Kelvin Droegemeier nominated to lead OSTP

The news posted in Science, here. To my mind, he is a superb choice. Kudos to the White House. Kelvin was Vice Chair of the National Science Board during the first two years of my tenure leading BIO at NSF and I was always struck by his thoughtful way of working through really big challenges, while at the same time pushing everybody forward. He is a  really fine atmospheric scientist and his credibility with the community will help him enormously.

If he is confirmed, the key question is whether he will have direct access to the President and further, what the quality of those interactions may be.

STEM education is different

According to Physics Nobelist Carl Wieman it’s a lot like “effective coaching”. This in his testimony to Congress after stepping down from OSTP–story is here.

I couldn’t agree more. The fundamental problem with STEM education as its practiced here in the US is the notion that that effective pedagogy involves lecturing in front of a class. My best chemistry professor at Amherst College taught quantum chemistry by having us solve progressively more difficult problems, all while being available (seemed like 24/7–and before the Internet) to coach us through what seemed impossible.