Saturday, September 09, 2006

The mid-September lull

Things are pretty slow as the staff slowly trickles away and we are waiting for the campus to liven up again.

It's been a while since the last update, but, honestly, folks, not that much is happening. We just got back from our staff retreat this week, where we had our first book club meeting about The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, by Berkeley sociologist Jerome Karabel. We read the last three chapters, mostly about Bakke and affirmative action, but also summing up Karabel's arguments and his thoughts for the future. A lot of us also read the first section, about the birth of selective admissions.

Hidden history? Probably not, but many people are shocked about the extent of anti-Semitism in universities at the beginning of the 20th century. The end of the book wasn't so shocking, but gave us food for thought as we discussed our own admissions practices.

Kate Spelman is the first to head out for travel this Saturday. She'll be making a swing through Texas and will send a blog entry or two about what that's like. Melissa Meltzer will also be in Texas for the Dallas fairs this weekend, and Ted will be visiting a school or two in the middle of the week.

This year we have five new staff members -- Kate, who graduated from the College with a degree in anthropology and linguistics this year; Colin Melinda Johnson, who is finishing her PhD in English and who has been interviewing for us for five years (so, not that new); Jon Quinn, who graduated from the College in 2004 and has been working at the Museum of Contemporary Art until now; Zarinah James, who came to us from Penn to be our minority student recruiter and our counselor for Chicago schools; and Mary, who comes to us from work with non-profit organizations and will be our marketing strategy director. She will also read applications from Missouri, where she's from. Once Zarinah and Mary get email addresses, they'll start appearing as your counselor in the upper part of the Uncommon Application. This should happen in ths next few weeks.

Today football opens and women's soccer opens at home. I'm gathering a group of alumni to do some grilling and watch the games. This Week in Pictures hasn't been updated for a few weeks, so I hope I get a chance to put some photos up there.

New students arrive on the 16th, and everyone else two Mondays later. It will be so nice to see the students and parents I met during the 2005-2006 cycle finally arriving on campus. Some of them are already here -- first-year and soccer player Alex Takakuwa made what my friend Omar Al-Ubaydli called "the best goal ever made by any Maroon" during their first game against Kalamazoo, which we won 4-1. Omar and Sean Ahmed, long-time editor of the Maroon sports section, have a blog about UChicago sporting events, and you can watch Alex's goal, and everyone else's from that game.