Home » 2014 » February

Monthly Archives: February 2014

If You Want Normative Reporting, Reporting Needs to be Independent and Anonymous

Please forgive me for the quickie posts this week. I have bigger ones planned for the next two weeks.

I don’t have time to fully unpack this, but I think the Science Online community could stand to read this article (and the associated links therein that tell the backstory):

On Prosecutors Having Survivors of Assault Arrested: It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

The folks at #scio14 are having hushed conversation after hushed conversation about Bora and our community more broadly. I’m also hearing that there are explicit conversations about harassment policies, appropriate conduct, boundaries, and reporting. I just want to remind everyone that reporting harassment isn’t a chicken and egg issue where we can endlessly discuss which comes first: creating the supportive environment that enables reporting, or reporting itself. Yes, there will always be some folks who will decide to report in the face of all sorts of personal, career, and physical risks. But moving towards a workplace culture where reporting is normative behavior cannot happen before the workplace has safer ways of reporting and zero tolerance for bad behavior.

So I would encourage those of you at #scio14 this week to make your conversations less hushed, and to start to talk about how one might create an independent, anonymous reporting mechanism for harassment. Some of the encouragement I am hearing that people need to report feels a little victim-blame-y. If we aren’t setting the reporting mechanism up for success we can’t expect people with the least safety and the most to lose to suck it up and tell someone when they have been harassed.


Students Blog Evolutionary Medicine

Just wanted to draw your attention to this year’s student-run class blog for my Evolutionary Medicine class here at the University of Illinois. I am using the same assignment and rubric as last year, which is modified version of Mark Sample’s blog assignment at Profhacker (I wrote about this last year here).

Check it out and let my students know what you think of their work!

You can also check out last year’s blog, as well as the individual blogs that students wrote as part of their semester-long projects (The Daily Filling, A Little R&R, Cuisine for Comfort). This semester two Honors students will also be hosting individual blogs. Once they are up and running, I’ll share those as well.

This year instead of the 80/20 projects I am trying a class-wide problem-based learning assignment (PBL) for the second half of the semester. We are doing small group PBLs every Friday for the first half of the semester to warm up to the process.

Link love

It’s been a while since I shared what I’ve been reading. Here are a bunch of things that have made me think, or helped me think, in the last few months.


Normalizing the existence of women and the work they do

Here is an archive of images of women doing science

Here is an archive of images of women breastfeeding


Teaching in higher education

Teaching while black

“My student’s performance of the sassy me was meant as a compliment and in a mode she wanted to emulate in spirit if not in style. We were having fun, and I liked her too much to ruin her enjoyment of my “sassiness,” my “fierceness,” my “no-you-din’t-ness,” but it stayed with me and had me wondering about that space between what I perform (however badly) in the classroom and what is projected onto me and how those are inevitably racialized by both me and my students. Recently a student wrote, “She is the SHIT! Know DAT!” on the back of one of my evaluations, and, after laughing aloud in my office, I had to wonder what about my teaching of 19th-century British literature invites this interpretation of me.”

An Invitation for Engagement: Assigning and Assessing Field Notes to Promote Deeper Levels of Observation

Navigating Difficult Dialogue in the Classroom


Role modeling

Re: “When I grow up, I want to be a zookeeper!” and other girly things

The Year I Didn’t Retweet Men: Being mindful about whose voices I amplify

Goodbye Academia


Trolls and other jerks

Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People (paper to which this article refers here)

Please Consider This a Polite Spanking

Here are some quotes from a manuscript review shared in the above post. That means an editor at Global Ecology and Biogeography let these through, which I find shameful. [I misunderstood — the review did not happen at that journal, but it’s where the manuscript was eventually published.]

“the study was done on less than 10% of the appropriate species […] Such academic laziness is inexcusable and scandalous

“there are many instances where the authors appear to pull the wool over the reader’s eyes

“This is another example of embarrassingly obvious laziness.

“That goes beyond even forgivable bending of the truth

“If any of the authors were thinking

“Please consider this a polite spanking.”


Miscellaneous science

Building Babies press briefing from AAAS. Those of you who are teachers may want to consider springing for the actual session – it’s $50 for six great talks.

5 Psychological Studies that Require a Second Look

Breast Cancer’s Latest Saga: Misfearing and Misplaced Goalposts

Male Sexual Orientation Influenced by Genes, Study Shows. I just had to share an article that wins this month’s award for most vaguely accurate title.

AAAS Happenings: Ladyparts and Roller Derby Shenanigans

I’m attending the AAAS Meetings in Chicago this year in both my capacities as a scientist: as someone who does reproductive physiology research and as a science communicator. And it all happens tomorrow!

Check out the press briefing today for the Building Babies session. Katie Hinde is the symposium organizer, and fellow session speakers are Julienne Rutherford, Lee Gettler, Erin Kinnally and Robin Nelson.

Wake up early to come see us in the Regency C room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the session starts at 8:30am!

Then tomorrow night, I will reprise my role as vaginal pH spokeswoman at the Ig Nobels event, performing a 24/7 talk. Better yet, Scicurious will be giving one too!

Then, because one always needs more smart women at any platform to celebrate science, I will be coordinating a roller derby skin microbiome transfer demo with Twin City Derby Girls leaguemate Polly Nator… and some special guests from the Chicago Outfit league as well!

So make sure you come to the Annals of Improbable Research event at 8pm in the Rouge Room (as in Moulin Rouge!) at the Fairmont Chicago.

%d bloggers like this: