Academia

Category archives for Academia

On Corrective Incentives

SteelyKid’s kindergarten teacher is big on incentives and prizes– there are a number of reward bags that get sent home with kids who excel in some particular area. I’m not entirely sure what’s in these, because SteelyKid hasn’t gotten any yet. This isn’t because she misbehaves– from all reports, she’s very good– but she’s in…

On Public Speaking Across Disciplines

We had a faculty meeting yesterday, at which one colleague suggested that in addition to our “Writing Across the Curriculum” requirement, we should have a “Speaking Across the Curriculum” requirement to teach students oral presentation skills. This provoked a bit of tittering about the possible acronym, but it’s not an obviously awful idea. The basic…

Nobel Prize Betting Pool 2013

Another year, another fall, another disbursement of dynamite money from our friends in Scandawegia. The 2013 Nobel Prize announcements are almost upon us. Which means it’s time for the game everyone loves to tolerate: the Uncertain Principles Nobel Prize Betting Pool. As always, the core rules are simple: Leave a comment to this post predicting…

On Class and Skills and Education

In a comment to yesterday’s post about the liberal arts, Eric Lund makes a good point: The best argument I have ever heard for doing scholarship in literature and other such fields is that some people find it fun. I single this out as a good point not because I want to sneer at the…

Sunday evening, as a part of the kick-off to the new academic year, we had a talk by Andrew Delbanco, a professor at Columbia and the author of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. This was intended as a sort of affirmation of the importance of the sort of educational experience Union offers,…

Gender Gap Update

The JCC day care is closed today for one of the fall cluster of Jewish holidays, which means I’m spending the morning with The Pip before Kate comes home to take the afternoon shift so I can teach my class. Thus, this is more of a tab clearance sort of exercise than a thoughtful examination…

PowerPoint Is a Tool

Over at NPR, Adam Frank has an ode to the use of chalk for teaching science, including a bit of warm fuzzy nostalgia: I have powerful memories of tracking through derivations presented in class when I was a student. When done well, they pinned my attention down. The act of copying what was appearing on…

Fantasy Physics Season Preview

While I was away for the weekend, intending to mostly ignore the Internet, Steve Maier tweeted: #FantasyFootball ? What if #FantasyPhysics existed–who would be your picks? This, of course, ended up sucking up a huge amount of mental energy for the rest of the weekend, because it’s such perfect blog fodder. If I’d had a…

Education Is Chaotic

While I’m quoting other people saying smart things, Timothy Burke has another great post on the failures of economic models of higher education There is a lot of information that you could acquire about courses or about colleges that you could reasonably use to assemble a decision matrix. What size is the class or the…

The stupid Steven Pinker business from a few weeks ago turned out to do one good thing after all. It led to this post at Making Science Public, which quoted some books by Jacob Bronowski that sounded relevant to my interests. And, indeed, on checking The Common Sense of Science out of the college library,…