Tag Archive: Academics

  1. As nation watches election, Math 120 students take test

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    Across campus tonight, students are jittering with anxiety — most waiting anxiously to hear who takes the White House, but some frantically thinking about math.

    Roughly 185 Math 120 students filed into Davies Auditorium two hours ago to take the second of the course’s two midterm exams. While the nation tunes into coverage of the election, these students will have to turn their attention to integrals and vector fields.

    “I was going to watch the results live,” Math 120 student Stephen Hemenway ’16 said. “I guess now I’ll just take the math test and check out what’s going on in the polls when the test is over.”

    Of 10 students interviewed, none have voiced complaints about the time conflict, and the math department has elected to hold the midterm at the originally scheduled time. Students, professors and administrators interviewed all said that the midterm should not prevent students from voting.

    Fingers crossed all around.

  2. Applications for McChrystal seminar open

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    Applications for “Leadership,” the seminar taught by retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal have been released.

    The Jackson Institute for Global Affairs emailed student in its graduate and undergraduate global affairs concentrations this morning with details about the seminar and a link to the online application.

    McChrystal, who served as the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, came to Yale in 2010 as a senior fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. This will be the third year he is offering the course, which garnered over 250 applications for 20 spots last year. Though the course is a graduate-level seminar, some slots will be reserved for undergraduates.

    According to the email, sent by the Jackson Institute’s registrar Alice Kustenbauder, the course will examine the execution leadership in today’s world, using historical and contemporary case studies to identify trends in fields including politics, business, education and warfare. Students in the seminar will also consider factors such as risk assessment, the military and the role of the modern media.

    McChrystal served in the military for 34 years until he was relieved of his position after making disparaging remarks about top White House officials in Rolling Stone Magazine.

    Applications are due Nov. 26 and students will be notified of acceptance by early January.

  3. Graduate School unveils new concentration

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    With the help of a $1.95 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Graduate School will offer a new concentration for PhD students entitled “Technologies of Knowledge” next spring.

    Part of the grant’s broader aim to enhance humanities education at Yale, the new concentration will provide 12 third-year doctoral students with an additional year of funding to pursue interdisciplinary research. The students will also take Technologies of Knowledge, a two-semester seminar taught by classics professor Emily Greenwood, film and humanities professor Francesco Casetti and philosophy and psychology professor Tamar Gendler.

    “The goal of the Concentration is to enable students to pursue new knowledge at the edges and intersections of traditional disciplines and to learn how to make use of new media for scholarly expression, thereby expanding their intellectual reach as scholars and teachers in the humanities and humanistic social sciences,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Graduate School Dean Thomas Pollard said in an official announcement to the Graduate School Tuesday.

    In addition to the graduate concentration, the grant also funds 10 faculty workshops for examining strategies to enhance humanities education for undergraduates. Miller said faculty from across the humanities and social sciences are using these workshops to analyze teaching tactics and consider techniques to integrate undergraduate courses into multiple disciplines.

    Applications for Technologies of Knowledge will open this semester, and the first class in the Mellon concentration will begin study this spring.

  4. Urry discusses gender biases in sciences

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    In an opinion piece published by CNN on Monday, Physics Department Chair Meg Urry argued that the discrepancy in the number of female faculty members in the sciences can be largely traced back to unconscious biases.

    Urry cited evidence from social research that shows how women in STEM fields — which represents science, technology, engineering and mathematics — were considered “less capable” and “less worthy of hiring,” even though these women had identical credentials as their male counterparts.

    In addition, Urry referred to other studies that show how people unconsciously consider the gender of a name on a résumé when evaluating a person’s skills.

    “Objectivity is the core value of science,” Urry wrote. “But as the new study tells us, despite our best hopes, we scientists, like everyone else, expect men to be better scientists as women.”

    Unconscious gender biases are too deeply ingrained within our society, Urry said. Instead of pretending to ignore the issue, she proposed that people try to acknowledge their inner biases and do their best to avoid them. By doing so, Urry said, it may be possible for “bright young women to move forward in STEM careers as easily as the men do, making discoveries, improving our lives, changing our preconceptions and reducing our unconscious biases.”

    Urry also said gender biases can be found across a variety of work environments, including academia, law enforcement and medicine.

    Interested students can test their own social objectivity by taking an online questionnaire.

  5. Harvard prof guilty of data fabrication or manipulation

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    It looks like students might not be the only ones cheating at Harvard lately: former Harvard psychology professor Marc Hauser is guilty of six cases of data fabrication or manipulation in work supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to a report by the federal Office of Research Integrity, the Boston Globe reported this week.

    The report found skewed data in some of Hauser’s language and cognition studies involving monkeys. One of Hauser’s papers has been retracted and two have been revised, while the rest of the fabrications were found in unpublished writings.

    Hauser resigned from Harvard in 2011, after the University closed a three-year investigation into Hauser’s suspected research misconduct. Harvard investigators had found him “solely responsible” for eight cases of research misconduct and sent their findings to the Department of Health and Human Services, which launched a federal investigation.

    Hauser “neither admits nor denies committing research misconduct,” according to the report.

    “Although I have fundamental differences with some of the findings, I acknowledge that I made mistakes,” Hauser said in a statement. “I let important details get away from my control, and as head of the lab, I take responsibility for all errors made within the lab, whether or not I was directly involved.”

  6. Harvard students caught up in cheating scandal

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    Harvard’s Administrative Board is investigating 125 undergraduates for cheating on a take-home final exam.

    In what Boston.com calls “the largest cheating scandal in recent memory to hit the Ivy League,” nearly half of the students in the lecture “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress” are accused of collaborating by email or other methods on short-answer questions and an essay for the final exam. The final was open-book and open-note but not intended to be discussed with others.

    After a teaching fellow grading the final in May noticed similarities between several students’ exams, the Ad Board spent the summer reviewing each exam (there were nearly 300) and interviewing certain students. Students whose tests seemed unusually similar to each other’s have now been contacted, and they will go before the Ad Board individually in the next couple of weeks. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty could face a yearlong suspension.

    Jay Harris, Dean of Undergraduate Education at Harvard, told the Harvard Crimson that the number of students involved in cheating was “unprecedented in anyone’s living memory,” and that the college decided to announce the investigation to start a larger conversation about academic integrity measures. According to Boston.com, the college will consider preventive measures, such as an academic honor code.

  7. Berry to chair Academic Review Committee

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    Economics professor Steven Berry will chair a committee this year responsible for reviewing the allocation of faculty positions across departments, Provost Peter Salovey announced in a Friday memo to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    Appointment of the Academic Review Committee follows a recommendation made in a spring report on faculty resources that an academic review, which last took place at the University between 1990 and 1992, be held roughly once a decade to help “keep Yale at the frontiers in the advance of knowledge.” The committee will consist of Yale College Dean Mary Miller, Graduate School Dean Thomas Pollard and 12 faculty members representing 15 departments in the FAS.

    Salovey said in the memo that the committee will consider a range of factors in recommending any potential changes to the structure of the FAS, including course enrollments, subfields within disciplines and the sizes of departments at peer universities.

    The Academic Review Committee’s work could continue past the end of the 2012-’13 academic year, Salovey said in a June memo to faculty.

    Membership of the Academic Review Committee:

    Steven Berry, James Burrows Moffatt Professor of Economics and Director of the Division of Social Sciences, Chair

    Julia Adams, Professor and Chair of Sociology

    Michael Donoghue, Sterling Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

    Jack Dovidio, Professor of Psychology

    Jonathan Ellman, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering

    Donald Engelman, Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Director of the Division of Biological Sciences

    Tamar Gendler, Professor and Chair of Philosophy

    Jonathan Holloway, Professor of History, African American Studies, and American Studies

    Lawrence Manley, William R. Kenan Professor of English and Director of the Division of the Humanities

    Mary Miller, Dean of Yale College and Sterling Professor of History of Art

    Tom Pollard, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

    Ramamurti Shankar, John Randolph Huffman Professor of Physics and Applied Physics

    Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies

    Jing Tsu, Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures

  8. Kissinger Fellow Crocker faces DUI, hit-and-run charges

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    Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who was named Yale’s first Kissinger Senior Fellow earlier this month, is facing drunk driving and hit-and-run charges in Washington state.

    On Aug. 14, Crocker hit a semi-truck in Spokane Valley, Wash., when he tried to make a right turn from the left lane, before registering a .160 and .152 blood-alcohol content in successive breath tests, authorities allege, according to the Associated Press. A day after the arrest, Yale announced that it had appointed Crocker to a position at the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy and would have the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and several other Middle Eastern countries teach students in the 2012-’13 academic year.

    Driving a 2009 Ford Mustang convertible, Crocker tried to turn right from the left lane, into the path of a truck in the right lane, State Patrol Trooper Troy Briggs told the Associated Press. Though Crocker’s car spun out after the two vehicles collided, Crocker kept driving, Briggs said. Crocker was apprehended after a witness followed him to a nearby bank and called the police.

    “[Crocker] was very cooperative but obviously intoxicated,” Briggs told the Associated Press.

    Crocker pleaded not guilty to the charges against him on the following day, KXLY-TV reported.

    At Yale, Crocker is slated to teach a unit on Afghanistan in the College’s “Gateway to Global Affairs” class this fall, as well as two seminars in the spring. It is not yet known how the charges will impact his teaching role at Yale.

    Crocker’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 12.

  9. ‘Class Roulette’ aims to mimic Bluebooking

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    As the Yale administration phases out the Blue Book, one student is looking to bring the spontaneity of flipping through the print course catalog into the digital realm.

    Geoffrey Litt ’14 created the website Yale Class Roulette, which shows students a randomly generated set of Yale classes at the push of the space bar. His aim, he said, was to preserve the print Blue Book’s “experience of serendipitous discovery” by bringing it online. Since he announced the site’s publication on Facebook last week, yaleclassroulette.com has received roughly 1,500 unique visitors who have together generated over 9,000 random selections of classes.

    “There’s quite a few online Bluebooking options available now, but many people (myself included) still love the paper Blue Book to death,” Litt said in a Monday email. “I think the main reason is that it’s so fun and easy to skim through the paper book and find random classes which are harder to find online.”

    A Class Roulette conducted by the News brought together a diverse range of 17 classes, including “Elementary Modern Hebrew I,” “The Question of Form” and “Contemporary Reception of Greek and Roman Classics.”

    The site allows students to view the courses in OCI and in the yalebluebook.com site that the University recently acquired.

  10. Yale to offer three new humanities postdocs

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    For the first time, the University will offer three postdoctoral fellowships in the humanities and humanistic sciences for recent Ph.D. graduates during the coming academic year.

    The two-year fellowships come as part of efforts to build a larger postdoctoral community in the humanities at the University. They are open to students who completed doctoral programs at Yale between May 2011 and May 2012, and each Yale graduate program may nominate up to one of its graduates for a position, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an email to directors of graduate studies last week.

    The postdoctoral positions will allow recent graduates “to broaden their intellectual reach beyond the confines of their discipline, both to expand their intellectual formation and to improve their chances for success on the job market,” Miller wrote.

    These postdoctoral fellows will each teach three courses per year, one of which must be for freshmen — a section of Directed Studies, for instance, or an introductory English class. One class must be team-taught with a faculty member outside the fellow’s discipline. The postdoctoral fellows will also participate in an existing working group of humanities postdocs at Yale, Miller wrote.

    Graduate programs have until April 27 to nominate candidates for the fellowships.

  11. Six professors win teaching prizes

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    Six Yale College teaching prizes for 2012 have been awarded to professors in departments ranging from history to psychology to geology and geophysics, the Dean’s Office announced Monday.

    Recipients of the prizes are nominated by students and then chosen by the Committee on Teaching, Learning and Advising. Yale College Dean Mary Miller will host a reception in their honor on April 23 in the Lecture Hall of Sterling Memorial Library at 5 p.m., which is open to the public.

    “What is so moving to me is the range of faculty who have been nominated by their students this year, from George Chauncey, Ron Smith, and Laurie Santos, who teach large lectures that rivet undergraduate attention, to Anne Fadiman, who works with aspiring writers in small seminar settings, to Moira Fradinger, whose classes seam together literary threads, and to Andrew Casson, whose dedication as DUS has guided the math department’s students,” Miller said in a Monday email to the News.

    Read the list of winners below:

    The Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities:

    George A. Chauncey, Professor of History and American Studies

    The Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences:

    Laurie R. Santos, Associate Professor of Psychology

    The Dylan Hixon ’88 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences:

    Andrew J. Casson, Philip Schuyler Beebe Professor of Mathematics

    The Richard H. Brodhead ’68 Prize for Teaching Excellence by Non-Ladder Faculty:

    Anne Fadiman, Francis Writer-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor of English

    The Harwood F. Byrnes / Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize:

    Ronald B. Smith, Damon Wells Professor of Geology & Geophysics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering

    Sarai Ribicoff Award for the Encouragement of Teaching at Yale College:

    Moira Fradinger, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature

  12. Open Yale adds seven new courses

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    Open Yale Courses, the initiative that makes video lectures of Yale College courses available for free online, added seven new courses to its website today.

    The courses range from philosophy and cognitive science professor Tamar Gendler’s “Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature” to history professor Paul Freedman’s “The Early Middle Ages” and courses in African American history and organic chemistry. They bring the total number of classes on Open Yale Courses to 42.

    Since its launch in December 2007, Open Yale Courses has attracted internet users from around the world seeking access to videos, transcripts, syllabi and class assignments for the popular introductory courses posted to its website. The greatest number of foreign students who view the site come from China, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, India, Russia, Australia, and Taiwan, according to a press release from the Yale Office of Public Affairs & Communications.

    The following courses are now available on Open Yale:

    · AFAM 162: “African American History: From Emancipation to the Present,” taught by Jonathan Holloway

    · AMST 246: “Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald,” taught by Wai Chee Dimock

    · CHEM 125b: “Freshman Organic Chemistry II,” taught by J. Michael McBride

    · ECON 252: “Financial Markets–2011,” taught by Robert Shiller

    · G&G 140: “Atmosphere, Ocean, and Environmental Change,” taught by Ronald Smith

    · HIST 210: “The Early Middle Ages, 284-1000,” taught by Paul Freedman

    · PHIL 181: “Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature,” taught by Tamar Gendler