Monthly Archives: October 2006

Unleashing the Vitriol

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IUma_gupta06n his article "Unleashing the Vitriol" in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Dennis Barden at the executive search firm of Witt Kieffer discusses his perspectives on the role of blogs in executive searches. "Character assassination has gotten a lot easier, leadership a lot more dangerous, and administrative searches a whole lot harder."

David shares his recent search experience about a senior administrator who was in the job market and under attack by bloggers. He focuses on the balancing act search committees must perform in order to get to the truth. The real truth. Yes, blogs cast a shadow on candidates, sometimes a long shadow. However, most search committees for senior level positions can sniff a rat.

David writes, "Whether or not accusations made on a blog are true, they undermine the effectiveness of the person under attack simply by spreading tales directly to the community. No spin. No context. And very frequently no truth. Just damage.

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Critical Thinking: It’s Totally Up to You!

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Critical Thinking: Part Skill, Part Mindset And Totally Up to You is the title of a column by Sharon Begley in the October 20 2006 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

It is a wonderful piece that begins with a story about a mother who lost her son in the sea. Nearly 14 years later, an impostor comes forward as her son and although the evidence is compelling that he is not her son, she embraces him. He was found guilty later.

The article explores why even reasonable people sometimes abandon critical thinking.

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To Blog or Not to Blog?

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Professors at Wharton share their views on blogs and ask the Shakespearian question: To Blog or Not to Blog? Several Wharton professors use blogs to update their curriculum and bring innovative ideas and controversial views into the classroom. Read the full article.

Wharton’s Professor Werbach’s blog identifies himself as a technology analyst and policy wonk, while Professor Steele uses his blog to teach "a statistics course committed to honest data analysis." There are several discipline-based blogs on this site, all worth taking a look at!

However, not all Professors are high on blogs. A direct quote from the article follows:

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Energy Sector Faces Labor Shortage

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Uma_gupta06Many people still visualize “overalls and grease” when they think of the energy sector. In fact, this is diametrically opposite of the many cutting-edge fast-paced global projects and careers in energy. Changing perceptions is not easy. Many energy companies are struggling to educate students, parents, guidance counselors, and experienced professionals about the cutting technologies and talented people. The energy sector is no longer the volatile industry of the 80s. Today, it is dynamic, forward-thinking, global, and inter-disciplinary. It urgently needs research scientists, engineers, physicists, geologists, and information technology specialists, to name a few. Large retirements are expected even as the industry sees a steady decline in the number of students pursuing degrees relevant to energy. Without experienced talent, the energy sector simply cannot achieve its full potential. Cost overruns, project delays, safety accidents, economic loss, decline in exciting discoveries, and loss in our global ranking are inevitable, unless and until leaders address this problem head on. What is needed is a comprehensive industry-wide talent acquisition strategy.

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You are What!?* An Engineer!

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Uma_gupta06Ask a middle or high school kid his or her choice of a career and there is a one in ten chance the kid will choose engineering! When my institution has hosted Bring Your Children to Work Day and I ask kids to name the top five careers of choice, rarely is engineering mentioned. Particularly in rural areas the top choices are nurse, firemen, teacher, and police officer. We need all the above professions to grow and thrive. However, the fact that our kids often have limited knowledge about career choices should be of grave concern to corporate America. What can we do to get our children to select science and engineering professions?

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Madonna? Words of Wisdom

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In an interview to Time Magazine on November 13, 2006 (pg 141), Madonna responded to the question, "Is being Madonna still as fun as it used to be?" in the following way:

Fun? Oh, I don’t know. Fun’s kind of an over-rated word. It’s not smooth sailing by any means, but I enjoy a great deal of it; otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. But I also know that if you’re going to try and change things, you’d better be prepared to find yourself in the headquarters of hell. That’s just how it works. …. When you are p___ing people off, you’re often doing the right thing. what I hope I’s doing better now than I used to do is picking the right battles to fight and not just being provocative for the sake of being provocative."

Pick the right battles.

Stand up and fight for what you believe in.

Live well.

Keep marching forward.

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