Mr. Quinn was my favorite high school math teacher. He was quintessentially nerdy cool. He would roller-skate to school, he had a calculator case on his belt, and he knew how to use a slide rule. I also thought he was brilliant. We all did. He seemed to know everything there was to know about math and could answer almost any question we asked. In part that was because he had heard them all before, but we didn’t know that. He taught my freshman geometry class, my junior pre-calculus class, and was the advisor (head coach?) for the math team.
At the end of their second year of graduate school, many PhD students take comprehensive exams. These tests make sure that everyone has adequately mastered the discipline’s canon and is ready to embark on their dissertation. Law students, architecture students, accounting students, and medical students also take comprehensive exams before they are allowed to practice their crafts. I believe there would be big benefits to many undergraduates taking similar exams before getting their bachelor’s degrees.
For the past three years, Bo Hopkins has taught two of the most engaging and creative classes offered at Yale. In the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, he taught “Social Enterprise in Developing Economies,” and in Engineering and Applied Science he is co-teaching (with Joe Zinter) “Appropriate Technology for the Developing World.” Bo talks with us about these two classes and how his teaching is informed by his real-world experience with direct equity investments.
Every spring admitted students flood Yale’s campus for Bulldog Days: A three day event where they check out the scene and figure out if Yale is a good fit for them. One of the key components is attending real Yale classes with current Yale students. Scott Strobel, deputy provost for teaching and learning, has always been a little jealous of these incoming students, and one of his first initiatives as deputy provost has been to create Faculty Bulldog Days, a week when faculty open their classrooms up to their colleagues.
The world you live in is your own invention. You can wake up in the morning and hate the cold, and worry you won’t get your work done. Or you can choose to revel in the world’s possibilities. Seize the day! Don’t get bogged down striving for wealth, fame, or power! Spend your time making people smile!
In this episode we talk with Jenny Frederick, the Executive Director of Yale’s Center for Teaching and Learning. She tells us about her own formative experiences in the classroom, and how the new center brings together several existing organizations on campus to help students, train beginning teachers, and support established faculty.
[McKee was] rambling and nervous in class. Unclear and rushed when teaching math.
As I’m sure is true at most colleges and universities, the faculty at Yale are fiercely independent. Many of them chose their careers specifically so that they could have complete intellectual freedom and maximum control over what they do. Departments have to be very careful when they poke around in a professor’s classroom, but the fact is that every once in a while, things can go very wrong. Usually departments hear whispers from students during the semester but wait until the end to see the vitriol in the student evaluations. It doesn’t have to be this way.