Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'tis the season

Today has a special place in my memory, as it was just a (relatively) few short years ago that many friends of mine lost their lives in what's been said to be the "the worst U.S. military air disaster." (Tennessean.com, 2005)

Lots of soldiers, returning from a peacekeeping mission, lost their lives that day, but one stands out in my mind the most.

Virgil Robertson and I worked together at Fort Campbell in the Spring of 1985. One of us was to be chosen to accompany the troops on a peacekeeping mission in Sinai, Egypt. Neither of us were really excited about the opportunity, but we were both prepared to serve our country.

We were both trained to conduct investigations for the military. We were both recently married. We both had a young child at home. I hadn't yet been to The Air Assault School at Fort Campbell (a training tradition - http://www.campbell.army.mil/aas/).

Virgil was chosen to go on the Sinai mission. He (and 247 others) never returned. I attended Air Assault School after he departed.

For a tribute to those who died in Gander, Newfoundland, on this day in 1985, check out my website.



The Tennessean - December 12, 2005
Gander crash mystery still haunts - 20 years ago, a plane with 248 soldiers of 101st went down; no one's sure if killer was icy fate or cold-hearted terrorism
Staff Writer
The DC-8 charter sat on the tarmac at the Gander, Newfoundland, airport for 89 minutes while it was refueled that cold night, Dec. 12, 1985.
It was after 3 a.m. CST, but the passengers, all Fort Campbell soldiers, milled about the terminal to fight jet lag. They joked with employees, made purchases at the duty-free shop and broke out in song — Christmas carols.
The 248 soldiers, about one-third of the 3rd Battalion of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, were due to arrive at Campbell Army Airfield in Kentucky six hours later, after a six-month peacekeeping deployment on the Sinai Peninsula.
At 4:15 a.m., the DC-8 began its takeoff on Gander's runway 22, its Pratt & Whitney engines throttled up to a screaming roar.
That roar ended less than 60 seconds later, when the unsteady plane listed to the right at 500 feet and fell to earth, into a grove of mature ash and black spruce trees. On impact, 101,000 pounds of jet fuel erupted in a ball of orange fire that could be seen for more than 10 miles.
Every one of the 245 men and three women, along with the eight-person Arrow Air flight crew, perished in the fiery impact. The crash remains the worst aviation disaster in Canadian history and the worst U.S. military air disaster.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New Stuff . . .

It's been a month of (more) new stuff. Teaching a full load, having a minimum of 30 students in a face-to-face classroom, walking across campus to class (I almost forgot how that felt). My days are still jam-packed with work on both sides of the podium, making time for my family, and ensuring I keep Starbucks in business :-).

And I have never experienced the death of a student. I'm not sure how it's supposed to feel, but I know it feels different. I encourage all the students in all my classes to get to know each other, as I attempt to do the same thing with them. I think it makes it easier to discuss things in and outside of class, and I know it helps the learning process in some way. To find out on Monday after class that one of your students was in a fatal traffic accident on Sunday is not something I expected . . . but it happened.

Goodbye Ashley! Tell the angels we all said hey.

more at

Monday, September 04, 2006

As the margin shrinks, the tempo increases


Howard McClusky says that margin can be thought of as surplus power. It is the power available to a person over and beyond that required to handle his load.

"Margin is a function of the relationship of load to power. By load we mean the self and social demands required by a person to maintain a minimal level of autonomy. By power we mean the resources, i.e., abilities, possessions, position, allies, etc., which a person can command in coping with load." (McClusky, 1970, p. 27) (See also InFed.org)

My margin, of late, seems to have decreased, but I have intentionally prioritized (see Covey-related post) and I am focusing on (mostly) the Important-Urgent and Important-Not-Urgent.

That boils down to a focus (after God and family) on advanced education. Surprisingly, I have felt nothing reminiscent of the frontal-lobe throbbing that accompanies an "ice-cream headache."

I have learned that my self-actualization (Maslow), Flow (Csikszentmihalyi), and Voice (Covey) is best found in scholarly endeavors. Consequently, I am endeavoring on both sides of the podium, both in the face-to-face and virtual classrooms.

There's nothing quite like having to stop at the intersection of thought to ensure you are thinking about the topic about which you intend to be writing.


It appears that the tempo of our lives seems to increase when the Not-Important-Urgent and the Not-Important-Not-Urgent things take priority. The current challenge is to keep the minutiae away (unless a diversion is needed for a brief period). Shy of tossing out the potential distractions (how numerous they van be), I have yet to come up with a useful solution.

McClusky, H. Y. A dynamic approach to participation in community development. Journal of Community Development Society, 1970, 1, 25-32.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My, how things change in a short space of time

I didn't intend to have such a gap between posts, but there was this thing called life going on. I fell into one of those "I'll get to it" traps, and sort of . . . got stuck.

Lots has happened.

I've traveled a bit
- getting educated in Ohio
- presenting in Georgia
- soaking up wisdom in Florida

I've committed time a bit
- planning to attend a conference in Chicago
- agreed to present at a summit in Arkansas
- and taking on more teaching gigs in Tennessee

And I've rested a bit (no, not really).

Of all the things I have learned, the most impactful is that once we learn something we will remember it best when a situation in which we can apply it arises. I'm talking here about Stephen Covey's plan for life management (see the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). He identifies four areas into which every event in our lives can fall - Urgent-Important, Urgent-Not Important, Not Urgent-Important, and Not Urgent-Not Important. Once identified, he recommends we spend our time in areas 1 and 3 (it's been a while, but that's the message as I recall it). This post, as an example, is (to me) in the 3d area. It's most helpful to reflect on our experiences and this serves the purpose for me at this time.

Of late, this technique has become oh so important to me, and I realize that he was right when he said that the things in area 2 and 4 will try to get our attention. It seems that the more important something is, the more we tend to put it off . . . why is that?

In the learning realm of my life, I am focused on the study of Ethics, Social Differences, and Critical Thought (topics currently on my radar screen for doctoral work). As a result, it appears these should become the lenses through which I view the various (multiple) events that impact my life I'll begin doing that soon . . .

In the teaching realm, I have been able to meet an experienced and accomplished textbook author, choose a new text for a class I'll begin teaching in a month or so, and look forward to preparing (many) new courses that I'll soon be teaching. If students only knew how exciting it was for professors to prepare for classes they would spend a lot more time learning!

In the learning-technology realm, there are some legal issues on the horizon. More about them can be found at my favorite educational podcast headquarters - EdTechTalk.

Is that all the news for now? I think so . . .

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Personal Growth - thoughts

I often wonder how things seem so disjointed and unrelated while we are experiencing them, but at some point afterwards the dots seem to connect themselves . . . that happens with books, conversations, and just about everything else if I am paying attention.

I started listening to another podcast (can you tell I spend some time on the road?). It's from Fordham University in the Bronx (New York City), and it's titled "Adventures in Transformative Learning." I'm realizing two things: that the Northeast United States and Canada appear to be way ahead of the rest of us for using technology in education (or naybe just sharing what they have learned), and that the term "adult education" is often used to describe non-college education (English as a Second Language - ESL, GED preparatory courses, etc.). OK . . . that's not the track I was on. Let's switch to the term "Adult Learning." I'll change my Edublogs blog now.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I would be beyond remiss if I didn't give props to the folks at Ed-Tech Talk for their podcasts and blogs. You guys ROCK! I was passionate about delivering the message in new, creative ways before, but WOW! I love what you are doing . . . thanks!

Collective thoughts

At this point I am contemplating the "best fit" for the many folders in which I operate. I have many (simultaneous) interests, and for now will leave them in various locations. At some point that will bother me enough to centralize. Until then . . .

I am exploring adult education. One of my passions is Criminal Justice and Homeland Security.

I read a RAND study recently that mentioned and emphasized a need for introducing criminal justice (as a course) into the high schools. OK, maybe I am stretching it a bit -- what the study said was "survey young people to gauge their interest in police work."

My son's high school has Criminal Justice courses, but I am thus far unsure of the experience of the teacher. Is that important? Can anyone with an interest teach high schoolers about Criminal Justice?

The Study is at http://www.rand.org/commentary/052306WP.html.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blog Launch

No invitations sent, no VIPs invited. Just looking to get started with the blog thing and realized the simplicity of Google came to blogging. I noticed there's a spell check function -- I like it already!

Let's get started!

My interests are varied. I've got a passion for adult learning. My experience is in Criminal Justice. I (primarily) teach adults in a variety of Criminal Justice courses. I learned a while back that we should 1) find out what we are really good at, and 2) do that most of the time. Sometimes I take good advise :-)