Diversity creates stability and resilience

Standard

Many inspirational people in my life are already charging ahead to meet our shared challenges.  If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, let me point you to some early wisdom that’s emerged immediately on the morning after the election: Josh Drew explained how  he’s approaching teaching the day after the election. Meg Duffy explains how she says “Yes” to…

We need to stop putting diversity in a box at conferences

Standard

At the moment, I’m having an absolutely great time at the Ecological Society of America meeting. I’m learning new science, meeting old friends and a variety of folks who read this site, and formulating plans for my sabbatical that recently started. This wonderful time has been punctuated with moments of my own frustration and annoyance. Why?…

Ant foraging diversity: a simple and elegant explanation

Standard

Science can be creative and elegant. To illustrate this fact, I want to bring to your attention a groundbreaking review paper that was recently published in Myrmecological News, written by Michele Lanan of the University of Arizona. Usually the terms “groundbreaking” and “review paper” aren’t paired with one another. Review papers usually codify existing ideas, propose some new…

Can we talk about Field Camp?

Standard

A few years ago, I was spending time with some geologists and they were telling me about Field Camp. That it’s a standard requirement of most Geoscience programs, but also that it’s highly problematic. I just googled a bit, here’s what I learned. According to UW Milwaukee, “Field camp is a tradition in the education…

NSF needs more non-R1 GRFP reviewers, please sign up!

Standard

I have a little something to admit. I just registered as a potential reviewer for the NSF GRFP for the first time. (That’s the Graduate Research Fellowship program, for the noobs). I’ve been on here for years talking about the program: how it works, how the outcomes are inequitable, how we can do our part…

Recommended reads #192

Standard

Ten simple rules for productive lab meetings “I Signed Up to Write College Essays for Rich Kids. I Found Cheating Is More Complicated Than I Thought.” What The ‘Return To The Office’ Fight Is Really About – I thought this was a fascinating explanation about how people want to use the office environment as a…

Recommended reads #191

Standard

Whew! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these for you. So I’ve got some great stuff lined up. A Call to Re-examine How Student Success Is Defined in Higher Education The B Lane Swimmer Two ways to fairly grade class participation Out in this desert

Recommended reads #187

Standard

The last time I did one of these posts was early January?? Wow. That says something (not so uplifting) about how things are going for me. But that’s not to say I haven’t made a note of some primo reads! So let’s get to it. Peer mentorship and bottom-up advocacy How common is belief in…

Adjusting scholarship expectations after the pandemic ends

Standard

For most of us, academic productivity has taken a huge hit over the past year. And that’s fine. If you’re working from home full time while raising young children doing remote schooling, I can’t imagine how you have done anything above the bare minimum. For the rest of us, it’s entirely reasonable to have not…

Lessons I’ve learned from goin’ admin

Standard

When I created this site, I was feeling some Associate Professor doldrums. The intervening eight years have brought a lot of professional growth, and I’m very much a different person than I was back then. I had been tenured for a few years, after 10 years on the tenure track, and I wasn’t quite sure…

Science Has an Intellectual Elitism Problem

Standard

This is a guest post by Joshua M.A. Stough. Over the last few weeks, science twitter has been…let’s say “discussing”, the place of religious faith and spiritualism in the scientific community and society in general. The source of the argument is a simple, but often aggressive assertion that religion is antithetical to science, presented as…

Recommended reads #182

Standard

Seven principles for good practice in midterm student feedback Teaching and learning in ecology: a horizon scan of emerging challenges and solutions The data are in about promotions and professional advancement for women and men since the start of the pandemic, and it’s so, so bad. Not a surprise at all, but still a complete…

Recommended reads #180

Standard

A detailed account of how Eunice Foote conceived the role of atmospheric gases in climate warming in 1856, and how she designed and conducted her experiments. It’s pretty cool. Is lecturing racist? What is the effect of Article Processing Charges on the geographic diversity of authors? Are paywalled journals more accessible to publish in for…

Recommended reads #178

Standard

A landmark paper about gender inequities in academic advancement and funding by Rissler et al. just came out in Bioscience. I bet it’s going to become a classic. In this paper, the pool of potential applicants for NSF funding is estimated, and the rates of application and funding are evaluated. The tweet features Figure 1,…

What’s up with the new NSF GRFP priority areas?

Standard

The new solicitation for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program arrived last night with NSF’s daily digest bulletin. There were eight items they brought to our attention as changes from last year, but when I was going through it late this morning, the soundtrack screeched to a halt: 4. Although NSF will continue to fund…

Recommended reads #177

Standard

Rich Lenski’s excellent guide: “How to write a response to reviewers in ten easy steps.” (As an author this is what I do, too. As an editor, this is what I like to see because it minimizes my effort searching through manuscripts for information, and allows me to focus on the science.) More results on…

Recommended reads #175

Standard

‘Keep the volume low’: Being black on campus “The world has never been fundamentally fair and decent for most people in most places, and yet they manage to build lives full of meaning and suffering and joy.” I shared this not long ago, but it seems that not everybody is yet aware of or talking…

How is your classroom management?

Standard

It was far too late in my career when I was first exposed to a phrase that is well among teachers: “classroom management.” This is foundational for effective teaching. Yet, it was terminology and practice that I had not been exposed to in my first seven years as a professor.

Hanging newly graduated students out to dry

Standard

My head spins when I see science opportunities designed to increase the diversity of applicants to graduate STEM programs, they are designed to exclude students who just graduated. I think this filters out a lot of the target population. Low-income students receive less support as undergraduates, so it’s harder for them to make the transition…

Recommended reads #163

Standard

It’s been a whole month since the last one of these? How about I prune this down to the gems, how about that? You want to write for the public, but about what? This is a short and very sweet guide to being an academic in public. It does a great job of explaining how…

Help us to diversify and humanize biology courses!

Standard

a guest post by Project Biodiversify (www.projectbiodiversify.org @biodiversifying) We contain multitudes. Our courses should reflect this. We contain multitudes. Like an ecological niche, a person’s identity is composed of infinite dimensions that make up a person or group’s collective identity space (Figure 1). However, in science – a discipline that has historically valued objective and…

Recommended reads #162

Standard

Would your cat eat your dead body? Now there’s peer-reviewed science to answer this question. An exceptional obituary for William Ebeltoft Vanillanomics [highlighted read] The science of effective mentorship in STEMM – including how to develop individual development plans for mentees.