Many college students who take calculus fail to earn a C or better. Could ‘active learning’ help turn things around? Math departments fail too many calculus students and do not adequately prepare those they pass.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a mentor is a trusted counsellor or guide, a tutor or coach. But the word is something of a misnomer. It originates in The Odyssey, Homer’s epic poem of the return of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, to his beloved island after the Trojan War. Mentor was Odysseus’ friend, entrusted with the care of Odysseus’ household and young son Telemachus when the king set off for Troy. Considering that under Mentor’s guardianship a host of suitors took residence in the palace, squandering the absent king’s fortune and trying to persuade his wife to marry one of them, Mentor did a less than stellar job taking care of his friend’s affairs. But Odysseus was favoured by Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who after ten long years of her protégé’s failed efforts to find his way home, decided to step in. Taking the guise of Mentor, Athena appeared to Telemachus to guide him in standing up against the suitors and in the search for his father — thus putting the name of Odysseus’ ineffectual friend in the modern lexicon.
The first time my department chair was hostile to me was during a private lunch, moments after I expressed curiosity about their field of specialisation. The second time was a humiliating email copied to college administrators. The third time was a dressing down in front of an administrative assistant. For anyone familiar with workplace bullying, this is known as “repeated mistreatment” or – more euphemistically – “escalated incivility”.
Michelangelo approached the craft of sculpting with the humble conviction that a unique and beautiful piece of art already existed within the stone, and his job was only to release it. The best mentors approach their art in the same way: helping mentees become who they want to be, not who the mentor thinks they should be. But it can be a challenge for mentors to use the Michelangelo approach when they’re mentoring someone of the opposite gender, especially when men are mentoring women. One reason for it may be that when it comes to key interpersonal skills such as listening, men sometimes struggle with the sort of active listening required to help a mentee gradually unearth her unique ideal self. To use the Michelangelo method, male mentors should beef up their listening skills, check their assumptions at the door, and practice humility.
New study shows that female professors have to deal with more requests from students asking for special favors, such as grade increases and the opportunity to re-do assignments, than male professors