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She soon transitioned to the role of acting assistant curator. Deborah Allen was an associate editor at Interiors , and Thompson identified her as a likely collaborator. Like Thompson, Allen had grown up around writing. She believed her interest in design, her opinionated nature, her taste and her work ethic derived from a cultured family upbringing and some interesting female role models.

Her aunt was Ethel B. While studying art history at Smith College, a liberal arts college for women, Allen wrote for the college newspaper and the writer Mary Ellen Chase, who was in residence at Smith at the time, read her work and sought her out. Take your writing seriously. In , when Interiors publisher Whitney asked Thompson to edit a new magazine for industrial designers, she asked that Allen be her coeditor.

The women were given a small budget and the sole mandate that the magazine should be as graphically bold and handsome as Fortune magazine was at the time.

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Unfettered by any institutional or prescriptive viewpoint on design, Thompson and Allen set out to build from scratch a magazine for the industrial design profession informed by their own educational backgrounds in the humanities, their professional experience as journalists, and their domestic responsibilities as wives and mothers.

These were not insignificant—Thompson married four times and had two children and seven stepchildren, while Allen had five children. Advertisements mainly for materials producers and fabrication services such as Arabol Adhesives, Marco Polyester Resins, Chicopee Specialty Weaves, Aluminum Extrusions, and Dupont, and a handful of furniture companies like Knoll were mostly grouped in the front-of-book, with the editorial preface marking the start of the feature well.

The articles Thompson and Allen commissioned addressed a wide range of subjects, from bathrooms and plastics to tractors and design planning, and were characterized by deep research, clear exposition of complex technical issues, and extensive annotation. In addition to the staple fare of a design magazine, such as product reviews and issue-based features, Allen and Thompson introduced a wide array of unfamiliar article formats, including historical surveys of product types, cartoon interludes, photographic portfolios, book extracts, profiles of designers, and elaborate graphic devices such as timelines and charts.

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Allen had initiated such approaches while still at Interiors magazine. Her piece conveyed the dynamic nature of a live conversation and the voiced opinions of the participants far more directly than a linear report. Thompson and Allen sought to explain complex ideas and technical processes through visual storytelling. The narrative of an article often continued into the image captions; manufacturing processes were broken down into digestible steps illustrated with cartoons; photographs of cars were silhouetted, cropped to highlight features and grouped for comparison.

To identify contributors, the editors used portrait photographs and short, familiarly written biographies.

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In the first issue, a series of cartoons by the illustrator Robert Osborn and Thomas B. Despite their authority and desire to break new ground, the fact remained that the magazine catered to an almost wholly male readership of designers, engineers, and executives.

Gender polarization was still rife in the design industry and in society at large in the s. Men will never see it that way. Thompson and Allen brought to traditionally masculine subject matter, such as cars, power tools, tractors, DIY, and plumbing, a point of view based on their domestic experience. And they brought that domestic experience, direct from their own homes and those of their friends, as subject matter into the pages of the magazine. The idea of changing lifestyles in the home, for example, became the focus of articles.

This editorial pluralism built a perspective that no other design publication could offer to this special audience. Thompson stayed at the magazine as editor in chief until , and as consultant editor until She went on to become a director of the Kaufmann International Design Awards, develop research on the history of the Bauhaus, join the board of directors of the International Design Conference at Aspen, and chair three of its conferences.

Among the female writers for the magazine, Ann Ferebee went on to found and direct the Institute for Urban Design, and Ada Louise Huxtable became the first architecture critic for the New York Times in Even within such careers, the spheres of home and work were not separate, but inextricably entwined. Allen had to stay home to look after the children, so the women would work at her apartment on Beekman Place. They wrote articles collaboratively—rather like playing a game of hangman, Thompson recalled.

Thompson would write one line and Allen the next, using an Olivetti typewriter. Our thinking was always in parallel and going in the same direction. Allen and Thompson conceived of the entire project of editing the magazine as a form of criticism. Now there is no denying that Americans today are living out their lives, and their needs, through material symbols: the fins and portholes serve a deep-seated purpose in leading consumers into new social realms—imagined or real.

But [Packard] reserves not one word of comment for the irrational consumer, and the ambitions and insecurities that drive him into the arms of businessmen. Is the condition the fault of merchandisers? Or are the merchandisers, rather, a symptom that people themselves might do well to examine?


Thompson and Allen were also attentive to the needs of consumers of criticism, who included designers. By expressing considered opinions and evaluating our motives for having them, the editors of Industrial Design hope to offer not only the news that each reader needs, but one set of views to help him form his opinions and examine his motives for doing what he does. By the mids, the American automobile industry, based in the Midwestern city of Detroit, had reached a plateau in technological developments to offer consumers.

By , General Motors was offering seventy-five body styles in trim combinations. In art historian C. Despite her compelling coverage of the automobile industry for the magazine until the late s, Deborah Allen is not well known as a design critic. She came into the profession through a series of chance encounters, rather than being driven by a mission.

For four years at Industrial Design she wrote a series of sharp analyses of car design, and then stopped abruptly, due to the pressures of family life, never to be heard from again in a design context. Inspired by her exhilarating experience of the car speeding along the coastal road, and her appreciation of the way her friend the driver inhabited its interior space, she wrote an uncharacteristically enthusiastic review. That is, a metaphor of citizenship allows for belonging to be gained. In the apprentice-research assistant model, a student gains skills through hierarchical labour, but does not necessarily gain belonging in a community.

In a scholar-citizen model, a migrant to the digital can become a DH citizen, she can gain skills and community. We identify five aspects of DH scholarly citizenship in our pedagogy. Undergraduate students migrating to the DH field bring with them skills and methodologies from their home disciplines; these are used as a starting point for the acquisition of DH skills and DH-inflected critical perspectives. Second, we seek to break down academic and generational divides across learning environments by regularly bringing undergraduate participants into contact with a range of DH—practicing and DH—adjacent researchers and with those whose cultural heritage is the subject matter of DH scholarly inquiry.

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They offer students the opportunity to belong in DH communities, while valuing their unique perspectives on the field and on their own research. The Scholar-Citizen in Practice In the design of the DHFS, we have attempted to organize student activities and assessment around these five core principles. The practical application of these principles, however, begins to reveal the complexities of our pedagogical model across learning spaces.

As we now turn to demonstrate how we have put some of these principles into practice, the coherence of this model in the classroom tends to be shaped by the stakes tied to the learning activity at hand.

Our experiences and our filter of the scholar—citizen pedagogical model complicates this definition of the stakes of DH learning. The structure of the DHFS, by contrast, tended to separate high-stakes learning from assessment. The concept of the stakes of learning and the necessity for assessment in the classroom is further complicated by our conceptual pedagogical model.

If we maintain that belonging and community are equally central to DH and to DH pedagogy, assessment and the stakes of learning represent two points of tension in how we imagine the DH undergraduate. The Student Assistantship and the Field School together shed some light on the ways that design can change the questions we can ask of teaching and research. The Assistantship and Field School alike frequently divorce the public-facing aspects of learning opportunities from grades-based assessment.

Low-stakes opportunities, as we have come to define them, may have public-facing features traditionally associated with high-stakes learning, such as participation in on-going, real-life projects, but they ask students to rely on existing skill sets and do not require that students develop complex projects. Medium stakes learning asks students to gain new skills and apply them synthetically and creatively, but it restricts public-facing aspects to remain within small, controlled communities and peer groups.

High-stakes opportunities provide students with high levels of project autonomy, the results of their learning are widely disseminated, and the assignments expect that students will perform complex synthetic tasks. Additionally, assessment appears to adversely affect the quality of work produced by students. Low- and Medium-Stakes Learning in the Classroom Approximately half of the students in the program came from humanistic disciplines like English and History.

Half came from other disciplines not normally understood to be within the purview of DH: Psychology, Politics, Tourism, and Chemistry. More concretely, students in the Field School prepared a presentation as part of their participation in a one-day symposium with a local charity. This experiential learning activity asked students to apply their classroom knowledge of digital cultural heritage to an on-going cultural preservation project.

This learning opportunity seems to conform in many ways to the definition of high-stakes learning. Notably, it also elicited high—quality suggestions and engagement from the students. The learning opportunity was tied to assessment only circuitously, and it required students to draw on their own backgrounds and skill sets. But it does not ask students to display or share a project of their research. The task at hand for students was application rather than the more challenging task of production or creativity. Other aspects of curriculum development similarly seek to flatten hierarchies and allow students access to scholarly conversations they might otherwise be proscribed from.

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These more academic-facing learning opportunities also rest on the principles of community engagement that can only be circuitously assessed. Imperative to the successful crossing of generational divides is providing students with the necessary tools and vocabulary to participate as scholars in their own right. Prior to participation in these events, students were supported in the articulation of their own digitally inflected research interests and questions about the field through one-on-one dialogue with instructors. The principles of experimentation and community, similarly to the principle of community as citizenry, connote a protection by community for the kinds of experimentation that DH learning and research entail.

In other words, learning with community safeguards for failure is low -stakes learning. Indeed, in the examples above, students demonstrated their ability to contribute to scholarly and cultural communities in thoughtful and sophisticated ways in circumstances that were not directly tied to assessment.

But it also sits uncomfortably with the necessity for evaluation in the classroom. For both students and instructors, the reality of evaluation necessitates the possibility of failure. Failure is the denial of community belonging. Following from this principle, we attempted to mitigate the risk of failure—to offer low—stakes learning opportunities—in work completed for assessment. The Project and the DHFS teaching team provided the primary source materials, namely letters written by Opie and her close circle of friends, from which students selected an object to become the centre of an individual DH markup microproject.

Students were provided with a robust framework of digital editorial theory and were expected to gain familiarity with TEI in an oXygen editing environment, a technology that we chose as it lays bare minute encoding decisions but remains relatively accessible. The end product entailed an.

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  • We attempted to retain student ownership over their own work in line with the third principle of the scholar—citizen model. Distinct from student work that is contributed to a larger project with or without attribution, the micro—projects are designed as stand—alone entities, complete with an account of how the student understands her intervention into a single object.

    The markup project is then the subject of individual student presentations to their peers and the broader community on the satellite campus. The major assignment was neither designed as a high—stakes learning opportunity in the same sense promoted by Research Based Learning, nor as a low-stakes opportunity like the ones discussed above. Students were provided with large amounts of individual attention from the instructors, and supported in developing presentation skills.


    One trend is that students are able to reiterate, synthesize, and analyze theories of digital editing, but they are not able to apply those theories in the detailed work of encoding. While they have the skills for argumentation in prose, they did not necessarily gain competency in some primary DH critical mechanics. Some of this failure we may attribute to the short, six-week term. And some of it we may attribute to a natural variation in student aptitudes.