SCHOLAR'S NOTEBOOK - February 2009

Teaching in the New China:

Building a Western Village in China


Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus


Ron Stadsklev


Ron Stadsklev will share his experience teaching in China last year.

Stadsklev’s teaching stint, however, was not just a typical classroom situation. He writes, "Because of my experience in simulation gaming as an educational and training technique, I was offered a position as director of simulation with an experimental project at Red Horse Lake Training Institute. The Institute was formerly a large resort with 150 units about 60 miles from Changsha, China. The educational department of the Meyia conglomerate (the largest in China) set out to make over the resort into a Village that would simulate living in a western environment.

“We had pizza and hamburger parlors, a book store, a coffee house, super market, etc. Participants would be expected to use their English and live in a western environment. At the Simulation Center, I would use simulation games to involve the students in different aspects of western culture. Students would take on roles according to profiles scientifically designed to accurately reflect life in a certain sub-culture of our society, for example, families who live in a ghetto.

Teaching in China was an experience I will never forget.”

Ron Stadsklev has had a long career as an educator. He spent ten years as a professor at Concordia College in Nebraska in training student teachers and in developing curricula. On a leave of absence during this time, he worked with the Social Science Consortium at the University of Colorado, which supports social scientists and educators who build elementary and secondary school curricula. From 1974-1984, he directed experiential learning projects at the Institute of Research and Service at the University of Alabama. Ron took a year-long sabbatical in 1985 to start Ecology Works, an environmental business. Until 2002, he ran Ecology Works as it introduced recycled paper into the San Diego area and consulted with cities and organizations wanting to implement ecological practices. Though retired since 2002, he has been working with Habitat for Humanity in Poland and New Zealand. 



Joyce Strauss presented a lively talk and slide show that covered the development of modern photography from the 1920s to the 1990s — miraculously, in less than an hour. The stunning photos she showed us ranged from Alfred Stieglitz’s “Steerage” (1907), which heralded the modern age. With its careful composition, the photo went beyond recording ocean-going passengers. By the 1930s, photography like other arts was caught up in a succession of “isms,” including Cubism, Dadaism, and Futurism. Photographers such as Walker Evans were documenting social ills in the 1950s. New attitudes and ways of thinking revolutionized photography beginning in the 1960s, culminating in entirely new ways of using photographs in art pioneered by Andy Warhol, among others. Today, photography is “exploding,” with digital, video, computers and even the cell phone technologies. The history of photography, Strauss noted, is a cauldron of creative soup. Today, “There’s hardly a fine art museum in the United States or Europe that doesn’t have a photography department.”  Is photography an art? Is it a mass art?  To help you decide, Strauss offers this definition: “Art is something that has to move your molecules.”—Cathy Robbins



Works in Progress

The next meeting will be on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 1:30 p.m. at Alice Marquis’ home, 8963 Caminito Fresco (La Jolla). The group will turn its attention to the Internet. Be prepared to share enlightening and frustrating experiences using the web, talk about favorite search engines and sites. Also, how do you check whether the internet’s findings are trustworthy? Do you read any blogs? How often do you consult the Web? Contact:

Colloquy Café

Sam Gusman will host the next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m., at his home, 8515 Costa Verde Blvd., Apt. 1808. The subject of the meeting is Justice. Contact Sam for more information at


The Literature group will meet at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 16, at the home of 
Gerry Horwitz, 4335 Osprey St. Pat Terry will lead a discussion on selected poems by William Butler Yeats. Contact:



The Science Group (aka Brain Study Group), now in its ninth year, will meet on Friday, Feb. 16, at 3-5 p.m., at the home of Bea Rose, 8515 Costa Verde Blvd., #1909,  to discuss Chapter Eight of Patricia Churchland’s Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy and related ideas. Bea notes that the invitation to visitors is temporarily rescinded, not because the group is asocial but because, with three new members, the limit of comfortable seating in her apartment has been reached.  The group is limited to 10 participants. Call Bea for more information at 858.458.9263.




ŸThe Institute for Historical Study, the NCIS affiliate in Berkeley which hosted the NCIS conference, issues a newsy newsletter.  (One copy comes to SDIS as a member organization.)  Several members will find it interesting. Find the newsletter on Berkeley’s website:  —From Donna Boyle

Ÿ is a legitimate free web site for authors, according to an article in Publishers Weekly (PW), Jan. 5, 2009, pages 22-23.  A two page article "Predictable," by Mike Shatzkin, an expert in publishing, written at request of PW, is a scorecard on predictions he gave a year ago for 2008.  At the end of Item 3, he says, "And I'm proud to be a co-founder of Filedbyauthor, a new web initiative giving every author with a book in print his/her own Web page. Here's the link: . Shatzkin is identified by PW as founder and CEO of consulting firm the Idea Logical Company
(— From Joan Casale

(Share your information bits with all of us. Send them to


From the President


ŸAfter the buzz of inauguration, we welcome some quiet and watch the days grow longer.  Believe it or not, it’s time again to recruit new board members.  The Nominating Committee – Nancy Appleton, Jerry Selness, Bill Houghton, Edwina Shell-Johnson, and Sam Gusman – may come knocking at your phone.  Welcome them.  Consider serving.  It’s fun working with a group of such good energy. 


ŸSpeaking of good energy, at our last meeting I wish I’d had a digital camera.  The room hummed as people discussed many things.  A couple shots taken there could be used to re-vitalize our website.  If you carry a digital camera and (discreetly) take pictures you especially like, share them with Judith Green. One or two might appear on the web.


ŸAnd speaking of our website, check out the Current Research link.  We want to see your project there.  The description does not have to be long or complex, just a simple account of what you are up to.  Include links to your research website if you have one.  Contact Judith Green.

 — Donna Boyle





Welcome New Members

David (Doc) Noel’s interests are manifested by the book he recently co-authored:  The Best Team Ever: A Novel of America, Chicago, and the 1907 Cubs. Richard M Julian is interested in Science. At the end of last year, we also welcomed Ron Stadsklev, our February speaker, and Betty Cortus, a literature enthusiast with special interest in Thomas Hardy.


About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes those who appreciate creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts.  SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

Donna Boyle, President,


Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Cathy Robbins, the Notebook editor: or 3720 First Ave., San Diego, CA 92103. The deadline for submissions is the 25th of the month prior to publication date.

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