Category Archives: University Related

Tools of the Trade: Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

By Ron Fritze

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In this blog, I want to share with you what has become my favorite tool for putting some variety and spice into my writing. Check out the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus (2004) or OAWT for short. It is a great alternative to Roget’s Thesaurus because it is easier to use and works just as well if not a bit better. It is organized in a dictionary style and provides many synonyms listed in logical order. When appropriate, distinctions are made between formal and informal usages. Some entries also provide a few suggestions for antonyms. Examples of sentences that demonstrate usage of a word are also provided. Take the word “bad.” The OAWT gives twelve different general ways that “bad” can be used. Well over 150 synonyms and antonyms for “bad” are supplied. So if you mean “bad” in the sense of “the bad guys”, it gives alternatives like “corrupt,” “reprobate,” or “crooked” among others. If you mean “bad” in the sense of a “bad child,” it suggests “naughty,” “wayward,” or “undisciplined” among others. Remember, there are often subtle differences in meaning and connotation between some of the alternative suggestions. They are not necessarily inter-changeable parts. Keep your dictionary handy so that you can pick out the word that works best for your situation.

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The Elementary Reasons Why a University President Should Strive to Be Like Sherlock Holmes:

By Bob Glenn

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Ever since I first read the Adventure of the Red Headed League in my eighth grade literature book I have been a serious fan of Sherlock Holmes. During college I read and reread the fifty-six short stories and four short novels that comprise The Canon. After college I became acquainted with the The Baker Street Irregulars, that society of Sherlockian enthusiasts formed in the late 1940’s by author Christopher Morley that now boasts over 300 chapters in the United States as well as chapters across the world. My wife, Laurie, and I have had the good fortune to be a part of two such groups over the years. Recently while reading a marvelous little book called Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova, it occurred to me that many of the things I strive to do as President of Athens State University are very similar to the traits and habits of the famed detective. So, with apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. John H. Watson, I will in the next few Athens State Blog posts attempt to list all those reasons why a university president should strive to be like my favorite detective.

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Greek Tragedy in Athens, AL: Euripides’ Trojan Women

By Travis Sharp

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Everyone knows the stories of the Trojan War: Paris (in many minds seen as Orlando Bloom) and his fateful trip to Sparta; Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships; the deaths of Achilles and Hector; the Trojan horse being brought into the impregnable city; the destruction of Troy and those within its walls. A (very) rough interpretation of this ancient Greek lore was presented in the 2004 film Troy. But in all of the retellings, there is something missing—where are the women of Troy, the survivors not killed by the invading Greeks? We know that King Priam was murdered, but what of Queen Hecuba? What of Andromache, Hector’s wife? What fate took Helen of Troy? What destruction fell upon the cursed Cassandra? These are the stories which ancient Greek playwright Euripides explored in Trojan Women, a play which, according to translator Dr. Francis Blessington, “explores, with rare depth, human suffering.”

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Do We Have a Club That Fits Your Personality?

By Tena Bullington

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At Athens State University, we have many student clubs looking for new members and new ideas. Perhaps you are a closet artist who wants to learn more and participate but do not want to take classes – we have an Art Club for that. Or maybe you are a teacher-in-training and want to visit and learn from other teachers-in-training – there’s the Athens State University Teacher Ambassadors. Maybe you want to participate in things like cookouts and other student-led activities that create a collegiate atmosphere – then maybe the Student Government Association is the club for you.

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Tools of the Trade: The Roget’s Thesaurus, Old School

By Ron Fritze

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“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain
When it comes to advice on writing well, Mark Twain is someone to be heeded. One of the problems that any writer continually faces is maintaining the variety of their word usage. If you are not careful, you can end up using the same word over and over again. To your reader that practice comes across as dull and boring and may cause them rightly to question the extent of your vocabulary. So how do you get some life in your vocabulary and get from the “lightning bug” word to the “lightning” word? Answer, the thesaurus, a word book of synonyms and related concepts.

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5 Tips for Pursuing a (Graduate) Degree

By Tony Ricks

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(The following is adapted by the author from an original blog post he wrote on April 21, 2013  and published at www.therhetor.com)

Thinking about taking “the next step” after your bachelor’s degree? Or just after high school?

Recently, I offered advice to a college student at Athens State on the pros and cons of grad school. I hold a Master’s from Boise State and a Doctorate from Florida State. (Combining mascots, this makes me a Seminole on a Bronco). My particular area of expertise is in Rhetoric & Composition.  Today, I regularly work with college writers at Athens State.

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Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling puts universities’ race-preferred admissions on life support

By Jess Brown

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Although the Supreme Court’s end-of-term decisions about gay marriage dominated media coverage and public debate during the last week of June, its hot-off-the-press decision about affirmative action and university admissions deserves a close reading by university trustees, presidents and faculty. In the decision of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Justice Kennedy, speaking for a seven-member majority, may have substantially redefined the permissible scope of affirmative action in the context of university admissions. It is also worth noting that both members of the Court from racial/ethnic minorities – Thomas, an African-American, as well as Hispanic Sotomayor – supported his position.

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Can You Really Go Back To School?

By Guy McClure

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When I received my diploma 28 years ago I thought my days of studying were over. Granted, in hindsight I realize that I didn’t study enough when I was in college – but at that time scholarly pursuits seemed an overwhelming burden for someone in their early twenties. Now, almost three decades since that commencement march, I’ve decided to go back to school for a second bachelor’s degree.

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Books, Brews, and Much, Much More!

By Robert Burkhardt

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Come in and make yourself at home…literally, at the Athens State University Library’s Learning Commons area.  We have new comfy seating that can be rearranged to suit a study group of one or more.  Don’t want to sit at one of our desktop stations for PCs or Macs?  Not a problem.  Students and employees can check out a laptop for use in the building.  You can relax and prop up your feet while researching or typing a paper. We have a self-serve kiosk for coffee, green tea, and hot chocolate for just $1.25 a cup.  The only traditional librarian-shushing that we will do is that we still ask that you silence your cell phone and field any calls outside of the building.  (The student next to you could be taking a timed exam….)  The first floor is low talking, and the second floor is designated as a quiet study area.

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Who Are We?

By Guy McClure

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Who are we?  It is an introspective question that one might ask when on a quest of self-discovery.  It is also a question an institution must ask when defining itself in a constantly changing environment.  In the 191-year history of Athens State University we have been many things to many constituents, but whether that is an alma mater, a community resource, or an educational touchstone, we each have a personal connection to Athens State that is uniquely ours.The first step in defining ourselves is to do just that – establish a definition.  Athens State is an upper-division, two-year educational institution, one of only a handful of such schools in the world.  The problem is there is no word or phrase that adequately paints a mental picture of what this means.   The other problem is that this causes our colleagues, constituents, and even our neighbors to not clearly understand our purpose.

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