Academia

Category archives for Academia

Against “Gen Eds”

Matt Reed, who will forever be “Dean Dad” to me, has a post on “new” topics that might be considered for “gen ed” requirements, that is, the core courses that all students are required to take. This spins off a question Rebecca Townsend asked (no link in original), “Should public speaking be a general education…

On Irony and Ivory Towers

The outrage of the moment in academic circles is this Nick Kristof column on how academics need to be more engaged with a broader public. And it’s really impressive how he manages to take an idea that I basically agree with– I regularly give talks on the need for scientists to do more outreach via…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 4

I didn’t advertise it heavily this time, but Rhett and I did another G+ hangout yesterday, and the video is online now: We talked for a while about the wonders and importance of VPython coding (including some “Oh, I should totally do that…” moments), where we get post ideas (including a discussion of luge physics),…

Work. Finish. Publish.

A couple of days ago, John Scalzi posted a writing advice open thread, asking people to share the best advice they’d gotten on the craft of writing. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, much of it fairly specific to fiction writing– stuff about plotting, the use of synonyms for “said,” how to keep…

Uncertain Dots: Episode 3

This week’s hangout with Rhett Allain, in which we talk about how we got into physics, how we find stuff to read, what we enjoyed on physics blogs this week, what we do and don’t like about Twitter, and the revenge of the Sith. The specific blog posts we mentioned: Frank Noschese’s analysis of gravity…

The Evergreen Topic of Grade Inflation

There was a flurry of re-shares last week for this article about Yale shutting down a site that aggregated student course evaluations, which is fine as far as it goes, but repeats a stat that really bugs me: About 43 percent of college letter grades in 2011 were A’s, up from 31 percent in 1988…

Kameron Hurley did a blog post on what it took her to become a writer, which I ran across via Harry Connolly’s follow-up. These are fairly long, but well worth reading for insight into what it means to be a writer– and they’re both very good at what they do. You should buy their books,…

Small College, Exotic Particles

Topping the looooong list of things I would give a full ResearchBlogging write-up if I had time is this new paper on a ultra-cold atom realization of “Dirac Monopoles”. This is really cool stuff, but there are a lot of intricacies that I don’t fully understand, so writing it up isn’t a simple matter. The…

Uncertain Dots, Academic Blogs

Last week, a comment I made on Twitter about the annoyance of doing merit evaluation paperwork led to some back-and-forth with Rhett Allain and the National Society of Black Physicists Twitter account about whether blogs can or should count toward academic evaluation. This seemed like a good topic for another video hangout with me and…

On the bright side, I’m unlikely to read anything more stupid and insulting today than this Inside Higher Ed article arguing that it would be wrong to shrink graduate programs in English, because the higher education market is Special: When you shrink graduate student enrollments (the supply side), you inevitably also shrink the size of…