[EAS]Eying Harvard

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Mar 9 02:09:36 EST 2001

Subject:   Eying Harvard

Dear Colleagues -

While waiting for my periodic eye checkup yesterday, I picked up a
copy of Harvard Magazine <http://www.harvard-magazine.com/>. 
Besides finding it an estimable publication for projecting
institutional activity and purpose, two articles caught my (slowly
dilating) eye:

Whether prompted by the Harvard's search for a new president, or by
the realization that we live in institutionally transforming times,
the "Whither Harvard" perspectives in this article are equally
applicable to Yale. The last one, "Transforming Technologies",
discussed five forces that will have great impact on the

discusses a new book by Richard J. Light "Making the Most of
College: Students Speak Their Minds." As I have gotten much older
than the students, I feel at an increasing remove from how they
think about their college experience. (My own children certainly
reminded me of it often enough.) 
The article's vignettes affirm what my stint as Director of
Undergraduate Studies for EE has already made me realize more
strongly: "engage, engage, engage." The classroom, the lab, the
office, the lunch at a college, all should be venues for as much
personal interactive learning contact with students as possible.
Advisers are "advised" to help students realize their interests
outside the classroom. Lectures from Mount Olympus cast only a
distant light. 
My copy of the book is already on order from Amazon.com. I believe
it will help me understand better how students evaluate prospective
courses and teachers, and how we as instructors can better convey
what we find exiting about our areas of expertise.

So what started as idle waiting room reading actually turned out to
be quite interesting. And, oh yes, my eyes are ok.

All best,  --Peter Kindlmann

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