Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — March 2010

Registration for fall 2010

Fall registration begins for Seniors on Tuesday, April 6 at 7:00 AM, and opens up for everyone else gradually over that week. Make sure to check the UVM Registration schedule to see when you may begin registering for Spring classes.

I’m setting aside enough 15 minute appointments over the next several days or so to meet with all 40 of my advisees. I’ll be available to answer any advising questions and to help review your choice of courses for the fall semester. If you’ll be a senior planning on graduating in spring 2011, you should definitely come to see me before registering so that we can make sure you’ll be set to graduate. At the very least, you should carefully review your CATS report to see if you’re on track to graduate.

Keep reading after the break for further details and to choose your appointment time.

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March 30, 2010   No Comments



A friend of mine (@readywriting) posted a link to this picture on Twitter the other day. It’s a picture of President Obama reviewing a speech on healthcare that he would deliver to a joint session of Congress. Since seeing this photo, I’ve returned to it many times. I’ve shown it to my classes and e-mailed it to fellow professors. Today, I feel like e-mailing it to the writer of each and every student essay I read from the huge pile I have in front of me.

The speech before the edits isn’t bad at all, I told my students. The version President Obama had in front of him, I would assume, had already been through many drafts. Look, though, at how the editing the President has done has made it even stronger. Yes, the President was planning on reading these words to the entire country and people will go back and reread this speech later. What’s most striking to me, though, is that President Obama didn’t stop until it was the best it could be. It’s unlikely that anyone would have been unsatisfied with the earlier speech – except him.

To my students I say this: I realize that you’re writing an essay for me that you may intend to forget about shortly after writing it. It is not going to change the world, and it will not be read by millions of other people. But that’s not the point; that’s not the only reason Obama edited his speech so carefully. Imagine how much better your essays could be if you took the time to try to express your ideas more clearly, more succinctly, more persuasively. I might not even perceive the difference you made from one edit to the next, but you will.

I’ve read some excellent essays in this current bunch, but there’s not one that couldn’t have benefited from careful editing. Perhaps, in the future, instead of giving handouts or talking about editing, I’ll just refer them to this photo. It really does say it all.

March 29, 2010   No Comments