Where are PBGG alumni now?

If you’ve read my Bio, you know that I’m a Ph.D. student in the Plant Biology Graduate Group (PBGG) at UC Davis. We’re a pretty diverse group in terms of research interests. We have everything from computational biologists and biochemists to plant breeders and ecologists. This diversity got me and fellow PBGGer Mark Lemos wondering about what sort of careers alumni of our program were pursuing.

To answer this question, we took to the internet to track down our alumni – primarily using LinkedIn, Pubmed, and Google. We were able to find 101/110 of Ph.D. alumni that had graduated during the previous 10 years. I presented our findings at the PBGG annual meeting in Spring 2013 and have decided to post them here for people who missed the meeting or want to revisit the data.

Here is a breakdown of the sectors in which our alumni are employed: Continue reading

Book Review: “The Smartest Kids in the World”

“The Smartest Kids in the World,” by Amanda Ripley, is a highly engaging look at secondary education in Finland, South Korea, and Poland. The book was published in 2013 and generated quite a bit of buzz , due to its skillful comparison of the systems of these three educational high-achievers with that of the United States. Ripley skillfully combines a variety of statistics (primary compiled by the PISA exam) with a unique on-the-ground perspective provided by extensive interviews with three American exchange students, who each lived in one of the subject countries for a year. Many of her findings challenge key aspects of the U.S. high school experience: Continue reading

Great podcast debate on MOOCs

I just listed to “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall is Obsolete,” an Intelligence Squared debate about the role that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other forms of online learning should play in higher education. The panelists arguing for the motion were Anant Agawal (founder of edX) and Ben Nelson (CEO of the Minerva Project). They were opposed by Jonathan Cole (Provost of Columbia University) and Rebecca Schuman (an adjunct professor and education writer). While the debate didn’t sway my opinion either way, I think that the panelists made some really interesting points that are worth thinking about: Continue reading

First Post: A review of “What the Best College Teachers Do”

“What the Best College Teachers Do,” by Ken Bain, is the result of a 15 year study of exceptional college teachers from around the United States. Bain and his colleagues identified outstanding teachers through a process that considered student evaluations, recommendations from other teachers, and in-person interviews and observations. Sixty-three teachers from a wide variety of disciplines and institutions were selected and their teaching practices and philosophies were studied in detail. This was accomplished through interviews with the professors and their students, observations of classes (and, in a few cases, entire courses), and analysis of student evaluations and performance.
Continue reading