Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back to School Night, 20 September 2006

Back to School Night, 20 September 2006

Dr. G. Mick Smith
Room #267
Contact info:
215.276.2300 (Main office)
Website for daily class notes, assignments, homework, and grades:

Welcome! This information guide emphasizes that a participating student will be successful by completing assignments and positively interacting in class. Above all, I hope that students will enjoy the class but will also grow in their knowledge level and increase their life skills that apply after graduation. Listed below are expectations for the class:
1. Be in your seat and prepared for class when the bell rings with pencil/pen, notebook, and textbook(s), or any other assigned materials.
2. Obtain permission by raising your hand before speaking, or leaving your seat for any reason once the bell rings.
3. Follow directions and complete all assignments on time.
4. Remain alert, awake, and on task during the entire class period.
5. Be dismissed in a timely manner by the teacher, not by the bell or clock.
6. Above all, respect yourself, your teacher, and others and their possessions.

Grading Calculation: (at least three major Test grades are in each quarter); I total the accumulation of points per grading period based on the following.

Task & Weight
1. Tests, 2. Homework/Presentations/Projects/Worksheets, 3. Quizzes
There are announced opportunities for Extra Credit on almost a daily basis; I use a system of Total Point Accumulation. The point tabulation results in an “A,” a “B,” etc.

Brief Biography
Dr. Smith earned his PhD in History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was also awarded a Masters degree in History from UCLA, and he obtained a second Masters in Theology. Smith was a Johannes Quasten Scholar in Patristics at The Catholic University of America and he holds a Distance Learning Administrator’s Certificate from Texas A&M University and the Center for Distance Learning Research. He has published 100 mostly peer-reviewed publications in history, technology and education, and computing. Dr. Smith has been President of the American Association for History and Computing. Smith has also taught at Northeast Catholic High School, Lansdale Catholic, Villa Maria Academy, Phila Academy, and Hahnemann University. At Cardinal Daugherty Smith is Assistant Chair of the Technology Committee and Moderator of Mock Trial. Dr. Smith is a full-time single parent and he is submitting his first novel to publishers.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries: Armstrong, Karen, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, Knopf, 2006.

In our current age of “The Great Transformation” Armstrong postulates how the sages of the foundational Axial Age would address unspeakable horror, violence, and desperation.The distinctive and historic Axial Age faiths announced the abandonment of selfishness and a spirituality of compassion. They stated that there must first be personal responsibility and self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical, effective action.Herein lie the problematic aspects of Armstrong’s work and why this book is not recommended. The most serious flaw of this work is in ascribing evidence for ethical behavior in almost all religious behavior and ritual (xiii, 35). Armstrong seems to miss the insight of Rene Girard and Walter Burkert who have demonstrated how violence and the sacred are inextricably linked. Other problems are that oddly, she states that Hitler expressed a “militant exclusion of religion from public policy” (395). In fact, Hitler divided German Christians by founding the Patriotic Church in contrast to the Confessing Church. One other interesting side note is that Armstrong’s research is based on out of date works; only 36 of 284 works cited in the bibliography were published in 2000 or later.