall, we'll lost students, tuition dollars, and jobs. There's no way around it. And then communities like ours that rely on having students here will fall quickly. So we are highly encouraged by the situation to open for business as usual.

    This is the major problem with the US approach to the social safety net: since it is mostly absent, a great many entities will choose to go ahead. And if your livelihood isn't threatened, it's easy to say "absolutely not" to proceeding. Tenured faculty at the university are about ready to refuse to be in the classroom this fall, and I understand the perspective. But they won't lose their jobs in the resulting budget collapse when students don't enroll.
     
  15. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Maryland

    I'm a bit of a cynic. 12 years ago, after the banks almost destroyed the economy by gambling and taking WAY too many risks...the government bailed them out. Earlier THIS year, when corporations (which had been enjoying sky-high profit margins and had their tax bills slashed) got slammed by the shut-down...the government bailed them out. Now, education institutions want to be safe with the health/lives of the staff, students, faculty, and administration, and all anyone can talk about is that the institution would go under otherwise.

    If there are government bailouts for greed and government bailouts for reckless planning in the private sector, why are there no bailouts for prudence in the non-profit education sector? "Open and people will die vs. close and institutions will die" is not a binary I am willing to accept, considering we've SEEN the government step in three times in the last 15 years (the two I mentioned above and the auto industry bailout) to prevent such a binary in banking and industry.
     
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