Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Eleventh hour

As I write this from my outpost on the Left Coast, less than one hour remains in the final full day of the Bush administration. I am excited about tomorrow's inauguration but also melancholy that while collectively we as Americans started a movement to elect a progressive new President, we also let the past eight years happen--with protest, yes, but what an ugly eight years.

During those eight years Mr. Trillwing and I married. Lucas was born. I finished my Ph.D.

They've been good years for us as a family. But I can't help but think Lucas has been born under a bad star, some ill alignment of the planets, that will inflect the rest of his life.

And so, to borrow a phrase from the Friends, tonight I am holding President-Elect Obama in the light. Those of you who know me well know that I am not a believer in any traditional conception of god, but that there's something about the silent meetings and reflective practice of Quakers that I find very attractive. But I know that President Obama is a believer, so I want to hold him in the light in the hopes that he retains the strength to restore justice, peace, and prosperity to all the American people.

Accordingly, I offer to the President-Elect and to the country, these tidbits of testimony and wisdom from Friends and others.

On patience with the new President:

"We need to be willing to be led into the dark as well as through green pastures and by still waters." (Gordon Matthews, 1987, cited in Plain Living by Catherine Whitmire)
On community as Americans, and on the power of the individual:
"A culture of isolated individualism produces mass conformity because people who think they must bear life all alone are too fearful to take the risks of self-hood. But people who know that they are embedded in an eternal community are both freed and empowered to become who they were born to be." (Parker Palmer, 2000, cited in Whitmire)
On international conflict (and partisan politics):
"The best definition I've ever heard for forgiveness is giving up the right to hurt someone for the hurt they've done to you." (Joyce Sams, 1994, cited in Whitmire)
On work as spiritual calling:

"When [Susan B.] Anthony was once asked, "Do you pray?" she responded, "I pray every second of my life; not on my knees, but with my work. My prayer is to lift women to equality with men. Work and worship are one with me." (Hugh Barbour et. al, 1995, cited in Whitmire)

On taking action:

You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.
Take off from here. And don't be so earnest,

so ready for the sackcloth and the ashes.
Let go, let fly, forget.
You've listened long enough. Now strike your note.

(from section XII of Seamus Heaney's Station Island)
Let us all take off from here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Are University Centers for Teaching and Learning Necessary?

(Cross-posted at BlogHer)

Last summer, Historiann wrote a post that has been nagging me all these intervening months. In it, she asks if the centers for teaching and learning that have been popping up on college and university campuses over the past four decades really are necessary. As someone who works as a teaching consultant and program coordinator at just such a center, it's probably not surprising that I can say, unequivocally, yes, they are essential.

Now, are they essential for every instructor, as the article she cites seems to suggest? No. But what Historiann doesn't address in her post is the difference in experience between scientists and humanists in graduate school, and the way those differences play out in scholars' first tenure-track teaching jobs.

Here's what I (and others I work with) have noticed: While there certainly are plenty of people in the humanities who struggle with teaching, most humanities faculty hit the ground running because they had plenty of experience to teach--as teaching assistants and frequently as instructors--during grad school. In fact, teaching is the way that most humanities graduate students (attempt to) make ends meet during graduate school. On the other hand, the "most successful" graduate students in science are rewarded with research jobs in labs or in the field. In the view of many of these junior scientists, teaching is something to be avoided at all costs, as it interferes with the research and publication that will determine whether or not they get plum university jobs.

When large universities hire science faculty, they're almost exclusively looking for researchers who have a proven track record in, well, research rather than teaching. As liberal arts colleges place more emphasis on faculty research, increasing numbers of scientists who lack all but the most rudimentary teaching experience are getting jobs that require them to teach. And in very short time, these faculty find themselves teaching what may be very large courses, and they run into a wall. They tend to turn to lecturing as a solution, which isn't surprising, since they themselves likely learned much from lectures as undergraduates. After all, these are the people who were successful in a system that doesn't value or encourage (in the sciences in particular) good teaching. They have succeeded despite the widespread dearth of quality teaching because they were motivated learners.

So while at my university's teaching center we do consult with a fair share of humanities and social science faculty who are looking to enliven their teaching or who have received disappointing evaluations from students (and possibly a nudge from their department chairs), much of the work we do is aimed at science faculty who are navigating the waters of undergraduate teaching and learning for the first time. (I don't mean to paint science faculty with too broad a brush; after all, there are faculty across the disciplines, but in physics in particular, who are very plugged in to what it takes to get students to actually learn both the material and to think creatively and critically.)

Our workshops--which are infrequent but usually at least half a day long, and as long as a week during the summer--are very well-received by faculty from across the disciplines. A huge part of this success can be chalked up to the work of faculty who are willing to volunteer their time to share their successes and even mentor one another, both within and across disciplines. Our teaching center facilitates these connections as well as makes grants available to faculty who want to push the pedagogical envelope.

I encourage you to poke around the websites of teaching and learning centers (often called "centers for excellence in teaching and learning") to see what resources they have to offer, especially regarding alternatives to lecturing, the effective use of technologies beyond course management systems, new thinking on assessment and evaluation. (There's a partial list of such centers at Shifting from Teaching to Learning.)

Historiann isn't alone writing about these centers. Other bloggers have chimed in, too. Here are a few:

The Religion in American History blog serves up some skepticism about workshops and assessment initiatives.

Instructional designer Christina Hains explains what an instructional designer does in the context of a teaching and learning center.

At the Tomorrow's Professor Blog, Michael Reder points out that "good teaching does not happen naturally":

. . .and when I say good teaching I mean effective teaching: the types of intentional pedagogical practices that lead to significant and deep student learning. In the past decade or so, higher education as a whole has spent a great deal of time and energy thinking about student learning and, in the case of the ever-growing pressure for accountability, how to measure the effect of the education we offer our students. Most of the recent movements in higher education are centered on improving student learning: the use of technology inside and outside of the classroom, experiential learning, information fluency, learner-centered teaching, community learning. The Association of American College and Universities' focus on liberal learning outcomes, civic learning, diversity, global education, residential learning, general education, and critical thinking echo this current trend of concentrating on student learning.

Microbiologist Sandra Porter explains why scientists tend to be unfamiliar with the literature on science education.

Constance Ewing and Mary Deane Sorcinelli explain the value of a teaching center.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Teaching with hoaxes

I'm working on the next Electronic Envelope for the teaching center where I work, and I'm including a brief article on the Edward Owens hoax perpetuated by Mills Kelly's class at George Mason University. I'm including the short piece here not so much for the text--which you may or may not find useful--but for the little pirate lemming I Photoshopped together. I'm just so amused with myself. . .

(photo credits: lemmingpirate hat)

Late this fall, Jane Browning created a blog about her senior research project on Edward Owens, purportedly the last American pirate. The site includes information about Owens, images of his last will and testament as well as a partial transcription of it, video interviews with history professors, a video of Jane exploring the area immediately around Owens's house, and a link to a Wikipedia entry that Browning created that passed review by the online encyclopedia's volunteer editors.

In December it was revealed that Jane Browning does not exist, and that the site was a hoax perpetuated by the students in a history seminar at George Mason University. The purpose of the hoax, according to an explanation on the project site, "was to spend time thinking about how easily information takes on a life of its own online, ethics in the historical profession, and the role of digital media in popular culture." The course syllabus (PDF) explains Professor Mills Kelly's learning goals for the course:

I do have some specific learning goals for this course. I hope that you’ll improve your research and analytical skills and that you’ll become a much better consumer of historical information. I hope you’ll become more skeptical without becoming too skeptical for your own good. I hope you’ll learn some new skills in the digital realm that can translate to other courses you take or to your eventual career. And, I hope you’ll be at least a little sneakier than you were before you started the course.

Do not miss Mills Kelly's post on the topic, and especially the comments section, in which some smart folks who were taken in by the hoax weigh in on the project.

This strategy--teaching about hoaxes, or better yet by perpetuating a hoax--has implications far beyond historiography and historical research. My colleague Mikaela Huntzinger immediately pointed out its potential in crafting a course in ecology, for example. I agree. I recall one of the harder exam questions from my undergraduate years, from the final of an interdisciplinary special topics course on animal locomotion, was something like, "You're standing in line at the supermarket and you see a tabloid that claims scientists have discovered an amazing creature" with certain characteristics--limb and spine length, range of motion, and so on. The professor wanted us to argue whether or not such a creature could exist based on what we had learned in class. In other words, we were to synthesize what we had learned in class to determine whether or not the tabloid article was a hoax.

It all reminds me of a larger, more complex, and much more fun version of the game Balderdash, in which players try to convince one another that their made-up definition of a real but arcane word is the actual one. Imagine a class on Romantic poets in which the professor asks students to determine which samples of blank verse actually are by Wordsworth--and in which the students get extra points if they submit, and other students fall for, their own faux Wordsworthian blank verse. (Hint: incorporate the word "gleam." Throws me every time.)

Have you taught with hoaxes? Have you fallen for any? (Sokal hoax or lemming suicides, anyone?) And how do you teach your students not to be so gullible?

Update on potty training bootcamp

Fang provides the latest.

Tips from the trenches are much appreciated.

My interactions with Lucas are a bit more intellectual. Here he is selecting bedtime reading from my poetry collection.

Lucas: I want this one. And this one.

Me, taking the books from him: Sylvia Plath and Hart Crane? Excellent choices. Try not to have nightmares.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Release the hostages: Teaching and the problem of "coverage"

(cross-posted at BlogHer)

I can't tell you how many times I have walked down the hallway of the classroom building where I worked, glancing in door and after door to see professors talking at students in dim lecture halls, facts outlined in full sentences on PowerPoint slides. At such times I want to rappel down the center aisle of the classroom, SWAT style, to save the hostages. The problem in many case is not just that professors don't understand the cognitive style of PowerPoint, but that they feel there is "content" to be "covered," that a certain (and usually very large) number of facts and concepts must be introduced to students in the space afforded by the ten weeks of the academic quarter.

The Problem

In an essay published in 2006 about faculty fears, Linda Hodges nicely summarizes the quandary of coverage:

We fear losing content "coverage". This principle is usually cited first and foremost when faculty confront nontraditional pedagogical choices. The tyranny of content coverage is especially acute in certain disciplines that have a recognized body of information on which subsequent courses build, fro example, the sciences and engineering. Our illusion is that we tell students the information that we want them to know, students who are motivated will absorb it, and our obligation to the discipline has been met. Thus, the most readily recognized and accepted pedagogical choice is lecture. It's hard to argue with this premise head-on because most professors themselves learned very well by the lecture method, and it does have its place as one option in our set of pedagogical tools.

You know the story: Damned if you do, damned if you don't (cover Fort Sumter, Gettysburg, Antietam, Vicksburg, Appomattox, Chancellorsville, Bull Run (first and second), the Wilderness, the Monitor vs. Virginia, Petersburg, and Sherman's March; or the atmospheric gases, gravity, moons, orbit, diameter, inclination of axis, mass, and mean distance from the sun of every. damn. planet. in our solar system). Certainly as a student you have been in (and perhaps dropped out of--waves at my former astronomy prof) one of these courses. Unless your instructor is an amazing storyteller, sympathetic and charismatic, you're in for a real disappointment. History profs, I don't need to know who outflanked whom in the Wilderness, but I would like to hear why the battle matters enough for me to care whether or not Wal-Mart builds a store on the battlefield.

Marty Nemko provides an example of what limited content coverage might look like as he imagines "Utopia College":

We encourage instructors to avoid the tyranny of content. Professors at other colleges frequently require students to read 1,000 or more pages for a three-unit course. Too often students read just enough to be able to pass a test. Such reading is unlikely to result in enduring learning. In contrast, a Utopia course in literature, might, for example, only require students to read the 100 pages of Hamlet plus a few essays of analysis. A government course might only require students to read the U.S. Constitution and a few diverse articles of commentary. Class meetings and assignments explore that limited content in depth, so students come away with richer and more enduring learning than from the typical college course.

All right, I must admit I am guilty of complaining about students not reading enough. I've lost count of how many times I've told them that one semester I had to buy 33 books, plus read a few more novels I checked out from the library. (And walked uphill both ways in the snow with a chicken under each arm.) My point is usually: Don't be such whiners. But sometimes they have a point. Is the reading we're giving them the reading they really need to be doing? Hint: If it's about battlefield maneuvers, and it's not a military science class, it's probably not necessary. (I know, I know--I pick on the Civil War historians, but only because when I was, oh, 16 or 17 years old, I wanted to be one.)

The wise Historiann weighed in on the problem of coverage earlier this week with no less than a manifesto. An excerpt:

I could almost live with “coverage” were it not for the regressive politics for which it serves as a beard. “Coverage” works to privilege traditional and rather exclusionary visions of history. Political history is always considered more important than social history, and since Native American, Latin@, African American, immigrant, queer, and women’s histories are rarely considered under the umbrella of political history (and why not?), they tend to get short shrift in favor of the privileged narrative of (white men’s) political history. In my very first semester in grad school, I enrolled in a “historiography of the Early U.S. Republic” seminar (not taught by my adviser.) The syllabus offered very traditional “coverage” of U.S. history from 1776 to 1876, with the exception of one week on the syllabus. The topic that week was (I kid you not), “Blacks, Women, and Indians.” This was eighteen years ago–but even so: the majority of class discussion that week was led by the graduate students who spoke mostly about how inappropriate it was to lump all non-white, non-male people together in an obviously token gesture of inclusion.

“Coverage” can be used as a weapon for bullying junior faculty who are judged not to be offering sufficient “coverage” of said traditional history in their courses. (For political history, substitute economic or intellectual history, as appropriate. Somehow, very few people ever bother junior colleagues about not teaching enough cultural history, history of slavery, women’s history, or queer history, for example.) I was chastised once by a department chair for only talking about “blacks, women, and Indians” in my U.S. history survey courses, and warned very darkly that “we’ve denied tenure to people who didn’t teach broadly enough.” Not enough “coverage,” you see. After that conversation, I reviewed my survey syllabus, and it turned out that a mere six of fourteen weeks of content were devoted predominantly to something other than white men’s history–but those six weeks weren’t “coverage,” somehow. “Coverage” therefore isn’t really coverage–it’s a code word for continuing to privilege the people whose experiences are already at the center of national historiographies. I should have remembered my Orwell: All Americans are equal, but some Americans are more equal than others.

She concludes: "If we’re all truly honest about this, we’d acknowledge 'coverage' is a fiction. It doesn’t exist, if it ever did."

Derek Cabrera explains the danger to K-12 students as well as college students:

The tyranny of content has devastating implications for pedagogy (the art and science of teaching). Whether you are a parent or a teacher or both, the tyranny of content leads to disempowerment. It makes the teacher fear leaving the boundaries of their personal knowledge or expertise for uncharted waters. It makes the teacher feel that they cannot teach about something they do not know. It makes the teacher feel the need to cut off student interests, dialogue or exploration as it nears the limits of the teacher’s knowledge.

Some Solutions

Lendol Calder's web site Uncoverage at the Journal of American History outlines the problem with coverage in history courses, what uncoverage looks like, and evidence for learning in this pedagogical paradigm. Check out also his article from the Journal, as it's very thought-provoking and clear about how history should be taught. An excerpt:

Historical thinking, like other forms of disciplinary thinking, begins with clear-eyed wonder before the world. But questioning is an extraordinarily difficult skill for most students, probably because for their whole lives teachers and textbooks have posed the questions for them ("Write an essay on the following question . . ."). Feeding students a steady diet of other people's questions is a sure-fire prescription for mental dyspepsia. So the first move students need to learn is that of asking good historical questions. To this end the first meeting in every unit is designed to intensify students' desire to inquire.

An article at the Encyclopedia of Informal Education recommends thinking about curriculum as process or praxis rather than product.

I have written here on BlogHer about how to circumvent the tyranny of content by thinking instead about learning objectives, and on my own blog about how science instructors are particularly complicit in perpetuating the myth of coverage.

Want to learn about some alternatives to lecturing? José Bowen provides some tips on how to use technology to provide content outside the classroom so that class time can be used instead for discussion and interaction.

Just a reminder: All the advice in this post applies to K-12 and homseschoolers as well as professors. To borrow a phrase from Crosby, Stills, and Nash: Teach your children well.

In my next post, I'll discuss the role centers of teaching and learning should play in goading, er, encouraging faculty to adopt sound pedagogical practices.

The Trillwing household: Party Central

Friday, 8 p.m.: Lucas tells me, uncharacteristically early, that he wants to "take a nap"--meaning go to bed for the night. I'm very excited about this because it means I'll have a couple of hours to myself to clean up this filthy house before I have some people over the next day, and still get to bed early! (Mr. Trillwing had gone to sleep earlier, as is his wont.)

So I pick out the requisite number of books Lucas demands I read (two, which sometimes climbs as high as seven, depending on his alertness), and we breeze through them, Lucas actually paying attention to them instead of jumping up and down next to me on his bed, which is what he has done every other night this week.

I'm thinking this is golden. I turn on the nightlight and the fan we use for white noise in his room and turn out the main light. Then I climb into bed with him for his pre-sleep cuddle ritual, in which he likes to suck his left thumb and pinch the extra skin on my elbow with his right hand. Typically, after about 5 minutes of this, he'll turn over and start to fall asleep. At which point I get up, stumble over the big dog stretched out on the floor right alongside the bed, nudge the dog out of the room, tell Lucas "sweet dreams" and I love him, and then close the door.

Except last night, something went awry, and the next thing I know, I'm waking up in Lucas's room because the dog is licking my face. And it's 10:30.

I'm just thankful Mr. Trillwing didn't wake up earlier so he could photograph the three of us--Lucas, the dog, and me--in the midst of our early-evening snooze-a-thon. Because that definitely would have showed up on his blog.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This is kind of how I feel today


Family history

Today my cousin Ian sent me some photos of my grandfather, Tom Lind, taken in 1938 or 1939. Both because I miss "Pops" terribly (he passed in 1991) and because they're classic photos of early surf culture, I thought I'd share them here:

One of my better-kept secrets is that my people used to be cool.

(Speaking of which--Ian just discovered that his father, my grandfather's brother, does not dye his hair. And he's 95. Check out the photo. WTF?)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Scientists and Femininity

(Cross-posted at BlogHer)

A couple of days ago, Dr. Isis provided advice to a self-described "overweight girl lacking even a pretty face" about the ways women scientists (or any scientists) can get noticed: by doing brilliant science and packaging it effectively. Her post reminded me of a discussion also involving Dr. Isis--and one that focused in part on the packaging of women as scientists and as science bloggers.

The challenge of Dr. Isis

This earlier discussion was kicked off by a critique of Dr. Isis's blog stylings at Transient Reporter, on which blogger KH of Propter Doc commented,

I liked it at first but now the writing is just a steriotype and a pretty poor one at that. Thing that bothers me more is that this cartoon personality makes female scientists sound like shoe fettish ignorant bimbos.

Later in the same comment thread, KH emphasizes the difference between criticizing Dr. Isis and her writing style. But she's not alone in her critique of the writing. drdrA writes,

I see Isis has taken a turn toward the more serious now that she has moved her domicile to scienceblogs. I think this is a good thing as from her previous blog I felt that she didn’t address the issues women face in science in a serious or particularly useful way- although I’m sure she has issues to cover, they just got lost under all the shoes/makeup/cake/ the many uses of the word vagina/penis/and other sexual references- that of course make one popular but don’t add to the discourse at all. I’m pleased that she’s at least come a bit in a more serious direction…

The packaging of women in science, and particularly of Dr. Isis, has become a recurring topic over the past few months, reappearing just a few days ago in another Dr. Isis post.

Isis, who comes across on her blog as a colorful character who is more than mildly self-absorbed, a fierce critic of bad science, and a fashionista with a shoe fetish, cited a comment from reader and commenter Becca:

[T]aking into account societal context, there are times (e.g. your exclaimations of distress over other's lack of fashion sense) where you carry a patriarchical message. You will, partially by implication through your own choices, but also through active processes, encourage conformity to sterotypical gender norms that others may experience as oppressive. You should carefully consider the effects of the role you model. We all should, albeit not to absurd lengths of energy- and soul-sucking excess.

Opinion: wholistically, the whole Dr. Isis package, of snarky comments, joy of motherhood, absurd shoes, totally hot science, and bloggy goodness,makes you a totally awesome role model. But nobody is perfect.

Isis responded:

Oh, most delicious Becca. If you think I do not consider with every post the effects of the role I model and that I'm all-in just for the giggles, then you are sadly, sadly mistaken. However, I think we should all be very clear that it is not my Naughty Monkeys that are causing women to leave academia. It is not my Naughty Monkeys that are making women feel as though they do not have support of their colleagues when they raise families. You see, Becca, I could wear Danskos every day for the rest of my life (although I would be terribly miserable), never visit Sephora again, wrap my chest every day until my DD breasts stick out no more than a B cup would, and my male colleagues aren't going to suddenly notice and say, "Hey! Dr. Isis seems a little less girly! Let's invite her into the club and pay her as much as her male colleagues."

I hate to use this phrase, but this is a Strawman Fallacy and it makes us take our eye off the larger prize. Fashion is not our problem -- I could go to work tomorrow dressed as un-traditionally feminine as I could muster and it's not going to change the fact that I've gotta figure out how to keep amazing research going, plan the birth of my next child (but don't tell the Isis-in-laws I'm considering another), figure out how to nurse said baby while managing my career and return to work at a time that is beneficial to me and my child, and keep my home running while I do it all. My shoes are oppressive? My whole life is oppressive because I am trying to make my way in a career that only partially respects and accommodates my desire or lack of desire to reproduce.

For a Dr. Isis post that mixes feminist theory with what it means to be a woman and a scientist, check out her response to a black female grad student who worries that sometimes she's valued as much for how she looks in a diversity brochure as for her talents as a scientist, yet who wonders how she can avoid being marginalized as a scientist because she's a woman and a person of color. Her primary advice is to find allies who

appreciate us, want us in the game because of the skills we bring, and are trying to lay down mechanisms (ie, open doors) by which we can get the opportunity to play. As this happens, we can begin to lay down our own mechanisms (and, to some degree, are already). Funding is tight enough as it is; take advantage of every opportunity you can without apology. Then, take everything and accent it with the brilliant science I have no doubt you are capable of doing.

Isis also meditates in another post on the suppression and exclusion of women and minority scientists.

How should a woman in science package herself?

The discrimination women face in science is not unique to their fields. After all, women in sports, academia in general, and all other manner of careers must clear obstacles to their acceptance and advancement. That said, in my observation, science is a particularly nasty tangle of gender and sex and race discrimination because so many scientists are reductionists--that is, they're more often interested in the ways the parts of a system influence its workings than they are in the system as a whole. And because scientists must specialize, often they become fascinated by one single part of a larger system, which means they're in danger of not seeing the forest because they're studying the mites that live on the beetles that live under the bark of the trees. Gender, as we all know, is a complicated phenomenon, one that is influenced, we might or might not agree, by biology as well as culture.

Imagine for a moment that you're a white male scientist (I know that's a stretch for many of us) who has been very successful in his field. The last thing you want to hear is that you've had unfair advantages because of the culture of science. You want to believe that your own intellect, your own efforts, are exclusively what allowed you to rise to the top. The flip side of this is that those who do not experience the same levels of success in the field--many of them women or people of color--must not be working hard enough or have comparable intellectual firepower. Now, it's not popular or politically correct to express this sentiment so bluntly, but the science blogosphere time and again has revealed that many people believe that science--and academic science in particular--is, or should be, a pure meritocracy.

But it's not. End of (that) discussion.

This puts women in a frustrating position. Must women abandon whatever cultural beliefs and habits and attitudes they cultivated in favor of homogenizing themselves into the milky white fluid coursing down the pipeline of American science? If a woman is a herpetologist, is it acceptable for her to argue against biological determinism in humans even as she publishes papers about such determinism in frogs? Is that hypocritical? (I say of course not, but others may disagree.) And must this woman wear sensible shoes and forgo hair products in the name of blending in?

Or should women take the opposite tack and argue that women, culturally and perhaps to a lesser extent biologically, do bring a different--and valuable--perspective to scientific theory and practice? Feminist theorists and philosophers Donna Haraway and Sandra Harding have both, in slightly different ways, argued for this approach--that starting from women's lives (be they the scientists' lives or subjects') makes science more democratic because it makes visible the various oppressions faced by marginalized peoples. There are, of course, perils to such an assertively feminist approach, particularly the defense mechanisms from more traditional scientists who can't see that the ways they have been practicing science are marginalizing. Who, after all, wants to admit that he (or in some cases she) has been asking the "wrong" (in a culturally valuable sense) kinds of questions for decades?

Certainly there is a middle way. For example, is it permissible (from the perspectives of science or feminism) for women to dress in ways (be they stylish or sexy or some combination thereof) that may draw attention to their bodies as well as their minds?

Your thoughts?

Other recent posts of note on women in science:

Zuska writes on "the proper way to be a woman in science"

Is it UNFAIR to have women's faculty groups? at Blue Lab Coats

Janet Stemwedel (AKA Dr. Free-Ride) on women, scientists, and ordinary human beings

The Scientiae Carnival of women scientists' posts on crossing thresholds and opening and closing a variety of metaphorical doors

Sheril Kirshenbaum of The Intersection advises, "Don't be a 'woman in science.'"

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I heart Wacom

This evening I've been alternating coloring Wall-E posters with Lucas and playing with my Wacom tablet. Confession: I've had the tablet for 7 months. It's just been sitting on my desk unused, which is NOT COOL, considering I asked for it as a joint birthday gift from Mr. Trillwing and my parents.

Anyhoo, tonight I installed the driver and hooked it up for the first time, and may I just say I am in love?

Here's my first attempt at an illustration. It's still rough, and I drew it off the top of my head instead of looking at a photo of a horse, so please excuse the clutziness of it. But I just wanted to share because I love this technology--I recommend it to anyone who likes to sketch.

(click to embiggen)

In which I use my Ph.D. a teeny tiny bit

If you're interested in museums--and hey, who isn't?--check out my latest, ridiculously link-rich post at Blogher: Mega-Museums in Abu Dhabi -- cultural imperialism in reverse?