• Blog
  • Happiness

    Happiness is like a butterfly

    My thoughts turn to butterflies on the first day of summer. I love this quote. Happiness can be elusive. A corollary, from All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, by Jennifer Senior: It is unrealistic…to assume that if all goes well in a child’s life, he or she will be happy. Not […]

  • Blog
  • Self-Absorption

    Is blogging narcissistic?

    Yes, I blog. About my life. It’s a little self-absorbed, I know. I don’t pretend otherwise. Did you notice that the logo for this blog is me talking to myself? In Don’t Get too Comfortable, David Rakoff writes about his moment of peak self-absorption: My fasting program warns me to stay vigilant against unhealthy ego […]

  • Blog
  • What is Your Least Favorite Fruit?

    At an appointment when Ted was about five years old, I slipped the pediatrician a note asking him to speak about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. I needed an ally. The doctor broached the topic conversationally. “Ted,” he said, “what is a fruit or vegetable that you really don’t like?” Silence. I was […]

  • Teaching
  • Roles and Purposes of Higher Education

    This year my school worked with the Policy Center on the First Year of College, now known as the Gardner Institute. Campus leadership used Gardner’s guidance to scrutinize our first year students’ experience. Gardner recommends organizing the work around nine committees, one committee for each of the “dimensions” they have identified. One of the dimensions […]

  • Teaching
  • Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET)

    One of the instructors in my department came by to see me. She was concerned about her spring semester teaching evaluations from her students (SET, which we call FCQs, for faculty course questionnaires). Now that she had seen the reports, she renewed a concern she had expressed about the chaos of the transition to online […]

  • Blog
  • Women In Math

    You may have seen this flyer making the rounds on social media: According to the BYU Math Department, the flyer design was not satire, but instead, well-intentioned outreach. No hard feelings, at least from me. I visit the Math Department on our campus often. The walls have lots of interesting attractions: flyers, posters describing research, […]

  • Blog
  • Coconut Shrimp

    I was at a New Year’s party. It was catered and servers were passing trays. Everything was really yummy, including the coconut shrimp. The poor guy, though, who kept approaching people with his shrimp plate. After a time, he got a lot of polite refusals. As a parent and a person who works with young […]