Alan Alda on teaching science

Alan Alda is an award-winning actor known for his roles on the hit television shows M.A.S.H. and The West Wing. However, Alda is now more passionate about improving teaching science. He has spoken across the nation and world about his work at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. I recently attended a lecture by Alda and want to share my insights from his talk in today’s post.

Alan Alda on teaching science

I’ve always loved Alan Alda. He is such a classic actor to me. He seems to really embody the character.

Given a personal health crisis and his own experience as a T.V. doctor, Alda has begun to use his celebrity to support the cause of communicating science better.

While much of his work is talking about communicating with a broader public, there are some specific lessons for anyone involved in college teaching— in the sciences and beyond.

Happy 3rd Birthday Higher Ed Professor

When I began this blog, I had no idea that it still be going three years later. Yet, today is the 3rd anniversary of Higher Ed Professor going live. During these years, I’ve attempted to share content to help inform faculty and administrators and offer my take on the current higher education environment. I have tremendously enjoyed the process and getting to know so many readers.

Photo credit: Roberto Cancho Toca

Top 10 Posts from Higher Ed Professor’s Third Year

We are celebrating our third birthday! As is our tradition, I want to share the top posts from this past year. I always love seeing the posts that people find the most interesting and connect with readers. For our new readers, I hope you will enjoy seeing some of these posts for the first time. If you’ve been with us from the beginning, did you favorite post make the grade?

  1.  What is the typical teaching load for university faculty?
  2. The five advantages of teaching with discussions
  3. Four qualities of a great research assistant
  4. The strengths and weaknesses of lecturing
  5. Are millennials the dumbest generation?
  6. Studying at the Library of Congress Main Reading Room
  7. What is tuition discounting and why do colleges do it?
  8. The changing curriculum:  Yale Report of 1828
  9. Are college students more brilliant?  The grade inflation debate
  10. Higher education’s endangered values

Ten Years Since the Shooting at Virginia Tech

April 16, 2007 is one of those dates of national tragedy that seem to mark a point in time where we can say things will never be the same again. It has been ten years since that horrific day when a mentally troubled student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 and wounded 17 more. In today’s post, I want to remember the events of April 16th and reflect on where we’ve come in higher education since that time.

Ten Years Since the Shooting at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Memorial – Photo Credit: Alan Levine

There was Columbine before and Sandy Hook after (and countless other tragedies throughout), but the shooting at Virginia Tech was an event that shocked the nation generally and higher education specifically.

I suspect all of us that were teaching during that time wondered what we would do if that had happened to one of our classes.

There was anger, frustration, and above all, sadness.

My favorite tools

I often have friends and colleagues ask me about my take on various tools and programs that I use.  Each of these are for Mac as I work completely on that platform.  I frequently consider adding or changing tools and this list is kept up-to-date (at the top of the page) with my current favorites.