Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2003 08:54:48 -0800
From: Jim Wright <>
Subject: Evaluation
To: Alan Kirshner <>
Organization: Ohlone College

Your recent evaluation documents are a testament to a lifetime of
positive and meaningful influence. You must be honored when you think
about the thousands of past Ohlone students who owe some of their
awareness of themselves and some of their ability to think in the world
to you and your teaching.

I like this statement by Bertrand Russell, "Passive acceptance of the
teacher's wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort
of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows
more than his pupils; it is moreover the way to win the favour of the
teacher, unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive
acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes man to seek and
to accept a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in
that position."

And I love this quote from one of your former students, "Now, every time
I ask myself a question, I ask myself ten more."

American owes in greatness in large part to the intellectual gadflies
who have been allowed to flourish. John Adams, one of my personal
favorites, was called an obstinate horse‚s ass by many of his
contemporaries, but we would be much less as a nation without having had
his presence and our most crucial moments. If your teaching and your
example create thoughtful gadflies who can think in a critical manner,
then Ohlone, your students, and society have been well served by you.
Of course, having been born in the same month and year as Superman does
place certain challenges in the life of a kid from New York. It appears
you have done quite well in meeting the challenges.

My hope is that you will defer retirement for some time to come. And,
even when you do decide to take STRS up on their promises, that you
consider teaching at Ohlone as an adjunct emeritus.

In the meantime, I would like you to consider the next generation of
faculty members here at the college. I know that you have paid your
dues with formal leadership roles at the college. However, we have many
young faculty (seventeen faculty gain tenure this year and we will be
hiring thirteen new ones this spring) who could benefit from your wisdom
and your approach. The Faculty Senate and UFO will be playing a much
more active role in new faculty orientation and mentoring and I believe
you could add much to that mix. Think about it.
Continue rapping, messing with minds, making people think, and, most
importantly, making them laugh.


Dr. Jim Wright, Vice President, Instruction
Ohlone College
43600 Mission Boulevard
Fremont, CA 94539
TEL: 510-659-6202
FAX: 510-659-7339