02 November 2005

midterm

On Monday midterm grades were due for all freshman students. This mid-semester reporting is part of how La Salle tracks the progress of first year students, gives them a chance to meet with their advisors about their successes and problems, and grants an opportunity to withdraw from a class (deadline: Friday) if a particular course seems beyond hope of redemption.

Despite the fact that I was hardly home at all last week, I did manage to get midterm grades calculated and turned in on time (much assisted by the online system that's been put in place the last several years).

Last week found me in New York City and in the midwest for a conference. Laurel has been wanting to visit New York for some time in connection with a writing project she is working on, part of which is set in New York and required some research. We lunched with some friends and had a good time wandering around both Brooklyn and the Upper West Side.

From Thursday through Sunday last week, travels took me to a conference in the midwest where I had agreed to comment on a paper. The conference overall was okay, though with midterm grades due, I found myself spending a good chunk of time holed up in the university library to mark papers and set up spreadsheets. Still, there was a very good session on the philosophical thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar that I thoroughly enjoyed, as well as a paper on Plato's Euthyphro that was intriguing.

The biggest danger of such conferences, of course, are the book sellers, especially when good publishers (Baker, Brazos, Eerdmans, Fordham, etc.) are offering all their wares at half-off the retail price. I don't have all the books in front of me at the moment, but I do recall purchasing John Milbank's recent book on de Lubac, The Suspended Middle, along with a volume on the Ten Commandments edited by Carl Braaten and Christopher Seitz, Esther Meek's book on epistemology, and Steve Long's The Goodness of God on theological ethics. I'm not sure when I'll get around to reading all of these, especially since I recently added Vanhoozer's big orange tome to my bedside stack.

This week looks to be busy as well, with a field trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary historic site early this afternoon, various advising meetings, friends coming over for dinner, a funding board meeting, a core curriculum faculty meeting, and a missionary coming to stay with us for our church's annual Missions Conference. In light of all that, I should get to work.