In scientific conferences, the talks are often the least constructive part of the meeting. That’s my experience and opinion, at least. This is ironic, because at least in theory, the talks are the raison d’être of a conference.
When people fly in from great distances to be together, should we really be spending most of the day in dark rooms listening to canned talks from our colleagues? Should we be spending our time on things that we could just as easily do in a webinar? Continue reading
(image by frankieleon)
This is reminder of the obvious, but perhaps one some of you could use: Be sure to save your files in a format, and on a medium, that you can read in the future.
Let me tell you a little story about an email that I got this week. Continue reading
I think most reviews are good and fair. Regardless, when I get an unwelcome decision back from an editor, it’s annoying. Getting annoyed is natural. Here’s how I process bad reviews. Continue reading
As we train the next generation of STEM professionals, we use a filter that selects against marginalized folks, on account of their ethnicity, income, gender, and other aspects of identity. This, I hope you realize, is an ethical and pragmatic problem, and constrains a national imperative to maintain competitiveness in STEM.
When we are working for equity, this usually involves working to remediate perceived deficiencies relative to the template of a well-prepared student — filling in gaps that naturally co-occur with the well-established inequalities that are not going away anytime soon. These efforts at mitigation are bound to come up short, as long as they’re based on our current Deficit Model of STEM Recruitment. Continue reading
I recently had an exchange with a colleague, who had just written a review at my request. They hadn’t written many reviews before, and asked me something like, “Was this a good review?” I said it was a great review, and explained what was great about it. Then they suggested, “You should write a post about how to write a good review.”
So, ta da. Continue reading
My academic societies support the March for Science. So do I.
I’m familiar with the arguments for and against the March, from major newspapers and social media. If you’re not familiar, don’t worry, I won’t rehash them for you.
I think it’s possible for some people to have an ethical position to oppose something, and for others to have an ethical position to support the same thing. Nobody’s got a monopoly on being right. Continue reading
I’ve been getting more requests for advice about setting up a blog — usually to elevate awareness about one or two particular issues. Now that I’m more than four years into this game, I’ll no longer call myself a neophyte. Regardless, I have no shortage of opinions, some of which might even be useful. Continue reading
As scientists, we live for those lightbulb moments. I imagine we’re more likely to have these moments if we know more natural history, which lets us piece together fundamental facts about our natural world in a new way. Continue reading
The times have changed, and our curriculum is not keeping up.
In the various majors offered by our Department of Biology, I’m convinced we’re not providing our students the most useful set of quantitative skills. After browsing the catalogs of a variety of other universities, I think we’re not alone. Continue reading
One hundred baby! Woo hoo!
Why is it when we talk about science outreach and science education/communication, it’s always focused on kids? The adults are also where it’s at.
This short piece about how and why scientists use social media fits just perfectly in with my perspectives and experiences. Continue reading
The liberal arts are important, people say. I agree. Some of us scientists will point out that science is a part of the liberal arts. Okay, sure. But what do people mean when they say “the liberal arts?” Continue reading
My department just did something really cool, and I’d like to tell you about it*.
On a Saturday, my department, along with our campus Center for Innovation in STEM Education, held a family research day. Continue reading
A couple months ago, a discovery was in the news: A “new human organ.” Oddly enough, I was already familiar with it, just a little bit.
In grad school, I taught a couple human anatomy lab sections. It was pretty much a disaster for me, Continue reading
pun by by @phishdoc, illlustration by @verdanteleanor.
It’s been hard to wait a whole year, I know! Taxonomist Appreciation Day is coming up, on 19 March!
I imagine museums, science departments, and libraries will have costume shows, trivia, art competitions, and potluck taxonomic salad festivals. Meanwhile, the talented scientific artists of BuzzHootRoar are running their annual taxonomy pun contest!
Here are their instructions: Continue reading
Many research strategies, developed inside large research institutions, don’t work well in small teaching-centered institutions.
One of these strategies, I suggest, is the use of a biological model system. Continue reading
Five practical ways you can help a first generation student succeed. If you’ve ever thought positively about anything I’ve written or shared on this topic, I bet you’ll really appreciate this piece by Abigail Dan. I bow to its wisdom and excellence.
Obsessed with smartness, by James Lang. I love this almost as much as the preceding piece.
Advice for my conservative students
Why facts don’t change our minds, by the inestimable Elizabeth Kolbert. Continue reading