Tag Archives: Education

Science is problem solving: two crucial first steps

I have an extremely intelligent friend with a Ph.D. in something really fancy who raised his kids with a great deal of freedom. I’m sure he did this for a number of reasons, but one that he articulated early on … Continue reading

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A rant on letters of recommendation that include passwords and check boxes

This is the time of year we write letters of recommendation. If you have a lot of students, you may be writing a lot of letters. Each student will need several letters. We generally use the same letter for different … Continue reading

Posted in Graduate school, Teaching, Undergraduates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tips for job applicants: why we don’t agree on the top candidates

Here are the steps we take in choosing whom to interview, in case you are just tuning in. First, each person on the search committee read about a third of the applicants. Two people read each applicant. Then each reader … Continue reading

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How to change an organization, a department, a curriculum

Whatever field you are in, there will be organizations with structure and rules. In academics, departments have committees, undergraduates have a required curriculum, graduate students have their courses, exams, and theses. Sometimes these structures are very well known and standard … Continue reading

Posted in Department politics, Life in a biology department, Politics, Undergraduates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The trouble with grading rubrics

Most of the advice I read about grading points to the importance of rubrics. Blackboard even lets me put a rubric up on the site. Why is this? What is a rubric? What is the trouble with rubrics? Well, according … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, The joy of teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Undergrads, sign up to present your research now!

The sooner you get used to presenting your work, the better. It is so important to be able to talk about your work outside your research group. Why did you do this? Why is it important? Just because your adviser … Continue reading

Posted in Posters, Presentations and seminars, Undergraduates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it fair some students get extra time on tests?

If you are teaching in a class with tests, quizzes, or exams this semester in the USA, then you have told your class, probably on the syllabus, that you will follow the law and give students with documented issues over … Continue reading

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Meaningful undergraduate research

Undergrads brighten up the lab with their happy enthusiasm and growing discovery of the joy of research. Our job is to guide them in   meaningful projects where they discover something new by engaging in the full process of research. I … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, The joy of teaching, Undergraduates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Build curiosity first, then answer questions

  First day of class and I meet these wonderful new students, all 54 of them, more actually if you count the hopefuls. If I can’t make behavior seem interesting and wonderful, I have no business teaching. I have a … Continue reading

Posted in behavioral ecology, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you don’t lecture, what do you do in class on the first day?

In a couple of hours my students will be forming their indelible first impressions of me and my wonderful teaching assistants. Studies show that their opinion after the first 10 minutes correla tes highly with their opinion at the end … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments