Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Lincoln, Nebraska is a nice college town on a flat grid, with much of what makes a college town.

Bike friendly, brew pubs and coffee houses, plus the obligatory chains, the Starbucks, the Applebee’s, the Holiday Inn, movie house playing the latest Hollywood studio offerings. But, a polite Midwestern feel to all, with friendly retail help, freshly scrubbed young white Christian faces and smiles, some authentic.

Liz (H’s best friend in all the world, from way back when at the Nerskip School) and I had a fun visit. We walked to Haymarket Square, had dinner at Buzzard Billy's (I had a buffalo steak), and then walked to the ballpark to see the Lincoln Salt Dogs.

It was ‘Girls’ Night Out at Haymarket Park, with tables set up for the local salon, Curves, Mary Kay Cosmetics, raffles with cheap prizes galore and between inning silly fun. During warm-ups, we chatted with one of the St. Paul Saints, who offered a genuine American Association baseball! A treasure. We stayed long-enough to hear the 7th inning off-key rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” as we walked on the bridge over the railroad tracks, passing a large toad resting by the side. Throughout the evening the weather was muggy and we watched clouds build from the south. There were a few drops here and there, but no rain out. At about 2:00 a.m., I was awakened by the downpour outside the hotel window.

So, each time these workshops are different. At U of N, there was an old pro, an adjunct that loved teaching, had been used to the honors students and now had accepted the challenge of two large sections with 200+ students. Friendly, welcoming and new her way around the classroom and students. Students probably loved her. The other participants were PhD candidates, again, friendly and welcoming, but seemed a bit more interested in finishing up their programs and getting jobs than in improving teaching. Their focus with the technology and the content was more along the lines of automating homework, developing computer-graded quizzes, and less on how to better the experience for students. Not surprising however, as much of what this workshop is about is making it easier for instructors. Still, the ideas of the Change or Die Commission came to mind, especially, when the number of new accounting PhDs is much less than the available teaching slots nationwide.

The trip back to Seattle was relatively uneventful, thankfully not ending up in the long line for cancelled and delayed flights (and angry, frustrated passengers) at the United Airlines desk at the Denver Airport. However, I did leave the iPod on the flight from Lincoln to Denver. I contacted Lost and Found, but will see if I ever see that one again.

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