The G-Rant: Please Stop Being Evil and Incompetent

Are colleges doing research the right way?

By Jesse Schell (Carnegie Mellon)

This is a transcript of a presentation by Jesse on March 6, 2012 at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. It was part of a panel entitled Game Educators Rant.

Hi everybody. I have a special kind of rant today.

It is directed to a certain segment of the audience. I realize a number of you are here by mistake. There’s a certain percentage of the audience who wandered in here mistakenly reading the session title as “Game Educator Grants.” So this I dedicate to you. We’ll call it my G-Rant. Continue reading “The G-Rant: Please Stop Being Evil and Incompetent”

I Have a Creed Instead of a Mission

What is your mission?

by Clint Korver (Stanford)

There is this lovely period when you are working on a Ph.D. after you have gotten all your coursework and tests out of the way when nobody cares what you do; it is kind of an intellectual romp all over the place.

During this time I ran across The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. His second habit is to begin with the end in mind. He basically says that you should create a mission statement for yourself.

So I spent a month or two trying to create a mission statement and I failed utterly. I would think things like, “What if I created a company like Hewlett-Packard; that would be pretty cool.” But if I were on my deathbed looking at my life, would that do it for me? I could imagine ways of doing it that wouldn’t be very fulfilling. It was the same story for everything I came up with; it would depend on how it happened. Continue reading “I Have a Creed Instead of a Mission”

Designers vs. Conversers

What have you learned about people?

by Dennis Shasha (NYU)

When I entered college, I thought the intellectual world was divided into science people and humanities people. I loved math and physics, so put myself firmly in the former camp.

Funnily though, I found that I had much more in common with painters and sculptors than say with political scientists or economists.

I finally married an artist in fact.

It took me to my first job — designing circuits for computer processors — to realize why. Continue reading “Designers vs. Conversers”

Advice to Freshmen, Prospective Freshmen, and Other Lost Souls

How do you get the most out of college?

by John Perry (Stanford)

College takes up four years of your life, at least.  These days it can mean big bucks for you and your parents, even if you don’t go to a pricey private school.  And it’s a lot of work. If you get it wrong, it’s not so easy to go back and start over.  So it’s no wonder that many college freshmen and prospective college freshmen are confused and anxious about how to plan their college years.  And frankly, there are a lot of seniors who look back and wish they had done things differently.

You have about 120 semester units, or 180 quarter units, to work with. I’ve got some suggestions for how to use them, based on teaching and advising college students, for almost fifty years, at Cornell, UCLA, Michigan, Stanford and the University of California, Riverside.

Let’s start with what you want to avoid.  First of all, you definitely want to avoid spending four or so years going to college and not graduating with a degree.  Continue reading “Advice to Freshmen, Prospective Freshmen, and Other Lost Souls”

Teaching to the World From Central New Jersey

What have you learned about teaching?

by Mitchell Duneier

A few months ago, just as the campus of Princeton University had grown nearly silent after commencement, 40,000 students from 113 countries arrived here via the Internet to take a free course in introductory sociology. The noncredit Princeton offering came about through a collaboration between Coursera, a new venture in online learning, and 16 universities, including my own.

When my class was announced last spring, I was both excited and nervous. Unlike computer science and other subjects in which the answers are pretty much the same around the globe, sociology can be very Continue reading “Teaching to the World From Central New Jersey”

Not Quite Bulletproof

What have you learned about life?

By Jon T. Coleman (Notre Dame)

To rise in academe and reach the high ground where review committees stop questioning your record and deans quit pondering your trajectory, where students applaud when you close out the semester with your lecture on the War of 1812 and Stephen Colbert invites you on his Report to plug your book, one must cultivate an entry-level superpower.

Save your supersonic speed, your laser-beam eyeballs, and your ability to communicate with sea life for emergencies and holiday parties. Instead concentrate on blocking projectiles. To get a job, to surmount third-year review, to receive tenure, to advance to full professorship, to merit a Wikipedia page that you didn’t write yourself, all you need to be is bulletproof. And if you want a Kevlar career, do as I say, not as I did. For while I excelled at thwarting some bullets, I had zero talent for dodging the countless shots I administered to myself.

As with most things scholastic, bulletproofing starts Continue reading “Not Quite Bulletproof”

Grim Job Talks Are a Buzz Kill

Are we preparing students for the professional world?

by Dan Shapiro (Penn State)

You were one of only a handful of candidates we invited to campus. We wanted to like you.

Hell, I wanted to love you. I am your potential future chair. When I became chair, I knew that bringing in strong faculty members was my best chance to leave a mark on the department and the college. I also knew that job searches were a drag on the little boat I would be trying to navigate through waters strewn with budget cuts, increased teaching loads, and fussy-somewhat-overworked faculty members. So I wanted the search to be over and for you to be here already.

But then your job talk started and my throat went dry and I felt that thumping in my temples.

Grim job talks are a buzz kill. And let’s be clear, your problem was not Continue reading “Grim Job Talks Are a Buzz Kill”