Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So what should 2015 bring?


So here we are: 2015 starts tomorrow.  It's crazy.  For the first time in a long time I look ahead, and I can't really see what my focus is going to be.

Why?


Well, most importantly, the tenure thing is finally going to happen.  It's been A LOT of work and A LOT of years coming.  And, just because I work in higher education, of course there were shenanigans.  However, it's going to happen (just awaiting the Board of Regents' approval), so I don't want to give those shenanigans any more thought.  It's over; I'm going to be here.

And I'm happy about that.


I'll for sure work for promotion to Full Professor, but that's still a bit away.  Tenure doesn't go into affect until August.  So I have seven months of . . . what?  One of my colleagues calls this my "wasted year."  It's because nothing I do counts for tenure and nothing counts for promotion.  So it's just kind of . . . there.

But I don't want to just sit on my laurels and do nothing.


So here's what I plan on making this year about:






First of all, FAMILY.  I've been gone so much so long under the pressure of working on tenure, that many thing have gone the way side.  It's not that I haven't been there for concerts, ball games, etc., but more than anything, I haven't been mentally there.

I think of what I wrote in the dedication of my dissertation (back in 2005):

I dedicate this work to my wonderful wife, Lori, and my two children, John and Natalie.  Thanks for putting up with all these years of school.  Guess what?

Daddy's coming home now . . .
So here we are ten years later, and I could write the same thing today.

I've got to get priorities all together.

Now don't get me wrong: I help coach my son's archery team, I'm going to coach his baseball team, and I volunteer in the schools.  I'm on the Curriculum committee at the elementary school. But I can do better.  And I will.


Next, SPIRITUALITY. It's not that I am not a spiritual person.  I am.  I attend church every week; I teach Sunday School.  I try to pray and read my scriptures.







I want to be better at my scripture study this year.  For Sunday School, I'll be teaching the New Testament, so I know I'll be reading that.  But this year I want to read the entire Holy Bible (we use the King James Version in the church I attend).  I've read the New Testament in it's entirety more than once.  The Old Testament?  Well . . . I've read most of it, many times.  But never the whole thing.  I also want to read (again) the entire Book of Mormon.  I've read that many times as well.  This year I want to read them all.  That comes out to about four chapters a day.

If you'd like a free copy of the Holy Bible, click here.
If you'd like a free copy of the Book of Mormon, click here.

Like I said before: I've done well, but I can do better.


Next, I want to get ORGANIZED.  I'm not talking all crazy organized, because that's just nuts.

But I just need to organize my thoughts and stuff I need to do.  So what I've started doing, and it's helping is cataloging my projects and what I need to do according to the Getting Things Done method.  I haven't read the whole book, but I had a student who used it as a framework for her dissertation (shout out to Dr. Amy Johnson).





I like the process, and it's helping me get organized.  So that's good.

So I'm improving, but I can get better.

So all in all, what should 2015 bring?  Hopefully a better me.  I'm not a bad guy, but I can get better.

I believe Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.  He's a prophet just like Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, or Jeremiah. 

I like what he said:



So like President Monson says, and since I know I can always be better, 2015 is my year of "I'll try again tomorrow."

I'm going to take my "wasted year" and make it my year of a better me.  And if I mess up?

I'll try again tomorrow.

I hope your 2015 is successful as well.  May God bless you, and may you have all you want and need.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Dirty Game: My take on the Sports Illustrated series on the Oklahoma State Cowboy football program


If you don't follow college football or of you're just living under a rock, then you have no idea what the above image is all about.  This past week Sports Illustrated ran a five-article series on the Oklahoma State Cowboys and their football program.  The articles allege pay-for-play for the players, academic misconduct, a culture of drugs, and sex provided for recruits.  Plenty of people (including an overwhelming majority of former players) have poked holes in the shoddy reporting and research, but strangely enough, I'm involved in the whole thing.

How?  Well, after the first article was released, I was flabbergasted. So I posted on the Oklahoma State University Facebook page:


My life went CRAZYTOWN after that.  It wasn't ten minutes later, and I was contacted by OSU Communications asking if I would be willing to share my story.  I said yes, but I had no idea what that meant.

That night, I got some nice support for coming forward from the folks on the OrangePower message boards.

The next day I was contacted by the ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates in Oklahoma City, the Daily Oklahoman, and the Sports Animal, the major sports talk radio station in OKC.  Everyone wanted to talk to me.  At first, I was fine with that, but I just felt unsettled about it.  I talked with my wife about it, and we decided that it was best not do to so.  So I responded to the requests thanking them for the opportunity and I sent a written statement that was a variation of the above post.  It read:

I taught at OSU from 2005 to 2011, and I taught a majority of the football players in that time frame. The only thing I can speak to specifically is academics. I taught the majority of the high profile football players in that time.  And I was NEVER pressured to pass them. I never heard of another faculty member being pressured to pass an athlete. In fact, it was the exact opposite. If a player wasn't performing in the classroom, I called the Academic Center AND the advisers or position coaches, and in EVERY SINGLE CASE I was told, "If they're not doing the work, then fail them. They need to learn." I worked closely with Terry Henley, and the article's characterization of him is not the same as mine.  I always found Terry to be very above board and expected rigor out of the student athletes. In addition, I had Coach Gundy step in my class doing class checks to make sure his players were there. I also observed in the Academic Center the tutors working with the athletes. They never, EVER did the work for them. Of the 50 or more players I taught and the numerous others I met, I never met anyone I would characterize as functionally illiterate.  In short, my experience was the exact opposite of the article's allegations.  My time working with those young men and that staff was just as academically rigorous as my time with non-student athletes.  I never saw athletes get special treatment.

After that decision, I felt much more settled, and as the requests came in, I just kept sending that email.

Here's the result:

Students and players react to 'part 2' of SI report on OSU football (video included!)

I grew up watching Linda Cavanaugh, and it was weird to hear her talking about me.  It would have been cooler if she could have pronounced my name correctly.  It's CURRY, Linda.  Like chicken CURRY. :)

The next time I saw myself quoted it wasn't actually about the SI series, but rather how the University was using social media to respond.

Social Media Cowboys--How Oklahoma State University is handling the SI crisis on social media

Again, just strange to see me on there . . .

But the next day I was quoted in the Daily Oklahoman. I was also quoted in the International Business Times.  But it was KOCO Channel 5 who really surprised me:

Former OSU professor speaks out against SI.com article

A whole article just on my statement!  So that's everyone quoting me.  It seems crazy, but don't think I tried to make myself part of the story.  If you don't remember or if you don't read my blog (I don't post much, so that's fine), my time at Oklahoma State ended involuntarily.  I had people who could have spoken up for me (when I couldn't speak for myself), but they didn't.  I swore I'd never stay silent when I could speak for someone.  That's how I view this situation.  I could speak up, so I did.

My take on the articles?  I know nothing about players getting paid, but I find it hard to believe that no one knew about it.  Someone would have talked.  And if all the starters and stars of that era are coming out and saying they never saw it or heard of it, then it probably wasn't what was going on.  I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I think there would have at least been rumors.  As for the academic allegations, you can see my response above.  And what about the article on drugs? Some college students choose to take drugs.  Do I think the football program was lax like the article alleges?  Not in my experience with the athletes.  I saw many of them dismissed from the team for it.  What about the article alleging sex for players? Some gals chase jerseys.  But I don't think the program pimped out the Orange Pride girls.  I taught some of them, too, and they were fine young women.

I think the entire series of articles smacks of poor journalism and a lack of research.  It's too bad.  But I know that the Oklahoma State family will be okay, because that's what we do.  We keep riding.

GO POKES!  I might be living in Kentucky now, but I'm FOREVER ORANGE.



Monday, September 3, 2012

Just because I'm bored: Last five songs played

I like these posts.  They show what kind of mood I've been in.  With that said, here are my last five songs:

Who am I? by Casting Crowns



Be Still My Soul by Selah



Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns


Will He Really Answer Me by Michael McLean (not Janice Kapp Perry as the video says)



Stay with Me by Liz Draper



So there you have it.  Current feeling? Worshipful and thankful for a loving Father in Heaven and Savior.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dollar Shave Club: Smooth as a baby's behind on the cheap

Dollar Shave Club. Shave time, Shave money.

Wait, what?

First of all, you MUST watch Dollar Shave Club's  commercial.  These guys spent next-to-nothing on it (all things considered), but it is brilliant!




I've got to tell you, I downloaded the video from YouTube and I keep it on my iPad. My kids quote it.  Favorite line? "I'm no Vanderbilt, but this train? Makes Hay.  *TOOT* *TOOT*"  Even my three year old daughter, Emma, does the hand gesture!

Now, I thought about it for months, and I finally decided to pull the trigger.  I signed up.  I generally use the Gillette Fusion, and I have for years.  I'm heavy set, and my round face is kind of goofy to shave.  I also have a very heavy beard that has a couple of cow-licks on my neck.  It's quite the pain to get a shave I like.  I've tried the cheap disposables, different electrics, and none of them have been perfect.

So, like I said, I decided to pull the trigger. I joined, and I signed up for the 4X at $6 a month.  I didn't know what to expect.  Two weeks ago, here's what I got in the mail:


I waited two weeks to see how I like it.  And here goes:

To begin with, the handle.  It's magic.  I love that it's hefty (has some weight to it), but it also is curved and padded.  It fits nicely into my hand.  I never really thought about the straight handles I was using on other razors, but I LOVE how this feels in my hand.  It's awesome.  The pivot head works just as well if not better than any other I've used.

The blades: well, they're #$&^ing great, right?  Actually, they do seem great.  I get a great shave, and unlike my Fusion blades, the lubricant isn't all gone after one shave.  It actually lasts.  What savvy genius came up with that?  Hey Mike! Give that guy a raise!

So overall, what's my assessment?  The handle gets an A+, and the blades get an A.  My face does, in fact, feel like I get a better shave.  I really, really do.  Like the title says, as smooth as a baby's behind on the cheap.  I love the fact that they are delivered to my door, and I'm orders of magnitude more pleased with them than I have ever been with any other razor I've ever used.

Do they shave well? Yes
Do they last longer? Yes
Is the handle better? Oh, heavens yes
Do they make me smarter? Probably not, but I feel like I am . . .

And did I mention the fact that if you refer your friends you can earn free blades?  Yep!  Go to Dollarshaveclub.com to find out more.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Last five songs played

I've been browsing my blog posts over the last--can you believe it--SEVEN years, and I ran across an old post telling you the last five songs I had listened to.  Yep, it was an Internet meme at the time, and I rode the wave.  

Now, on this rainy Friday the 13th in Kentucky, I thought I'd let you know what my last five songs played were.  Here they are in order (randomly played from one of my 80s playlists):

Straight up, by Paula Abdul


My Perogative, by Bobby Brown




Venus, by Bananarama


Cruel Summer, by Bananarama



Mad about You, by Belinda Carlisle


So there you have it.  But truth be told, today is a little more like this one, one of my all-time favorites:

Songs about Rain, by Gary Allan


What are your last five songs played?

Dr. C


Monday, July 9, 2012

Where've I been?

This post could go a couple of ways, so I'll do my best.

We've moved to Morehead, Kentucky, and I now teach at Morehead State University in their Educational Technology program.  I've been here six months, but I also taught as an adjunct for them last fall.  I love it here, and the best thing I can say about it is that I forgot what it was like to go to work and be appreciated and have people support you.

So why did I leave Oklahoma State?  Well, it wasn't by choice.  The short answer is I didn't get tenure. Why? Well, that is a complicated question.  Anyone who has worked in higher education knows that tenure is a tricky thing.  Those with it can wield it over those who don't.  Suffice it to say that a certain faculty member told me about four years ago that she would do everything in her power to see that I didn't get tenure.  And she succeeded.  Now, to be fair, there was plenty I could have done differently, but I had met the requirements, and I should have been awarded tenure.  I went through the appeals and everything (I wasn't the only one who appealed that year), and the official answer I was given was, "We see exactly what she is doing and has done, but the tenure committee is sticking to a common narrative.  We're sorry, but there's nothing we can do."  So nevermind the fact that I had documentation that the tenure committee never even looked at my file (only the aforementioned faculty member) and my school head even admitted (I recorded our conversation and presented it as evidence as well) that he didn't look at it, he only read her recommendation, I had to go.  So in reality, here's how I feel about it: I could have done more, yes, but I met (and according to the documents exceeded) the published guidelines.  Yes, I had a tenured faculty member who marked me (for whatever reason--I've asked her repeatedly over the years what I did and asked how to fix it and she would never tell me.  Even during my appeal the University asked what her beef was with me and she refused to answer).  But I am most discouraged by the faculty members who are good people who told me in private they could see what she was doing, they knew about it, they had an opportunity to speak up and stand against, and didn't.  Cowards.  Every last one of them.  

Am I bitter?  I was.  I was really upset. But then I came to this conclusion: If my Heavenly Father needed me to still be in Stillwater at Oklahoma State University, then there is nothing any of them could have done to keep me from being there.  So that must mean that He needed me somewhere else.  I have faith in His plan, so this must be part of it.  And if it is part of it, then I will do no good being bitter or angry.  So yes, I'm disappointed. Yes, it's been hard on my family.  But I'm grateful to have a job in this economy, and not just any job, a better job than the one I had.  I got a raise, and it is a very supportive environment.  Most of all, I guess I feel sorry for her.  How sad and lonely must a person's life be to make it your mission to try and destroy another?  I hope she can get past it one day, but as far as I go, my conscience is clear, and I will let God judge the situation in His perfect way.

So there you have the VERY CONDENSED version.  I'm healthy, the family is healthy, and we're happy.  It took eleven months, but we sold the house in Oklahoma and we were able to buy the house we wanted here in Kentucky.  It hasn't been easy, but I thought often of the story of Abraham and his going to sacrifice Isaac.  Isaac kept asking what they were going to sacrifice, and Abraham kept responding that God would provide.  I didn't know how my story would end, but I knew God would provide for me and my family.  My job was to keep moving towards the top of the mountain and demonstrate faith in Him and His plan.  I hope I passed the test in a way pleasing to Him.

With that said, I'm happy to have my new domain name: dctrcurry.com, and to have it linked directly to the blog here.  I first started blogging when it was cool, and I wrote a lot. It came and it went a couple of times.  But now I just want to write for me.  So there will be random thoughts on anything I'm randomly thinking about: work, politics, pop culture, religion, family, etc.  But they're just my thoughts.  Those who know me personally know I can be pretty opinionated, but most of all, I just enjoy the conversation.

See you online!

jhc