Hitman 2’s new game lets you quit being an assassin and become an ornithologist: “Here’s how it works: After using your trusty piano wire to kill an ornithologist and swap into his cargo shorts and binoculars, all you have to do is press X to toss aside your silenced pistol, point out the nest of a plum-throated cotinga to your research assistant, and embark on a full-fledged research career in the King’s College Avian Biology Department.”
Color me surprised. A new study claims that in laboratory-oriented fields, mentoring from postdocs is impactful for PhD students, but not for mentoring from the PI. And that PI tend to ignore established best practices for mentoring, and just go from the hip based on their own prior personal experiences. (As a disclaimer, I haven’t actually read this article, by the way, just saying what the abstract and folks have been saying. Since it’s in a fancy journal, be primed to expect big claims that may or may not be appropriately generalized from the actual findings.)
Working from affirmation, not for affirmation. Continue reading
You may or may not have heard of this weekend’s debacle from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (They promoted a paper using images of women appearing to have an orgasm. Though the paper was an ovulation experiment in rabbits. Do they have any women involved in the social media process over there? Yikes.) I hold the new EIC in high regard, and I imagine she’ll get to the bottom of this. But it reminds me of a thing I’ve been meaning to address here for a while.
I suspect a lot of us are teaching animal behavior and behavioral ecology very badly, whenever it comes to our own species. Continue reading
I find this weird, but apparently, some journals in some academic fields don’t allow grad students or postdocs to serve as peer reviewers. I do get the idea that professional experience and expertise should be required to conduct a peer review. They’re called “peer” reviews for a reason.
Then, the question is: are early career scientists our peers? Continue reading
You’ve probably seen clips. But please watch the whole speech, it’s less than five minutes.
Thanks. Here are some unordered thoughts (some that I’ve adopted from others). Continue reading
Well, of course, major research institutions (R1s) expect more research to come out of their labs than primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs). But, after you take into account the circumstances of each kind of position, who experiences a higher relative demand for research productivity? At which kind of institution is it harder to meet the scholarship criteria for tenure?
Well, let’s compare various factors related to research productivity at these kinds of institutions*.
Authorship is weird. As an instrument to attribute of credit, it’s far too coarse whenever the number of authors is greater than one.
Authorship is a slippery concept, because you can’t really define what constitutes a substantial contribution, in a way that can apply generally. Continue reading
What is a good and equitable way to get more undergraduates to attend departmental seminars? Continue reading
I feel a dilemma — or rather, a tradeoff — when I think about investing time, money, and effort into supporting undergraduates to gain admission to graduate programs.
On one hand, we all know that the system is rigged, such that students who come from whiter and wealthier backgrounds have a huge leg up. Continue reading
A few years ago, I started running. I like running. It’s a good time to think, or to not think. After a run and a shower, I’m more energized. Continue reading
This is the announcement of EEB Mentor Match for 2019!
We are pairing up students applying for graduate school and graduate fellowships with more experienced academics who have been through the process. If you’re an undergraduate or recent graduate who feels that you could benefit from more support, this is for you! Continue reading
An open letter about sexual harassment and retaliation at UC Irvine.
Among the many layers of horrible events In These United States, the dismantling of the USDA, via translocating the agency to Kansas City (though where in Kansas City, they have no idea), is not getting much attention. Here’s a recent update on this from the Washington Post.
A big meta analysis is showing that, as the ocean warms, fisheries decline. Every degree celsius corresponds to a 5% loss in biomass. Continue reading
Science moves faster than curriculum. This means we are leaving some of our students behind. Continue reading
Let’s say you’re a grad student heading off to the annual 5-day conference in your field. You’re giving a poster, you are scheduled to have coffee with a person whose work you admire, you’ll be seeing a some old friends, and you’re there to learn about the newest work in your field.
Then, you get contacted by the people who run the conference. They’re wondering if you want to work — during the conference — at a rate of $14 per hour. Continue reading
I admit it’s hard to keep track of the many avenues of malfeasance from the federal government, and a variety of state governments. But if you’re in higher education, I think it behooves us all to look at what’s happening in Alaska. Continue reading
Have you heard of the newly published misogynist paper in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine? Here’s the start of the abstract:
It is unknown whether female physicians can perform equivalently to male physicians with respect to emergency procedures. Endotracheal intubation is one of the most critical procedures performed in the emergency department (ED). We hypothesized that female physicians are not inferior to male physicians in first-pass success rate for this endotracheal intubation.
There has been much outrage. But hold on. This might not be what it might look like.
Some while ago, a colleague mentioned how his job as a professor was a “triple position.” Teaching well is a full time job. Doing research well is a full time job. And the service that we do, if done well, can or should be a full time job. We professors have three jobs rolled into one salary (and a 9-month one at that)!
This has been a lot of food for thought. I’ve come to realize that for nearly everything I do for the university on part-time basis, there are people who do that work on a full-time basis with a higher degree of specialization. Continue reading
Remember when I was saying that junior scientists of color are more likely to get ignored when they send their CVs to PIs they want to work with? A couple weeks ago, a paper came out with some substantial data validating concerns about this problem. Continue reading
Even you might not think of your college students as adults, it would help if you treated them as if they were. Continue reading
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite animals, Aphaenogaster araneoides, and a major league screwup of mine:
image: Benoit Guenard
A wave of graduate programs drops the GRE application requirement, with biology programs leading the way.
Can you really do humanities research with undergraduates?
Taiwan considers going double blind for grant review
“If you’ve ever been at a wedding or conference or on board a United connection from O’Hare, and been cornered by a man with Theories About It All, and you came away thinking, ‘That was a great experience,’ have I got the book for you.” So begins what I think is a generally Important Review of the most recent Jared Diamond book. It’s important, for the broader academic community, because it puts stark light on the absence of fact checking of popular academic nonfiction. It’s also an entertaining review to read, unless you’re uncomfortable with scrutiny of the more specious ideas forwarded by Jared Diamond. Continue reading
Summer is go-time for research, particularly in undergraduate institutions. But yet, when I walk across the desolate campus in summer, I inevitably get from the first person I see, “What are you doing here?” If classes aren’t in session, most folks campus can’t imagine why we’d stick around. Continue reading
For a lot of academic scientists, the currency of research is productivity. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
You are sending students to a conference. What’s the best way to pay for it? Continue reading