For most grad students in the sciences, their doctoral advisor has an extraordinary level of power over their professional and personal life. This is long overdue for an overhaul. No single person should have that much power over another, particularly in academia where institutions chronically overlook and enable misconduct.
If you haven’t read this editorial about “What ‘good’ dads get away with,” please do. It’s about the the “Myth of Equal Partnership.”
Someone measured the disregard that natural scientists hold for research in the social sciences. You can imagine how this article is being received by the people they studied.
You are sending students to a conference. What’s the best way to pay for it?
I don’t know about you, but I’m used to hearing academics talking about how some people are just inherently brilliant. That there are people with oodles of raw talent, that just needs to be molded, and it’s our job as academia to find them and raise them up.
One hundred fifty. I’ve done this 150 times! How ’bout that, eh?
This review of a new book about Joy Division by Henry Rollins is not Everything, but it’s Quite A Lot. (And here’s a blog post about the science of the cover of Unknown Pleasures, which you’ve definitely seen in t-shirt form.)
When I visit other universities and chat with grad students, I love fielding questions about career stuff. I realize that’s part of why I was invited. Since I often get the same questions, I suppose I should also answer those questions here, too. Because if I get asked a question every time I visit an R1 department, it must be a really common question.
This is my ninth day of being sick. I think it was a flu. (Yes, I had this year’s flu shot.) It caught everybody in my home.
I’ve been back at work for a couple days, though I’m still coughing regularly, and my brain remains foggy. I’ve dropped so many balls. Fortunately, none of them are glass, though there are enough of them bouncing that I can’t quite keep up. There are a few things I am waaaaaay too late on.
It’s that time of year again. Congrats to the 2000 students who are recipients of the GRFP! From talking to so many panelists about their experiences, it’s clear that they could fund so more people, and every single one of them would be quite worthy of the support.
I can concisely encapsulate these concerns: Your odds of personally knowing someone who got a GRFP from your undergrad years might be best predicted by the size of the endowment of that institution. NSF is working hard to be inclusive with respect to gender, ethnicity, and various axes of diversity, but the bottom line is that students attending wealthier and more prestigious undergraduate institutions are more likely to end up with fellowships.
How do you explain what research is?
My go-to metaphor has been a jigsaw puzzle.
An article arrived in my inbox this morning and it seems so spectacular, I wanted to highlight it as its own post:
Emery, N., A. Hund, R. Burks, M. Duffy, C. Scoffoli, A. Swei. 2019. Students as ecologists: Strategies for successful mentorship of undergraduate researchers. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5090
Does your spring break overlap with your kids’ spring break? If you’re like me, the answer is usually “no.” Which is annoying and a pain in the butt.
Since the news broke about the college admissions bribery sting by the FBI, I’ve had a lot of thoughts. And so has everybody else, it seems. (If you have not looked at media in the last 1.5 days, here’s the LA Times page that collects the many articles they’ve already assembled about it.)
This story is a singularity of problems in higher education in the United States, a convergence of drama into a single high-gravity point.
In the midst of the rush to drop the GRE, I think it helps if we spell out exactly why the GRE is considered to be a problem.
Have you ever gotten student evaluations back after the semester is over, and had some surprises? Some of these surprises are avoidable.
If you’ve known me for a good long while, then you would know I’m not a morning person.
It is stunning to learn that so many people think that we are paid to be sources for journalists. [update: I misread this. The piece reports that a majority of people think that sources pay journalists to be included in their stories. Which is perhaps even more outrageous?]
The entire point of this post is in the title. This idea crossed my path yesterday, and I’d like to share it as widely as possible:
Let’s talk about “fit.” They say you get a faculty job offer because of “fit.” What does “fit” mean? In what ways do job candidates need to fit? How does “fit” work?
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.
I just read this piece in Science yesterday and I was floored.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.