Thursday, February 18, 2010

Alaskan Alliance Against Administrative Waste!

UA Top Executives Recive Bloated Salaries
By Forest Kvasnikoff | Juneau Empire My Turn Piece February 10, 2010

As a life-long Alaskan and a graduate of the University of Alaska system, I want to express my great concern at the salaries of the university president and its three chancellors.

While the decisions on these salaries are made by the Board of Regents, as the Alaska Legislature reviews the University of Alaska's budget, I urge legislators, as well as every constituent, to consider the following.

First, the university is moving to ever-larger classes and several students, particularly at University of Alaska Southeast, cannot graduate in four years because of the lack of faculty to teach classes. It was only through the generosity of faculty, willing to provide independent study classes, that I was able to graduate.

To reduce the president's and chancellor's salaries by $100,000 would enable needed faculty to be employed and move to achieving the outright objective of the university -teaching and graduating students.

It appears, in fact, that top administrators would be willing to work for much less. In 2003, President Mark Hamilton commented to Sen. John Cowdery after the senator complained about his salary, "If that (my salary) is standing in the way of funding the university, I will work for a dollar next year and be proud of it."

At the time of Hamilton's comment to Cowdery his base salary was $250,000. Despite his bravado in 2003, the following fiscal year Hamilton's base salary was increased by $6,500 and by 2006 he was awarded a $100,000 bonus for fulfilling a three-year contract.

Second, Hamilton is currently one of the highest-paid Alaska executives, with a price tag in 2009 of $300,000 - and that is not including $9,250 for a car, $70,000 in deferred compensation, $34,847 worth in retirement pay or the price for the house in which Hamilton lives that is financed by the state. The running total for Hamilton alone for 2009 amounts to more than $531,144.

Third, UA chancellors throughout the system since 2006 have been making more than $200,000, not including benefits for cars, a house and bonuses. Chancellor John Pugh, for instance, who administers about 80 full-time faculty members and under 1000 full-time students at UAS, pulled in $204,570 in 2008, and that is not including his benefits or the car provided at state expense.

For comparison sake, consider that the chancellor at the University of California Berkeley, Robert J. Birgeneau, received $467,556 in total compensation for 2008-09. This means that Birgeneau, with a total enrollment of 35,396 Students (97 percent of them were full-time) can be said to be "earning" $13.21 for each student who enters U.C. Berkeley.

Comparatively, Chancellor Pugh hypothetically earns $69.25 (26 percent of them were full-time in 2008-09) for every student entering the University of Alaska Southeast.

Pugh, then, is making approximately five times more per student than the chancellor at the University of California Berkeley - a well-established and fairly prestigious university. Keep in mind, also, the fact that in June 2009, the Juneau Empire ran an article which indicated that Chancellor Pugh was facing a vote of "no confidence" from faculty members at the University of Alaska Southeast. Apparently, the size of one's salary isn't indicative of administrative tact.

Finally, expenditures for administrative purposes have risen sharply throughout the UA system. One has to wonder why the UA system hasn't made concerted internal efforts to trim the fat a bit concerning administrative costs. Perhaps, no one notices or cares that President Hamilton is making nearly 3.5 times as much as Alaska's governor, and the chancellor, at the smallest campus in the UA system, is making about $75,000 more?

Make no mistake: I am certainly aware that administrative costs for top university executives have been on the rise and will likely continue. But, it is difficult to pretend that Alaska legislators and their constituents would support a public system, ostensibly dedicated towards the noble goal of higher education, which irrespective of its size and purpose, irrationally rewards a few at the expense of expanding and improving purely educational ventures.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Online Flash-Cards! has flash cards for pretty much any subject you could imagine, but its cards for 'AP lit terms' have especially high ratings.

Here is the link for a set of digital flash cards that I liked:
When you get the this web-page, click the link that says 'Study', to access the cards. Very neat little site.

It's a very extensive set (102 card), with very basic terms (like irony, novella, narrator) as well as more challenging terms (like 'in medias res', euphony, frame story, cacophony, hubris)


Poetry Term Quiz! has created an awesome little quiz to test our knowledge of poetry terms- such as Anaphora, Hyperbole, Idyll, Assonance, Alliteration, Epizuexis...and a kazillion other poetical terms that we either NEED to know, or would be IMPRESSIVE to use on the AP exam.

You should give it a try:

I took the Poetry Terminology Quiz at Famous
My results:

Super Poetry Expert!

My Score
The average quiz taker scored 63%, while I scored a whopping 98%!
How's that for a poetry expert?
Think you can do better? Head to the Famous Poems Library and Take the Quiz!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Renaissance: A Rebirth

During the Middle Ages, books were expensive and few people were even able to read. Those who were educated and literate, generally clergy men, ig
nored 'pagan' works by the romans and greeks and focused primarily on biblical texts.

The renaissance represented a break from the medieval pattern of thought. Economic prosperity and relative peace inspired a growth in literature and a rediscovering of ancient 'classical' texts. The idea that the church should only be conerned with people's spirituality and not their civic lives rose in popularity, and art flourished. Literature appearing this age of science and creation is considered to be part of the 'Renaissance Literary Movement'.

Major Influences:
* classic Greek and Roman literature * art and ideology of Italy * quattrocento architecture and symmetry * protestantism *

Reoccuring themes:
* the value of Chivalry * humanism vs. church * struggle for moral purity * freewill of men * search for 'truth' *

Common Literary Devices:
* symmetrical verse and metre * harmonic alliteration and rhyming * 'poems within poems', short, concise sections * Imagery and depictions of art *

Other Stylistic Devices:
* philosophy and ideology that reflected developing science of the period * love stories, or romantic dramas * tragic stories of struggling heroes *

Representative Poets and Authors:
* Shakespear * Christopher Marlowe * Edmund Spencer * Aemilia Lanyer * Mary Herbert * Sir Walter Ralegh *

Sonnet by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Some fowls there be that have so perfect sight
Again the sun their eyes for to defend;
And some because the light doth them offend
Do never 'pear but in the dark or night.
Other rejoice that see the fire bright
And ween to play in it, as they do pretend,
And find the contrary of it that they intend.
Alas, of that sort I may be by right,
For to withstand her look I am not able
And yet can I not hide me in no dark place,
Remembrance so followeth me of that face.
So that with teary eyen, swollen and unstable,
My destiny to behold her doth me lead,
Yet do I know I run into the gleed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Augustan Literature

This movement draws its title from the Roman Emperor Augustus who ruled during the time of Virgil and Horace- two poets who heavily influenced writers in the eighteenth century. Augustan poets both held Virgil and Horace in high esteem, and said of the writing:

"Those rules of old discovered, not devised,
Are nature still, but nature methodized."

Meaning, that roman epic poetry was the purest, natural, form of writing. However, at the same time they mocked that style and used exagerated versions of 'epic poetry' to create comedic satire and comment of current events and human nature. These parodies often mocked the achievements of men and the idea of ambition.

Major themes:
  • Human Frailty
  • Order in the universe
  • The providential design of God
  • Standards of human potential
Common Literary Devices:
  • Satire, irony, and brevity
  • Parody
  • Allusions to Epic roman poetry
  • Political commentary and Allegory
  • Heroic couplets
Other Stylistic Devices and Characteristics:
  • Mundane, or painfully ordinary, non-eventful, plots
  • Mock Epic
  • Criticism of the 'ambiguity' of Metaphysical poets
  • Harmony and precision in diction and syntax
Well-known authors from the period:
  • Alexander Pope
  • John Dryden
  • Johnathan Swift
  • Joseph Addison

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Piety of 1984: Virgil and Orwell

It has just crossed my mind, that perhaps Orwell drew or grew from a prior writing, the Aenied, in the same way Virgil expanded from Homer's epic poems.

Like the Aenied, and all epic poems, 1984 begins in the middle of things. Winston's character is modeled off of an historic leader (Winston Churchill). He has experience great hardships and losses. His actions seem out of his control.

Augustus Ceasar

"In extreme danger, fear feels no pity."

It's clear that Virgil modeled Aeneas, in many aspects, off of the Roman leader Augustus, who transformed a crumbling republic into the powerful empire. So, in order to have a better understanding of Virgil's text, I've begun some research on this Roman emperor. Here are some of the more interesting or helpful sites I've encountered thus far:

De Imperatoribus Romanis

This site is great! It includes both a brief summary of Augustus, his life and role, and an indepth biography.

Kids Net- Augustus Ceasar

Why is it that children's websites are the most interactive and engaging? that it is assumed adults no longer need colors and graphics to maintain interest?

The Bust of Augustus Ceasar

Uhhh...I'm only posting this because someone might find it funny. I don't really get it. It's short video, supposedly about Augustus Ceasar.

In the Middle

Interesting blog by a child about Augustus Ceasar- also kind of wierd and scary.

Augustus Quotes
and finally some Augustus Quotes. Some enlightening, others, not so much.