Driving Force

In 1973, the year I was awarded my Ph.D., two British neuroscientists published a paper in the philosophy of science literature with the most intriguing title: “

Days ago, astronomer Dr. Vera Rubin died at 88. Around the same time, the feature film Hidden Figures, about African-American women mathematicians and engineers working on the space program at NASA, was released in theaters.

How does one shake off a post-election funk?

Predictably, post-2016 election, America is talking feverishly about race, gender, and ethnicity. The sweeping talk encompasses higher education, as it should, raising questions about the university as an institution in, but not of, the community.

Like many, I have been funded by a federal research grant. More often, I was denied.

I am convinced that universities are a barometer of U.S. society. They are among the first institutions, if not the very first, to manifest societal ills (that’s good), but among the “cultural laggards” in responding with actions that recognize, if not remedy, the problem (that’s bad).
Money talks. And for STEM researchers and educators, National Science Foundation grant money bellows. Announced in February, NSF's new initiative Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) hopes to spur more than incremental gains in the careers of underrepresented students.

Sometimes data are conclusive. More often, they are preliminary, diagnostic, provocative, and point to a relationship between variables that seems to exist, but aren’t quantified. Then the conjecturing begins.

For the decades before and after the turn of the century, I served as adjunct faculty in public policy for Cornell University’s Washington Program during which third-year undergraduates got a taste of policy as interns on Capitol Hill or in the

Look up the word “dilettante” and you are apt to find definitions such as “an amateur, often one who pretends to be very knowledgeable.”  Synonyms include nonprofessional, nonspecialist, and layperson.  These would appear in contrast to “disciplinarian,” which refers (not in the punitive sense) t