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Fame & Responsibility at Winford College Paperback – October 17, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

My career as a college professor spans most of the last half of the 20th century. During that time I saw a progressive change in the attitudes of the leaders of American colleges and universities. I discerned a shift from a feeling of responsibility for students toward an emphasis on academic reputation. I published some op ed articles on this problem and then considered writing a scholarly book on the subject. When I realized that the book would be both unreadable and unread, I decided to put my thoughts into a humorous novel, and I was very pleased when Sylvia Lauterborn agreed to prepare accompanying sketches.

About the Author

I finished my PhD in geology and began my teaching career at Rice University in 1954. While I was at Rice, the school organized undergraduate dormitories into residential colleges. Students were assigned to one college as entering freshmen and spent their entire undergraduate careers in the same college. Each college had its own commons/cafeteria and a college master who lived with his family in a house next door. The master was generally available to talk to students at any time (including the middle of the night), and my concern for the welfare of students was sharpened by my appointment as Master of Brown College from 1966 to 1971 (Brown was a women's residence at that time).

After serving as Chair of the Rice Geology Department from 1971 to 1974, I moved to the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill in 1975. As a state university with about five times as many students as Rice, UNC exposed me to a school where it was very difficult for students to get to know faculty and seek help from them. I taught at UNC for more than twenty years and still keep an office in the Department of Geological Sciences. During this time I was able to work closely with students that I supervised and some who merely took my classes. At Rice and UNC I supervised a total of about forty M.S. students and forty PhD students.

I wrote and edited, commonly with co-authors, eight books on geology during my career. Some geologists regard my geological books and papers as fictional, but my first intentional venture into fiction came after I retired. In early 2006 I self-published my feelings about graduate education in a humorous chapbook titled The Care and Feeding of Thesis Advisors. The sketches in the chapbook are done by Sylvia Lauterborn, who also illustrated my novel. The chapbook is printed with ISBN Number 1-59715-021-5, but I have distributed it mostly as a pdf by email.

My first, perhaps only, novel uses fictional Winford College as a means of expressing my concerns about undergraduate education.

Sylvia Lauterborn lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, who is on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is a painter as well as an illustrator and has exhibited her work locally.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847286348
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847286345
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,058,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Z. Freeman VINE VOICE on June 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
In his new novel Fame and Responsibility at Winford College, author John J. W. Rogers draws on his nearly 50 years experience as a geology professor to create a sweeping portrait of life on a college campus. Rogers' new book uses subtle humor and satire to address a serious issue that is affecting colleges and universities today: the gradual transfer of importance from the student body itself to the image and fame of the college or university. In its 203 pages, Fame and Responsibility at Winford College tracks the slow erosion of a quirky fictional college's dedication to the lives of its students as football teams, prestige, and money become more important.

Fame and Responsibility starts in the late 1940's with Randy Miller and Sue MacDonald, a young couple from Prineville, Oregon. As Randy begins his college career at Winford College, he finds that perhaps college isn't the best route for him, and his advisors agree, telling him that he should go out and get a job doing what he already does best: writing and speaking. Following the advice given to him, Randy goes on to become a famous orator and politician. His life with his wife Sue is touched on throughout the book, and serves as a grounding point for most of the action.

Using many colorful characters to guide the reader through the story, Fame and Responsibility starts to feel a bit diluted with so many characters and so many time periods being discussed. Perhaps that's why Rogers includes a character breakdown on the first page of his book, much the way a play includes a listing and description of each character and where they appear in the play.
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Format: Paperback
"Fame and Responsibility at Winford College" is a humorous novel that touches on a very real subject. This novel is about a college whose responsibility to its students is steadily declining as the administrators become more concerned about the reputation and fame of the college than the overall well being of their students.

Each of the main characters of the book have their own unique and interesting experiences at Winford and is touched by someone at the college who cared about their well being and was instrumental in their success. Later on in life, they become once again involved in Winford College and they begin to see what the college is quickly becoming and make drastic moves to ensure that the traditional reputation of the school is restored.

This is a very humorous and thought provoking novel. It touches on a very serious and real subject that I hadn't put much thought into until now. It's so true that many colleges and universities put so much into maintaining a certain prestigious image that they lose sight of what's most important, "students". This is a great read that teens and adults will truly enjoy.
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