EppsNet Archive: College

The Bamboo Ceiling

Michael Wang had a 4.67 GPA and a perfect ACT score. He placed first in the state of California at the AMC 12 – a nationwide mathematics competition. He performed with the San Francisco opera company, and sang in a choir that performed at Barack Obama’s first inauguration. He volunteered his free time to tutor underprivileged children. He applied to seven Ivy League schools and was rejected by all seven. I saw recently that a local kid from Fullerton High School here in Orange County was accepted at all eight Ivy League Schools. His name is Fernando Rojas. Here’s another young man, Harold Ekeh, who was also accepted at all eight Ivy League schools: Last year, Kwasi Enin was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools: A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400).… Read more →

Berkeley Commencement 2015 (Photos)

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Goodbye Berkeley

Oh to be young and strong and accomplish a longtime goal! Goodbye Berkeley, it’s been a great four years … Read more →

Thoughts in the Shower

If I just stay in here and never come out, maybe the graduation won’t happen and he’ll still be my little boy . . . Read more →

This Photo of A Guy Tap Dancing in a Pink Floyd Shirt Explains a Lot

A Wall Street Journal article on college students, the weak job market and high debt loads is illustrated by this photo of a guy in a Pink Floyd t-shirt taking a tap dancing class. The crazy thing is that not only are these kids running up debt and killing their job prospects, they don’t even appear to be having a good time doing it . . . Read more →

Big Fishes in Small Ponds

A colleague and I are discussing an article about too many kids quitting science because they don’t think they’re smart, in which Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, says, among other things: Being a good parent has become synonymous with giving out ability praise. Parents still think this is the greatest gift they can give to their children, and as a child gets more and more insecure, they give more and more of it. And, by the way, a lot of employers and coaches have said, “My employees cannot get through the day without accolades and validation.” Even professional coaches have said they cannot give feedback without these people feeling that they’ve crushed them. We’ve created several generations now of very fragile individuals because they’ve been praised and hyped. And feel that anything but praise is devastating. My colleague mentions Malcolm Gladwell‘s book David and Goliath, in which Gladwell claims… Read more →

Many Have Long Known …

Many in academia have long known about how the practice of student evaluations of professors is inherently biased against female professors. . . . — Amanda Marcotte, “Best Way for Professors to Get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male.”   Group A getting better evaluations than Group B is not evidence of bias. Asserting that something is true doesn’t mean it’s true. Asserting that many people know something to be true doesn’t mean it’s true. Most college students (i.e., the people evaluating professors) are female. What, if anything, does this fact suggest? Read more →

I’m in Semi-Solidarity with the Protestors

I support the UC Berkeley students protesting tuition hikes but maybe with a little less conviction than I used to because my kid is a senior and no matter how high tuition goes I won’t be paying it anymore so I hope the boy was in class yesterday and not out causing a disturbance . . . Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: No School After Halloween

There was no school yesterday because the Newport-Mesa Unified School District at some time in the past noticed that a lot of kids didn’t show up the day after Halloween, so they decided not to have classes on the day after Halloween. Evidently this applies even if Halloween is on a Friday, followed by two weekend days plus an extra hour on the time change. Kids still need that extra day to get ready for academics again. Some time ago, I saw a news story about kids in Indonesia who had to cross a river via a rope suspension bridge to get to school. Then the bridge partially collapsed so it looked like the photo on the right. And of course the kids are determined to get an education so they’re all basically climbing their way across the river and back every day. If the bridge collapsed completely, they’d probably… Read more →

UC Berkeley Roller Hockey

Cal hasn’t fielded a roller hockey team since 2011 but the boys (and one girl), including our kid, got a team together this season, rejoined the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League, and they’re playing their first tournament this weekend, with games against UC Santa Cruz, USC, UC Irvine and UC San Diego. No scholarships and you pay for your own unis and travel expenses. GO BEARS! Read more →

L’Affaire Winston

Florida State said Friday its athletic department compliance staff is reviewing the reported authenticated signatures by Jameis Winston, but has yet to find evidence that the star quarterback accepted payment for the autographs. ESPN reported Thursday that more than 2,000 authenticated signatures by Winston have been found on the James Spence Authentication website. — ESPN.com A couple of very surprising things about this: Jameis Winston can write his name. That may be a clue. Before I bought any signed Jameis Winston memorabilia, I’d insist on independent verification of his ability to write his name, lest someone be foisting some counterfeit goods on me. Caveat emptor. Florida State’s football coach — a grown man named Jimbo — believes (or claims to believe) that Winston signed 2,000 items without being paid for doing it. He signed 2,000 items for free. I wouldn’t sign 2,000 items for free, would you? How long would… Read more →

National Scholarship Award

It would be nice if modesty prevented me from mentioning that my kid’s fraternity, the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) chapter at UC Berkeley, was awarded the National Scholarship Award at the ATO National Congress for having the highest GPA of any ATO chapter in the nation. “Yeah, and we actually have hard classes,” he said. Read more →

The Softball Waivers

Our company’s having an in-house softball game tonight, hosted at a field across the street at UC Irvine . . . That’s not our actual team in the picture, the difference being that the players in the picture look like they may have been athletes at one time. I’m not playing because I have a piano lesson tonight. (Actually, I wouldn’t have played anyway because I can no longer do things like run and see that used to serve me so well on the diamond all those years ago. But the piano lesson is a convenient excuse.) Everyone who is playing had to sign a waiver provided by UCI. Good move. Company softball games are rife with injuries. I picture a scenario like this: Dear UCI Parents, We regret that your students are not able to graduate on time, but as you know, we’ve had to cut back drastically on… Read more →

People Who Don’t Want Me to Know Things

What I want to know is why there are so many people who don’t want me to know things . . . What the 1% Don’t Want Us to Know Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About 20 Terrifying Facts Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know 11 things the Koch brothers don’t want you to know What hospitals don’t want you to know about C-sections 5 Things Hackers Don’t Want You to Know The Sad Secret Successful People Don’t Want You To Know 7 Rip-Offs Corporations and the Wealthy Don’t Want You to Know About Something Most Christians Don’t Want You to Know 11 Secrets Supermarkets Don’t Want You to Know Conspiracies: Five things they don’t want you to know The 25 Shadiest Things Drug Companies Don’t Want You To Know 11 Secrets Pilots Don’t Want You To Know Bottled Water: 10 Shockers “They” Don’t Want You… Read more →

Killed by Prayer

A woman on Facebook a couple of days ago asked everyone to pray for her seriously ill father. Today, he died. Go figure. Had he made a miraculous recovery, we would have said that prayer “worked” . . . but what does it mean when you pray for someone to live and he dies? I had a college professor . . . his exams were graded by a graduate assistant, but students had the option of appealing grades to the professor. That’s not unusual, but most professors will either raise the grade or leave it as is. This guy, however, would either raise the grade, leave it as is or lower it. Risky! Maybe God operates on the same principle. When you put someone’s fate in his hands, he retains the option of saying “toodle-oo.” Read more →

Those Who Think Differently Are Disinvited

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, was scheduled to speak this coming Sunday at Smith College, but she withdrew her name after nearly 500 people signed a petition objecting to the policies of the IMF. Similar outcries foiled speaking engagements by former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University and human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis University, among several others. — WSJ.com As Nietzsche used to say, “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” Read more →

Random Thoughts on Paying College Athletes

Where is the money going to come from? Most people seem to think that college athletic programs are big money makers. They aren’t. Despite the big revenue dollars associated with two sports — football and men’s basketball — 90 percent of Division I athletic programs, because of the much larger number of non-revenue sports, operate at a loss. They’re subsidized by the general fund of the university. Paying athletes would require additional dollars to be directed away from academic endeavors: hiring and paying professors, funding research, offering financial aid to non-athletes, etc.   Title IX requires gender equity. You couldn’t just pay football players and men’s basketball players. Everyone would need to be paid equally in some sense, even in non-revenue sports.   How much money are we talking about? Let’s say at a medium to large school, we have 500 to 1,000 student athletes and we’re going to pay… Read more →

NYT Misrepresents California’s Affirmative Action Results

In reporting on yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold a Michigan ban on the use of racial preferences in admissions to public universities, the New York Times looks at results in other states that have banned racial preferences. Here’s what the Times says about my state, California, which voted to ban racial preferences in UC admissions in 1998: Hispanic and black enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles dropped sharply after voters approved a statewide ban on affirmative action. Those numbers have not recovered, even as the state’s Hispanic population has grown. That is a misleading analysis for a couple of reasons: One: Affirmative action was banned at all UC campuses, not just Berkeley and UCLA. Ignoring all the other campuses allows the Times to say that black and Hispanic enrollment “dropped sharply” when there was actually only a 2 percent decline in… Read more →

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