Posted by raherschbach on 24 Nov 2014

As a former teacher in the Maryland public schools, I helped to administer the annual IQ tests to hundreds of children in my 14-year-career.  “Administered” is somewhat of a misnomer, because I simply monitored the 120 or so 4th graders each year as they filled in the little circles on their answer sheets and “avoided making marks on the test booklets."  The tests were then sent out for scoring and back came a form reporting each child’s IQ.

But when  I looked over the scores each year, I sometimes questioned the results.  Children were not excused because they were not feeling well, or there was a problem at home that was upsetting them that day.  Students who were not native English speakers or who had learning disabilities were lumped in with the rest.  Group IQ tests, starting with the military in WWII, have a long and illustrious history of sorting folks efficiently and inexpensively for various reasons.  These IQ tests were no different, and the results followed the students through their school careers.  Among other uses, the magic number was consulted for placement in various programs, rather like the “Sorting Hat” in the Harry Potter books. 

My psychology students here at Capitol have been learning about IQ from a new perspective.  Many of them recall coloring in those little circles without knowing why, and, in most cases, never finding out what the results were.  The psychology textbook discusses IQ as if it were, indeed, a stable attribute, a “given.”  IQ is presented as a single number that supposedly defines how “smart” a person is, which can have significant impact on an individual’s education and career path. 

However, there is an intriguing paragraph in the text,  hinting at a different view of IQ-- the Theory of Multiple Intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner beginning in the 1970s..  I always devote a whole class to Gardner’s theory because I believe it gives us a more complete picture of who we are.  While traditional IQ tests focus heavily on language, math, and some spatial abilities, Gardner includes those plus a broad array of aptitudes.  His full list of 8 intelligences includes: linguistic, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal (people skills) and the ability to understand the world of nature.

 Applying Gardner’s theory, we could agree that Mozart is an outstanding example of musical intelligence. Writing a symphony at age 8 that is still played by major orchestras 200 years later certainly counts.  FDR’s and Winston Churchill’s way with words puts them at the top of the linguistic intelligence scale. For an understanding of the natural world, Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel stand out.

So during our class, students like to chime in and add their own examples.  One student suggested that the Beatles should be added to the musical intelligence list.  Has their music stood the test of time?  Well, that depends.  They don’t come close to Mozart’s 200 years, but 50 years isn’t too shabby.  The 2014-15 Baltimore Symphony season includes a program devoted to Beatles music, alongside the classics.   How about Stephen King and Tom Clancy as candidates for linguistic intelligence?  Or Dr. Ben Carson and Michael Jordan for bodily-kinesthetic intelligence?

“What about the ‘robber barons’ of the Industrial Revolution?  Where would they fit in this theory?” one student asked.  Indeed, where would we put Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, or Bill Gates?   Certainly, they excel at logical-mathematical abilities, and quite likely in interpersonal intelligence, too.  They were masters at getting people excited about their vision and strategic plans. 

A frequent question is whether anyone can stand out in all these areas.  Well,  Leonardo Da Vinci is often cited as a Renaissance man.  He was known as an architect, engineer, painter, sculptor, mathematician, musician, inventor, anatomist, and writer.  Does anyone have any modern candidates for someone who embodies outstanding ability of all or most these intelligences?


Posted by raherschbach on 21 Nov 2014

Spring semester dates for Capitol’s popular Cyber Saturday program have been announced. Events will be held on January 24, February 28 and April 14.

Intended for community college students, Cyber Saturdays introduce participants to one of the highest-demand career fields available today. They do so by means of exciting, game-type activities that engage participants with something they like doing, while also imparting valuable training.

“These events increase awareness and then they get students interested in the profession—and that’s the objective,” says Professor William Butler, Chair of the Information Assurance department at Capitol.

The Cyber Saturday program was launched in 2013 with the help of a grant from the Department of Defense’s Information Assurance Scholarship Program. Previous Cyber Saturday events have included games such as Cyber Laser Tag, Cyber Treasure Hunt, Oddball and Balance Beam. To find out more, contact Meghan Young, Director of Admissions Operations, at


Posted by raherschbach on 19 Nov 2014

If you walked the halls and campus of Capitol Technology University during the month of October you might have scratched your head in wonderment. The signs and chatter were all about eating books -- yes, eating books!  October was the 4th annual Edible Book Contest held by the Puente Library.  Click here to see a slideshow of the entries.

What is an edible book and how is it a contest?  Sounds mildly disgusting to try and eat a book…is it like a hot dog eating contest where the person consuming the most pages wins a prize, like another book that they can eat?  No, not even close. 

The International Edible Book Festival is an annual event usually held on or around April 1 (seems fitting that the event takes place on April Fool’s day where eating one's words is very appropriate) of each year. This worldwide event, in which "edible books" are created, displayed, and eaten, was first launched in 2000. In the beginning most edible book events took place in culinary schools, where budding chefs baked their favorite book as a class assignment.  Later the concept branched out to bookstores, art houses and libraries. Four years ago the Puente Library grabbed the idea and moved it to October; we have been “eating books” ever since. 

Still scratching your head? Why in the world would a computer university have a cooking contest, you ask? Two reasons: first, because we can, and, more importantly, because of the creativity and campus cameraderie the program generates. You might not expect computer technology students to be challenging art students in creative endeavors, but ours are, unbelievably so. We have had students submit everything from an orange with a clock face on it (ala Clockwork Orange) to an elaborate Dr. Seuss cake (a la Dr. Seuss books) to the Death Star (a la Star War books and this year’s winner). The only requirement for entry is that each entry is from a book – the title, cover, favorite character.  Of course it must be edible. After judging and awarding prizes for first, second and third, the best part of the contest takes place; we eat the entries.  And if there is one thing college students do extremely well, it is eat.  There are never any leftovers from this contest! 

Besides the creativity that is on exhibit with the contest, it also brings together students, faculty and staff, from the president to the new freshman, to admire and enjoy food together. Never to be lost is the exposure of the library and its services, staff and friendly environment. The library conducts a program each month to encourage students to use the library and have fun! 

All of the Puente Library programs are student created, managed and administered. The Edible Book Contest has become our most popular program and each year has grown with both entries and audience. We have been very lucky to have had a very creative student program leader over the last two years who has taken the edible book idea to new heights and levels of participation.  We hope to add the winner’s entries to the menu of the campus’s deli after next year’s contest as well as moving the contest to April to be in line with the International Edible Book Festival. It's all for the sake of creativity as this contest brings out the imagination of each student entry even when they didn’t think they had an artistic “book” in them. 

Eat a book once a year. You just might just like it!

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