Tag Archives: AKMA

The Research Education Framework

AKMA has a great post from his vantage point from the University of Glasgow on the hated Research Education Framework

In order to understand the *#$€!¥!#* REF, you should bear in mind that universities over here have for the past century or so been funded almost exclusively by the government. That’s a system that has cultivated one of the outstanding educational systems in the world, second (perhaps, though it depends on the sample one takes) or superior to the USA. Since the economic collapse (for which the universities and other public services must have been primarily responsible, since it’s our funding being cut and not financiers having to repay the losses their speculation caused), funding for teaching (as distinct from research) is being cut to the bone; for humanities disciplines, our main government contribution will come for research. And the way the government’s research funding is determined is the *#$€!¥!#* REF.

(Research funding was determined by the *#$€!¥!#* REF’s predecessor, the RAE, in the past; since other sources of funding are drying up, though, the research component takes on heightened importance.)

The *#$€!¥!#* REF works this way: at a given moment, every university in the UK will gather pieces of research that represent the work of their staff in various subject areas, and a committee of scholars will evaluate all the books, essays, research reports, whatever, and assign each institution’s staff a piece of the research pie. That moment, for this REF cycle, begins January 2014. All across the UK, academics are straining to make sure that they have four significant publications in print before that deadline — all at once, except for the elect who have already published four estimable works.

What a messed up way of determining funding.

Sermon feedback

I don’t do a lot of public speaking anymore but when I did, I would have appreciated the kind of feedback that AKMA is proposing here.

Still, one wonders what would happen if sermons were regularly reviewed by a good critic (or by an itinerant representative of the diocese/synod/whatever), or if it were permissible to take preaching as a strong ingredient in such gross indicators as rise or fall in attendance. What if the church were obliged to be honest about the plain fact that some preachers are not as good at their craft as are others? And what if the church recognised that some of the most prominent characteristics in selecting for ordained ministry, and then also for determining appointments, are not co-implicated with preaching skills? What if, to be blunt, ‘preaching well’ is not the norm, but a noteworthy exception?

Turning 10

JordonCooper.com is a decade old todayTen years ago today I published my first post on this site.  I wasn’t sure if this blogging thing was going to last but since then I have posted more then 11,000 times to the site and the traffic has grown quite a bit.  There hasn’t been many changes to the site.  It was first powered by Blogger, then Blogger Pro, and then back to plain Blogger again after Google purchased it.  After 8000 posts, I moved the site to WordPress.

I started to post here because Andrew Careaga wrote a book called e-vangelism back in the early days of the interweb and he published a newsletter that talked about technology and faith.  I never read the book (sorry Andrew) but I did read the newsletter.  In it he talked about Blogger and how you could use it to keep a church website updated.  That is how I discovered Blogger and the rest has been history.  When I started blogging, there was Andrew Jones, Rudy Carrasco and myself blogging about the church and theological issues.  Other than them I learned a lot from Doc Searls, AKMA, Jason Kottke, Caterina Fake, Jeneanne Sessum, and Rebecca Blood.

I am not really sure why I keep posting here.  There never was a plan behind it.  I had no ambitions to be a thought leader, create a movement, make money, or achieve fame.  What I wanted was a place to explore ideas, keep track of interesting things and later on, share things with friends.  Hopefully I have done that.

I have also made some enemies.  One city councillor continues to block me on Twitter and called me an “first class asshole” over some comments I made last summer, one prominent Christian leader threatened to sue over comments, I think it’s a contributing factor for why my dad and I haven’t talked in eight years and more than one former colleague has questioned my Christianity over my more liberal views.   Still the site has brought more joy than angst so it’s all good.

There has been a lot of friends made as well.  Too many to list but thanks for the emails, comments, tweets, and time spent together over the last decade.   Hopefully there is an interesting link or two in the future.  Of course with entire companies moving from the open web to closed Facebook, I am now quite a bit behind the times but that’s the story of my life.

The StarPhoenixNot sure what the future brings.  I am writing a weekly column now at The StarPhoenix so some of my longer (and better written pieces) will be posted there.  I’ll still be posting links, sports (including my scheme to purchase the L.A. Dodgers) and some photos as well.

Thanks to everyone who reads this rather odd collection of links, rants, and articles.  You have been the ones that have made this so much fun.