Tag Archives: teaching

Why struggle for the attention of your students?

Is half the class on their computers or phones? Are they sleeping? Is your Facebook page full of advice or queries about how to hold the attention of your students? Do you have strict rules about phones and computers? Do … Continue reading

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Metaphors for mentoring: lids and rims

Is a mentor like training wheels on a bicycle? Do the brave not need them, staying up with a gentle shove and a good sense of balance? Is a mentor like staking a sapling until its roots can support it? … Continue reading

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Will anyone remember your meeting talk?

What if you gave a talk and everyone came, but no one remembered it even as they left the room? What if they did not remember what the main problem was, how you approached it, or what you discovered? What … Continue reading

Posted in Presentations and seminars, Scientific meetings, Seminars | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attributes that make getting tenure easy: curiosity, effectiveness, and conscientiousness.

  Curiosity may be the most important characteristic of a successful academic. It is something that motivates us a lot in our earliest days, but sadly, many get over it. Nurture your curiosity for a successful academic career in both … Continue reading

Posted in Managing an academic career, New assistant professor, Organization of a scientist, Tenure | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teaching graduate students to write, Memphis style

Isn’t it a shame that some people think writing is a born talent, not a learned trade? We writers know that is not true, so we all have our methods for helping others also become writers. There is a lot … Continue reading

Posted in The joy of teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Massive Open Online Courses

Isn’t it delightful when someone does something good for everyone? That is how I feel about MOOCs, massive, open, online classes. This allows teachers to polish and perfect lectures, to use other people’s lectures, and to keep the class time … Continue reading

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What not to do on your first day of class

Are you about to teach your first class of the semester? Is your syllabus ready? Have you picked just the right texts, balancing content with cost? Are you a few PowerPoints ahead? Have you thought about how this semester you … Continue reading

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What is behavioral ecology and why should I take this course?

Answers to this main question comes in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), a powerful way of communicating and something I’ve covered before here. What is behavioral ecology? It is the study of why organisms behave as they do … Continue reading

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A secret solution to the challenge of finding a work-life balance

Wash U has appointed me to their work-life balance committee. It makes me a little nervous, because I’m not sure what I think about this. In my group I want the people with passion for research and for new ideas. … Continue reading

Posted in Managing an academic career | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

What is your legacy going to be?

A recent New Yorker article on Barack Obama by Ryan Lizza focused on his legacy. I wondered how his legacy will go past the first-term glory of health care reform. Then I wondered how often we academics think about our … Continue reading

Posted in Managing an academic career | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments