President Edward Burger

Higher Ed Episodes

President Edward Burger and Jennifer Stayton of Austin National Public Radio affiliate KUT explore topics of higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain in this lively and entertaining weekly podcast.

President Edward Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton


Posted: September 16, 2018 at 6:00am

The author of a summer op-ed in the New York Times (no, not that op-ed!)  believes girls would benefit from more drilling on math to “break the cycle of dislike-avoidance-further dislike” and help them build confidence in their math skills (which research has shown are pretty similar to boys’ math skills).  In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton  discuss the op-ed’s call for gender-based additional academic practice and how to undo lingering biases about gender and academic performance.

We hope the days are long gone in which girls were considered less skilled at math and the sciences, and boys were considered under-achievers in reading and language arts. The data don’t bear those differences out, but lingerings biases may still lead some students to be treated as if they are true – or to act as if they are true.  In this episode, Ed discusses social science research that shows any effort that amplifies the bias – even by calling it out – can actually reinforce it. He also believes students should always be encouraged to improve their understanding and performance, regardless of their gender or the academic subject.

Listen on for our discussion as well as for the solution to last episode’s puzzler about the mysterious stamp switch.

This episode was recorded on Aug. 9, 2018.


Posted: September 9, 2018 at 6:00am

Remember those old film strips in school that would advance frame by frame, fueled by an annoying beep? Instructional media has certainly improved quite a bit since those days. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss if better videos make for better learning.

Ed spent much of his summer “vacation” taping a new round of instructional math videos, complete with updated graphics and special effects. But how do videos impact learning? Ed says technology alone will not make for better educational outcomes. Listen to the episode to get his thoughts on whether educational videos can be entertaining and educational or if the two should never mix.

A new season of “Higher Ed” also means a new puzzler. This one is more about logic and less about math.

This episode was recorded on August 9, 2018.


Posted: August 26, 2018 at 6:00am

The episode was originally posted on May 20, 2018.

Business and industry sometimes say they find students are not prepared for work – or the working world in general – when they graduate from college. Liberal arts institutions, meanwhile, say they are preparing flexible and well-rounded students who are ready to tackle anything. How can this disconnect be bridged? Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton explore the relationship between academia and industry in this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed.

One might assume that academia and the business world have different goals and missions and would have trouble reaching consensus on what constitutes adequate preparation. But Ed actually calls that tension “superfluous” and believes academia and industry can achieve synergy if they set aside biases about each other and keep an open dialogue.

It is also time for the solution to a puzzler about how many golf balls it would take to fill a school bus. There is actually a relatively quick and easy way to figure that out.

This episode was recorded on April 20, 2018.