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. Continue reading
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.
If there was such a thing as a Blog Citation Classic™ list for this site, then discussions about equitable distributions of NSF graduate fellowships would definitely be on there.
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. Continue reading
How do you explain what research is?
My go-to metaphor has been a jigsaw puzzle. Continue reading
I had a great time in grad school. I absolutely loved it. But I’m quick(er than some) to recognize that my experience can’t be generalized. If you listen to enough grad students, you’ll hear far too many hair-raising stories about abuses of power. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Have you ever gotten student evaluations back after the semester is over, and had some surprises? Some of these surprises are avoidable. Continue reading
If you’ve known me for a good long while, then you would know I’m not a morning person. Continue reading
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?]
How getting 8 hours of sleep gave me the energy to overcommit again Continue reading
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? Continue reading
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