April 12 Day 765: Seems Ironic

I led part 1 of a two part MAA webinar today with collaborators Ed Aboufadel, Grand Valley State; Jill Dietz, St Olaf College; and Pahdu Seshaiyer, George Mason University. We talked about best practices in faculty hiring. And I think it went pretty well.

Technologically, there were no major hiccups. We used Desmos as our presentation mode with embedded activities. Participants engaged. Important resources were shared. And as often happens—we planned too much. To keep on track, we had to cut short important conversations. It will be something to keep in mind as we plan part 2.

My favorite resource today was the Cognitive Bias Codex. There are A LOT of different biases—more than 100 named biases in the interactive codex. A good search process tries to surface negative biases and mitigate their impacts.

So what was ironic?

When checking in after a breakout room activity, most participants (mathematics faculty that have been teaching through the pandemic) were reluctant to share thoughts out loud in the main room, which surprised me. That’s another thing to keep in mind as we plan part 2.

Secondly, I am in the middle of a search for the next Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Science at UW Tacoma. It’s rather surreal to be talking about good search processes while in the middle of an active search process. I am telling webinar participants to take the time to be intentional and question what biases they bring to the table. At the same time I am rushing my own decision processes because of turnaround time, other commitments, and looming deadlines.

At this point, all I can do is my best. And trust in the rubric.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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