PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century
Gary P. Radice
F21 Class of 1994 Statements Revisited
Question: What are the current challenges you are facing in your professional life?
Answer: Maintaining a productive research program is the biggest challenge. It has always been difficult, but at this stage in my career I feel like I also need to take on more leadership roles in the department and across campus. But these new responsibilities are yet another distraction from lab work. The other current challenge is a change in our curriculum that means I will be teaching more non-science majors, a population that I haven't taught often. I'm trying to learn more about their goals and expectations and rethinking my own goals and expectations for this group.
Question: What do you view as your most promising options and opportunities for the future?
Answer: I have committed myself to learning more about cognitive psychology and learning theory so that I can place my teaching on a firmer theoretical background. In other words, I have embraced the "How People Learn" approach, and I have received a small teaching grant and submitted another to support this work. So, the most promising opportunities for me in the next 5-10 years will be in this area. I hope that it will noticeably improve student learning and also result in a body of work that will be useful to others. .
Question: What will undergraduate STEM be like in 2016, given the urgency of new challenges and opportunities facing our nation?
Answer: 1) Many schools have upgraded facilities recently, or will soon. The current building boom will largely be over in 2016. 2) The new facilities, which tend to be built to support research-rich curricula, will have a big impact. In 2016, it will be rare to find undergraduate programs that don't support undergraduate research. 3) At the same time, more schools will cut back on lab experiences for non-science majors because they won't be able to justify the cost. 4) The current pressure to assess student learning will continue, and assessment will become a regular feature of departmental discussions. 5) There will be less reliance on textbooks and greater reliance on web-based resources. 6) Professors will move away from PowerPoint-style presentations as they discover that students learn better by interacting with data rather than staring at bullet points.