I work at a huge institution. In 2009, there were more than 45 000 students and 10 000 faculty members at UBC, and enrollment continues to climb. We’re split into a handful of Faculties and Schools and many Departments.
With that many faculty members, it’s no surprise that people in different departments are doing the same things. And sometimes there’s mild hostility (or more) as different departments compete for bums-in-seats, grants, recognition and so on. Sometimes there’s a feeling of, “Why are you doing that for them? They have their own people” as if we’re giving away our department’s secrets.
And that’s too bad.
Which is why I’m so glad to be working and collaborating and sharing with a couple of colleagues who don’t live in my building.
Marina Milner Bolotin is an amazing physics teacher. I know, because we used to share an office and every day she’d say insightful things about science education that made stop and re-evaluate what I thought I knew. Occasionally, I’m happy to say, I was able to return the favour. Marina is now an Assistant Professor in Science Education at the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education. On Saturday, October 30, Marina is hosting Family Science Day in the Scarfe Building. I can’t go [damn] but I was delighted when she asked me how to run a couple of astronomy demonstrations. If you’ve got kids, or a kid’s curiosity, be sure to check it out…
I’m also lucky to have Raul Pacheco-Vega as a new friend and colleague. He’s an instructor in Department of Political Science. Our paths crossed because Raul, also known as @raulpacheco and even better known as @hummingbird604, is a setting an outstanding example of how to use social media to engage and inspire his community. Make that “communities”: academic, professional, geographic, personal,… We’ve been sharing ideas about how to communicate science in ways that engage and teach our students and our communities.
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter that Marina, Raul and I are in three different departments. As I said to Marina,
As far as I’m concerned, we’re all on the same team when it comes to inspiring and educating children (and their parents and teachers) about science.