Thursday, May 13, 2004


I get lots of e-mail, for which I'm grateful. Unfortunately, I can't reply to all or even most of it. If I did, I wouldn't get anything else done, including posting items on my blogs! Right now I have 138 messages in my inbox, many of them in response to my penultimate Tech Central Station column, "Explaining Liberal Anger." My plan is to copy these column-related letters to a Word document, clean it up, and upload it. Then I'll provide a link to it on this blog. The letters, as you'll see, are heartwarming. I've already posted the handful of negative letters I received. Ninety-five percent of the mail I received about the column was favorable. Which brings me to the second letter-related item. I've decided to follow Andrew Sullivan's lead in omitting names from the letters I publish. See here. There's no reason to post names. Recently, two people who sent insulting e-mail to me complained (gallingly) that I posted their letters without permission. If I leave the names off, nobody can complain. Does that sound like a sound policy? Back to grading. From Today's New York Times To the Editor: Re "An A for Effort to Restore Meaning to the Grade" (Public Lives, May 6): I have been a professor of architecture at Pratt Institute for more than 30 years. While architecture students' portfolios are more important than their grades, my colleagues on the Academic Senate often complain about grade inflation. Every year, I make a simple proposal: An A should be defined as "truly outstanding," and truly outstanding should mean that we pin up the work and invite our colleagues to come and see it. If our colleagues say "You asked me to come all the way out to Brooklyn to see this?," that means the work should not have gotten an A. (The process would most obviously apply to graphic projects, but written papers could also be pinned up.) Each year my colleagues on the Senate pause, look at me, and then go back to complaining about grade inflation. JOHN LOBELL New York, May 6, 2004

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