I started this blog back in 201cough because I was fed up with so many people in the broader research community not understanding what happens in teaching-focused universities. And people who think they have an understanding, but that understanding is filled with stereotypes, bias, and misinformation, driven by a lack of direct personal experience.
I was fed up with being Othered, mostly because of how this translates to the perception of our students. Continue reading
I just read this piece in Science yesterday and I was floored. Continue reading
Among my peeves is when people say that science is not a liberal art. (Like this former president of Missouri State just did.) Science is a liberal art. Period.
This is not a purely academic exercise to establish that science is a liberal art. This really matters. Continue reading
I was chatting with colleagues about the mechanics of handing back papers to students. How do you do this?
As a class gets bigger, the more time it takes to return assignments and exams back to students. And at some point, you hit a threshold where it’s just impracticable.
This is an issue that some people are handling very poorly, and others are struggling to handle well. Continue reading
For all the concern about pipeline problems, we seem to be fond of creating bottlenecks that filter out the people we’re trying to recruit. Let’s take a quick look at how people get into grad school in my field.
To my knowledge, in most other fields, prospective graduate students apply to graduate programs. And then the selection process happens from there. I don’t have much direct experience with these programs, obviously, because it’s not my field.
But in ecology/evolution and allied fields, it happens bassackwards. Continue reading
We did a thing that worked. Maybe you could try it. It’s something that I’ve suggested before, but now some results are in and I’m sharing it with you.
If you’re looking to recruit more undergraduates to your campus for summer research opportunities (and more), listen up.
You know how when drug developers are doing a clinical trial, but they stop the trial early because the results are so promising, that they are ethically bound to give the treatment to everybody in the control group? That’s how I feel about what I’m telling you today. Continue reading
To groom better scientists, harness the power of narrative.
Applying for faculty jobs and don’t know what an institution means when they’re asking for you to “demonstrate interest and ability to advance diversity, equity and inclusion?” Apparently enough people asked UC Berkeley, so they decided to spell it out. Continue reading
This Small Pond is approaching carrying capacity. Continue reading
We still have generations of academics who are still in denial about how social media has changed how we are accountable for our actions. Continue reading
This is going to be a quick or poorly edited post because it is extremely late, as I just uploaded the final bits of an NSF proposal that is due today.
Wait, did that make any sense to you? Our federal government is shut down. NSF is shut down. Nearly all NSF employees are furloughed, and are not allowed to work even if they wanted to, in the span of their newly copious free time.
But I still submitted my proposal?! The online submission portal is running swimmingly! These exclamation points are not joy, but are the surprise of consternation! Continue reading
Are you preparing for the new semester? Are you sitting in the position of academic freedom guaranteed by tenure?
Here’s what you might consider to be a radical suggestion, though it’s fully reasonable: Ditch exams this semester.
That’s right. Just don’t have exams. Assign grades using other methods. Continue reading
Student evaluations are here to stay. And that’s the way it should be. I think universities owe it to students to provide a structured opportunity to provide feedback on classroom experiences. It’s not a matter of “customer service,” but instead, of respecting students and hearing what they have to say. But the way evaluations are typically structured, they facilitate inappropriate application and interpretation, and they don’t ask what we should be asking. Continue reading
Collectively, as a scientific community, we have so many blind spots. I remember running into one of these blind spots about 15 years ago. Continue reading
That was a restful two weeks. Now, back to business.
The Green New Deal, explained
Why do scientists reinvent wheels? (I think in ecology, a lot of concepts have a periodicity of about 30 years. And usually when an idea resurfaces, it’s not done with adequate awareness of the older literature.)
A few reality checks for internal candidates Continue reading
If you search up the phrase “power of small teams,” you’ll find lots of conventional wisdom.
I just would like to say, to all of that conventional wisdom: Yeah. Right on. Yup. And there apparently is a substantial body of academic research on the matter, too. Continue reading
Last week, I got a request for some advice, and thought I’d share a version of my answer with y’all here. Continue reading
I recently read through some of early posts on here. I’ve been at this for over five years now, and I’ve evolved over that time. (As I hope all people evolve!) I’ve learned quite a bit, and I do things differently in a variety of ways.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that I have steadily shifted a lot of the terminology that I’ve been using for topics in the practice of science, and teaching, and higher education. Continue reading
The pipeline metaphor has a lot of problems. In STEM careers, people come from a wide range of backgrounds, receive undergraduate and graduate degrees, and are bound for a wide variety of destinations. A path into a STEM career shouldn’t have to be linear, so a pipeline doesn’t make much sense.
However, I get why people like to use the pipeline metaphor. Continue reading
When I was a postdoc and looking for faculty jobs, I harbored a common misconception about faculty jobs. Even though my mentor definitely schooled me well in advance, it took multiple years on the job for me to get a clue.
I was at a conference this week, and chatted with a lot of folks about career stuff. The misconception that I used to have kept coming up repeatedly from others, so I’d just like to douse it here in the open with a wet blanket. Continue reading
Yesterday, I gave a talk at the at the Entomology conference, and I’d like to share with you what I had to say. Continue reading
Academia is a cult (I don’t agree with everything in here but there’s a lot of what people call food for thought)
Teaching mistakes I’ve made Continue reading
This weekend, I had an Experience. For the second half of Saturday, I went down to San Diego to crash the Society for Neuroscience conference. I visited with and learned from the #MeTooSTEM folks, and I got to meet so many wonderful people in person who I’ve only known from twitterbloglandia. I’d heard about SfN before, of course, but never had the occasion to go because, well, the stuff at this meeting is way out of my wheelhouse.
Anyhoo, let me tell you about SfN. As soon as I walked into the poster hall, I was like ZOMG. HOLY MOLY. WHAT THE WHAT. Continue reading