I hear Cricket Frogs (everywhere)

Well it’s been a while since my last post.  This research is keeping me very busy.  During the afternoon I study maps and plan out the routes we take at night, as well as searching for new places to look for frogs.   At night we usually catch the Jamestown Ferry to reach our field sites, and we drive around for sometimes 6 hours a night.   Then we get home at 2 or 3am, fall in bed, and sleep until noon.  Funny how being a college student makes this the perfect schedule.  For once I actually have a perfectly legitimate excuse to stay up very late and sleep in!

[Read more…]

The Paradox of Restructuring Virginia

My research has transitioned from seeking to understand exactly what the legislation was to beginning to assess its influence. For the sake of recapitulation, the Virginia Restructuring Act of 2005 was a legislative quid pro quo. It promised Virginia’s financially desiccated public universities enhanced autonomy in facets like setting tuition rates and altering demographic (in-state/ out-of-state) quotas in exchange for agreeing to satisfy certain state benchmarks, such as enhancing affordability and improving campus research. While a scrupulous analysis of what led to the legislation could be its own blog post, I use this time to give my preliminary analysis of the legislation’s impact.

[Read more…]

A Highly Overdue Update, or, I Blame the Theory

The next time you’re standing in front of the Wren building, look around.  What do you notice? If you’re like me, you’re so used to the surroundings that nothing significant jumps out at you. Now look closer. All around you is order, symmetry, and rationalism made manifest on the landscape. Academically-inclined types call this the “Georgian worldview,” taking its name from the English monarch of the 18th century. Enlightenment ideals turned up even in such concrete things as the architecture and landscaping of the time, and these, being things that we encounter every day, unconsciously influence us. Walk on the bricks, not on the grass. Stay in line. Think inside the box. If you never realized, don’t worry – few people do. One of my favorite class periods to date was one last fall when Dr. Norman took his African archaeology class down through the campus to Colonial Williamsburg, and pointed these things out to us. I’ve never looked at the campus in the same way since (for example, I try to walk on the grass whenever possible!).

[Read more…]