Episodes

Higher Ed: Resiliency Of The System Tested in 2018-2019 School Year
Posted: June 30, 2019 at 6:00am

The 2018-2019 school year saw allegations of cheating in college admissions in the “Operation Varsity Blues” case . Rising tuition costs and student debt levels have the attention of several 2020 presidential hopefuls. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the state of higher education in 2019.

Ed acknowledges in many ways 2018-2019 was a difficult school year. He says cost is always a concern and has more recently called into question the viability of the higher education business model.

“Is this industry as it is currently crafted a sustainable and viable thing?” Ed asks. “We know through the news over the past year the answer is no because we have seen many schools, some of them with high profile names, that have announced that they’re not going to be taking any more students and they’re going to close up.”

Ed says that business model has always seemed like a scary investment for many families because the costs are high and the results are not immediate.

“We’re talking about future value. We’re talking about future opportunities which I can’t tell you right now,” says Ed. “If you say ‘Oh, Ed I’m going to enroll in Southwestern University. Tell me exactly what’s going to happen to me.’ I can’t.”

But Ed says despite ups and downs over time, liberal arts has just about always delivered on its promise to help students become their best selves if they make that investment.

“Most importantly, you have to trust yourself,” Ed suggests. “You have to say ‘I have the confidence to realize that I am going to evolve over time’ and to be open to that growth and to be open to that change and to be open for that evolution.”

Ed says, though, despite the scandals and concerns of the past year, he has seen some bright spots. He points to inreasing support on campuses around the country for students after the admission process once they have arrived. Ed also sees more efforts to bring equity to campus programs such as internships.

Listen to the episode for Ed’s take on the health of higher education in 2019. It is also time for a new puzzler. No math is needed for this one; it is pure story and some sleuthing.

This episode was recorded on April 23, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: How Practices For A Healthy Mind Could Promote A Healthy Body Too
Posted: June 2, 2019 at 6:00am

There is more talk in education these days about wellness and more attention to stress, anxiety and other factors that can impede learning. But there is less talk about the ways that good learning practices might improve health. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the role of learning and education in wellness.

There are plenty of other subjects we learn to master, so why not health and wellness?

Ed believes that health and wellness information could – and should – be offered at a micro level outside of school. A lot of that kind of information is certainly available already. The challenge is to make it accessible and impactful.

“It’s gotta be bite-sized. You can’t have a full lecture or something,” says Ed. “And it’s got to be meaningful and thought-provoking…. it has to get you.”

For instance, Ed suggests reinforcing a message delivered by a doctor or health care provider with a short video or other educational element; that model is not unlike lessons from a teacher reinforced by text or other materials.

“One two-minute video is not going to do anything,” Ed admits. “But if it kind of is a continuation that keeps moving maybe it stays in your head a little bit, and we become more mindful and maybe we can change.”

Listen to the full episode to hear more about how Ed believes learning and mindfulness can be brought to bear on health issues. It is also time for the solution to last episode’s sneaky arithmetic puzzler.

This episode was recorded on April 23, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Need For Global Connections Prompts Campuses To Examine Role In Local Community Too
Posted: May 19, 2019 at 6:00am

A “Higher Ed ” listener who teaches English in Osaka, Japan wrote in requesting a discussion of what the listener characterizes as “the tension between servicing the local community near an institution and appealing to international elements (students, partnerships, etc.).” In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how campuses view their role in the local community and how that is balanced with farther flung connections.

You might have heard about “town-gown” relations, meaning the way a college or university interacts with the community where it is housed. Maybe this listener is curious about “globe-gown” relations?

Ed says he believes the focus of any higher education institution should, of course, be on the students, and any other relationships evolve from there.

“I believe that institutions of higher learning are designed for one purpose,” says Ed, “which is to inspire individuals to become better versions of themselves. And while the focus is on the students, obviously, I think that should spill out into the community at large.”

Ed believes international relationships do give both parties – both the institution and the country where connections are being made – an opportunity to grow.

“The idea of going out of one’s comfort zone and exploring a world and exploring people,” Ed says,” I think is a powerful way of learning for everybody, including those who are being visited.”

Listen to the full episode to hear more about how institutions balance “town-gown” and “globe-gown” relationships. It is also time for a new puzzler. Listen closely; this one contains a subtle arithmetic twist.

This episode was recorded on April 23, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: The Community-Building Power Of Ritual In Education
Posted: May 5, 2019 at 6:00am

The pomp and circumstance of graduation brings students, teachers, staff and family together to celebrate achievement and usher students onto their next steps in learning and life. That ritual not only honors students but also creates a shared opportunity for a campus community to strengthen bonds. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the importance of ritual in education.

Graduation is probably the first ceremony that comes to mind when thinking about the rituals associated with education. Commencement certainly exists to celebrate achievements and bestow accolades. But Ed believes that ceremony also speaks to a deeper human truth.

“As human beings, we believe in community,” says Ed. “So the idea of having the community come together, which includes your family and your friends and your teachers and your colleagues who are students…. it’s a shared moment.”

Certainly the basic business of graduation could be done with no pomp and circumstance simply by mailing out diplomas at the end of the school year. Ed believes though that the entire community – not just the graduates – benefits from sharing in students’ triumphs.

“In today’s world, where everything moves so fast and everyone’s on their electronic devices,” says Ed, “to take a moment to come together as a community – whatever that definition means for that context of community, live in the same space – and celebrate that triumphant moment…it just uplifts the spirit. And so we want those moments of uplifting memories to hold onto.”

Most, if not all, of the rituals in education involve celebrating positive achievements. Left to his own devices to invent a new ritual in education, Ed would turn the focus to elevating something that is normally not celebrated – what he calls “effective failure” from which we learn lessons.

“I think the idea of having a big pomp and circumstance and genuine celebration when things don’t go right,” Ed believes, “as long as we have come to a place where we had an epiphany and we’re going to move forward in a way that will make us better – I think we should be celebrating that.”

Listen to the full episode for more on the role of ritual in education and what title Ed would give to his new ceremony. It is also time for the solution to last episode’s anagram puzzler. Listen closely, though, as it may not be as complicated as it first sounded.

This episode was recorded on April 2, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: A Mindset Shift Can Elicit Satisfaction And Even Joy From Intellectual Struggle
Posted: April 28, 2019 at 6:00am

Learning is not always easy. Some subjects, concepts and teachers are just plain tough. Mastering that material can be frustrating and even discouraging. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger about how a shift in mindset can help learners at any age harness lessons, power and even joy from those struggles.

Challenges and frustrations that we encounter in and out of the classroom can elicit a variety of emotions including anger and frustration. Not wanting to wallow in negativity, we attempt to move on from that sensation as quickly as we can.

“We look upon those things, and those emotions, as negative,” Ed notes. “People are saying that they want to avoid and we want to get past it.”

But what if those negative feelings were framed differently – perhaps as fuel instead of foil?

“Imagine a mindset where the idea of struggle generates a positive emotion. The feeling of frustration generates something that helps you move you forward, ” says Ed. “Imagine a world inside one’s mind where those feelings … enhance our learning and drive us to go further and inspire us to reach new levels rather than squelch our interest or enthusiasm.”

Ed encourages students struggling with a difficult subject or concept to harness the power of that conflict to assist their learning.

“What if we looked upon those emotions and tried to use them as empowering tools to continue the struggle and to move beyond the frustration” Ed wonders “by using the frustration as a catapult to push us and throw us into a new place?”

Ed believes applying mindfulness to this endeavor can actually propel learners beyond simply converting their frustration into fuel.

“If we intentionally acknowledge and then try to make those moments of frustration or struggle joyful, we can,” Ed asserts.

Joyful? Listen to the full episode for more on extracting joy from the struggles of learning. And prepare for a new puzzler – anagram-style – that might test that idea of power and joy born from struggle!

This episode was recorded on April 2, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Enjoying And Embracing Conflict (And Other Leadership Lessons Learned)
Posted: April 14, 2019 at 6:00am

A “Higher Ed ” podcast listener recently wrote in with an intriguing question for Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger : as a university president, does Ed “see himself as more of a leader or manager? How does he differentiate the two concepts and does he place more emphasis on one area or another?” In this episode, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talks with Ed about what it means to lead and manage on and off campus.

Ed has clear points of differentiation between how he sees the duties of a leader and those of a manager.

A leader: “It’s about thinking about the mission, thinking about what the direction of the instution or the project – whatever it is – is, and making sure that within a univese of distraction that we do our best not to be distracted by the noise and the bells and the ringing and the lights trying to take away that which we’re supposed to be doing. In this proposition [education], it’s about changing people’s lives and making them better versions of themselves.”

A manager: “Being a manager is the art … of making sure an organization is running smoothly, fairly, safely, efficiently and within all the budgetary constraints that come along with any organization.”

Given those definitions, Ed believes the role of a university president encompasses both leader and manager.

As per the listener’s question, which one does Ed tend toward?

Ed says he does the work he does “for the innovation and education that we can accomplish.”

So, more on the “leader” side, for sure, though Ed does concede a lot of “imagination and idea energy” is required to manage successfully.

Ed says he often turned to the late political scientist and leadership studies innovator James MacGregor Burns for insight about leading successfully. Burns’ primary pieces of advice:

1). Focus on mission and goals

2). Choose good colleagues and associates

3). Expect, enjoy and embrace conflict

Ed says he understands the first two but still struggles with confronting confict rather than avoiding it. Listen to the full episode for more on leading and managing in and out of the classroom. The solution to last week’s “guest puzzler” submission about digits will also be revealed.

This episode was recorded on April 2, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Ethics, Authenticity and Education – Takeaways From The College Admissions Scandal
Posted: April 7, 2019 at 6:00am

Allegations of cheating and bribery in connection with college admissions have brought renewed scrutiny to just how that process works. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger to get his response to the story and his take on maintaining integrity in the process.

Ed says the accusations made in connection with alleged cheating at some universities in the United States raise several concerns for him.

“First, there’s just an ethical question,” says Ed, “about boy, what are we teaching young people today about doing the right thing and living good lives?”

Ed says secondly, the situation sends a disturbing message about using shortcuts to get ahead.

“There’s an issue about the value of hard work,” Ed adds, “and setting goals and realizing those goals when that’s possible. And when it’s not possible, to learn from that and realize other goals.”

Ed also has a very visceral response to the allegations from the point of view of an educator.

“My emotional reaction is one of offense,” says Ed. “It’s because, how do these families who are accused of these things, of this behavior – how do they define what formal education means? By their alleged actions, they’re defining formal education as a piece of paper.”

Ed strongly believes what formal education delivers to students does not depend on the “name” of the school.

“Education should be an individualized experience,” Ed says. “Even when you look at some of these generic rankings, they have certain metrics but they’re not measuring for an individual human being. And that’s why there are so many schools out there and that’s why there are so many people at those variety of schools. It’s important to pick the best fit.”

Listen to the full episode for more on how students can discern that best fit. Also, the puzzler is back after an extended Spring Break. Who is our guest puzzle provider for the next few episodes? Listen on to find out!

This episode was recorded on April 2, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Learning To Discern Your True Calling
Posted: March 31, 2019 at 6:00am

Many people may regard “vocation” as a job, employment, or occupation. But the word’s Latin root (vocare meaning “to call”) speaks to a deeper definition related to a passion or true calling. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton explore the concept of a “calling” in life, and how we can learn to be attuned to that message within us.

When Jennifer was an undergraduate student in college, she was certain she was going to become a psychologist. When Ed was an undergraduate student, he was certain he was going to become a lawyer.

Well, neither one of them followed the path they thought they were going to pursue. What happened along the way? Did something go wrong for both of them?

Quite the contrary, Ed would argue. He says one of the ways to discern a true “calling” in life is to remain open to opportunities when they present themselves.

“We can’t be so intellectually stubborn as to think that the thought we had when we were eight years old is also going to be the exact same thought we’re going to have when we’re forty-five. That’s just not right,” says Ed. “The point of a high-impact educational experience that’s all about intellectual and personal growth is about challenging those basic assumptions.”

If this exercise of discernment feels like a struggle, Ed is quick to point out there is not necessarily only one path for each of us waiting to be discovered.

“You might pick the right one that generates enormous happiness. You might pick another one that generates a lot of happiness, and maybe there’s another thing you could have done that would have made you more happy or more satisfied,” Ed says. “You have to come to peace with all of that and realize there are there multiple pathways.”

At the heart of determining one’s true calling?

“Optimize your own personal satisfaction,” Ed believes.

That may sounds good in theory, but what about the reality of earning a living and paying bills? Listen to the full episode for further discussion on the tension between pursuing a passion and the realities of life.

No puzzler this week! It is still on an extended Spring Break but will return next week.

This episode was recorded on Feb. 23, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Trust And Communication Can Help “Helicopter” Parents Land Safely
Posted: March 10, 2019 at 6:00am

The idea of “helicopter” parenting may not have a formal definition. But we all have a pretty good sense of it when we encounter it – those parents who seem to control and hover too closely over many aspects of their children’s lives, often to the detriment (and sometimes embarrassment) of those children. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton take a discussion about helicopter parenting to a live audience of – yes – parents and students at Southwestern.

First of all, Ed believes a couple of things about “helicopter” parenting: it has always been around, perhaps exacerbated in more recent times by the abundance and reach of personal technology. And, it can come from a place of wanting what is best for children. But that concept of what is best for children, and how to achieve it, can be a sticking point.

“I think the question is: ‘what’s the definition of what’s best?’,” says Ed. “And if you take away all the independence and agency, are you really helping, or in some sense are you manufacturing a problem for the future?”

So how can parents back off from such close monitoring but still help their children learn and develop skills to maneuver through life? Ed believes setting an environment of trust and open communication will go a long way.

So will helping children establish realistic expectations about life before they head out on their own.

“Life is really a roller coaster, but certainly one’s undergraduate formal career is honestly a roller coaster of that sort,” says Ed. “You get to these peaks which are really exciting and you’re really happy and you want to stay there forever…. And then all of a sudden, you go way down and something awful happens… Instead of thinking about that as a down moment, I think we need to realize that life…. is a roller coaster. So those peaks and valleys are going to happen. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when…. It’s the  downturns where the real learning can happen.”

Listen to the full episode to hear more of the discussion with some college parents about easing off of helicopter parenting. And hear some answers to a provocative question for the future: what might happen when a generation of children with hovering parents become parents themselves?

No puzzler this week. It took off early for Spring Break but will be back in a few weeks!

This episode was recorded on Feb. 23, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: The Issues Brought Up By Safe Spaces, Trigger Warnings And Controversial Campus Speakers
Posted: March 3, 2019 at 6:00am

Safe spaces. Trigger warnings. Disinvited speakers. These campus issues got the attention of a “Higher Ed ” podcast listener who wrote in asking about what he has observed to be the proliferation of them. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton address a listener’s question about campus controversies.

A “Higher Ed ” listener wrote in asking for Ed’s take on what the listener described as “the proliferation of so-called trigger warnings, safe spaces, and demonstrations that aim to force administrators to cancel an invitation to a speaker because their ideas are controversial.”

First of all, a few definitions.

Trigger warning ” is definied by Merriam-Webster as “a statement cautioning that content (as in a text, video, or class) may be disturbing or upsetting.”

Safe space ” is definied by Merriam-Webster as “a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.”

In answering the listener, Ed acknowledges that these are complicated issues and a generic response does not suffice to cover all of them. But he does explain some factors that can come into play surrounding these and other occurances such as whether a certain speaker is invited to campus or not:

*Public vs. private institutions: Public institutions may have to adhere to certain rules about allowing anyone to speak on campus. Private institutions may have more freedom to exercise discretion about inviting or disinviting speakers.

* Class vs. event: Compelling a student to experience a certain speaker in a required classroom setting differs from a campus event which students, faculty, staff and others can choose to attend or not.

* Taking sides: Ed says he believes we are living in an “age of extremism” when people are less likely to engage thoughtfully with those who have differing views. He believes we are quick to label others without at least trying to understand their thoughts. (Ed notes he is not referring to hate speech and other obviously extreme, offensive examples).

Listen to the full episode to hear more of the discussion. What happens when a speaker is invited to a campus and then distressing news emerges about that speaker on social media? Listen on for thoughts on that as well as the solution to the latest puzzler. The best way to get the solution? Slow down and listen very carefully – which Ed suggests might serve us well in many arenas outside the puzzler!

This episode was recorded on Jan. 25, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Learning To Map “Baby” Steps To Reach Bigger Goals
Posted: February 24, 2019 at 6:00am

For many people, goal-setting is an annual ritual perhaps fueled by the New Year and a commitment to make personal or professional improvements. But creating truly meaningful and achievable goals is a more complicated undertaking than simply tossing together a life “to-do” list. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton answer a listener’s question about learning to craft and meet relevant goals.

A Higher Ed listener wrote in as she was struggling to fill out her new planner for 2019. “I am very good at completing tasks that are given to me,” she wrote. “But here I am thinking about setting goals for myself and I am unsure of what that means , or what are the steps to take. I actually feel kind of dumb for asking this.”

Not at all! Setting and reaching goals is something that can be learned; it may not necessarily be an intuitive process.

Ed says a goal is really the envisioning of a “future potential place” where someone wants to be. That may be easy to imagine, but it not necessarily as easy to think about how to get there. Where to start? Ed says first, to think big, you might actually want to think small.

“To move yourself, you have to create the intermediate steps that are required… that are not that taxing and dramatic, like a resolution,” says Ed. “But rather, little things that I can do and then have that become the standard and the norm and then incrementally change.”

Other tips for leaning to set and actually achieve goals:

* Think of goals as moving toward something rather than away from something. “I want to feel better physically” is a different framework than “I need to lose weight and exercise more.”

* Understand that goals change over time. As one goal is reached, the next goals on the list may need to be altered. Be open to flexible goals.

* Keep a meta-goal in mind as you move through the smaller steps to reach a goal.

Listen to the full episode to hear more about goals and to get the latest puzzler. It may sound easy at first, but be ready for a twist along the way!

This episode was recorded on Jan. 25, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Have We Entered A Geological “Age Of Humans?”
Posted: February 17, 2019 at 6:00am

Earth’s millions of years of existence are divided into different time periods that chronicle its geological development. You may remember studying those in school (Cenozoic era, anyone?). But what is impacting earth right now? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the call for an “Age of Humans” designation to acknowledge the impact of people – and how to study that.

Southwestern University is getting ready to host its biannual Brown Symposium later in February. The topic this time around is “The Anthropocene.”

Huh?

The idea is to discuss the profound changes the Earth is undergoing right now at, for the first time say some scientists and historians, the hands of humans. Because of that, there is a push to call our current times the “Age of Humans” (a.k.a the Anthropocene).

Ed says the main idea of the symposium is to look at the impacts humans are having on the planet and to take an  interdisciplinary approach to exploring questions and looking at solutions. Some of the disciplines represented in the symposium include Environmental Studies, Religion and Art.

Does the very word “symposium” bring about a wave of yawns?

Ed encourages people to resist that antiquated thought about academic gatherings. He says they are a time to congregate, share ideas and learn about points of view different from our own.

Listen to the entire episode for more on an interdisciplinary approach to studying the “Age of Humans” and the impacts on learning when people gather to share thoughts and ideas outside the classroom.

This episode was recorded on Jan. 25, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: “Teacher’s Pet.” “Know-It-All.” “Brown-Noser.” How Labels Impact Learning
Posted: February 10, 2019 at 6:00am

“Teacher’s pet.” “Know-it-all.” “Brown-noser.” These are just some of the terms students lob at each other in (and out) of school – especially at students who demonstrate strong mastery of a subject or are enthusiastic in class. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton   explore how and why those labels are used and why they might not pack the punch they used to.

One of the assumptions underlying the use of labels such as those is that it is not cool to be smart or active in class discussion. Ed remembers that was certainly the case when he was in school.

“It was definitely…. ‘you’re teacher’s pet, you’re a brown-noser,’” says Ed. “And therefore you’re now ostracized because you’re not cool.”

Ed says labels – either positive or negative – cannot help but impact students’ learning and experiences in the classroom.

“If someone is looked at as ‘wow – that person is so cool, that person knows everything’ then I think it actually amplifies that and encourages them to go on,” says Ed. “And when you have a student who is called ‘oh, that person is dumb and doesn’t know any of the answers’ or that person is just trying to impress the teacher – and is a ‘teacher’s pet’ – then it actually I think stifles that creativity and that potential intellectual growth, which is really, really sad.”

Those labels may be losing some of their impact, though, as Ed sees a trend toward more appreciation of participation and engagement in the classroom.

“At all grade levels now, knowing the answer; raising your hand; engaging with the teacher or professor or instructor; is actually kind of a cool thing,” says Ed. “I think this is one of the few directions where I think we have actually evolved and made forward progress in how we view…. being engaged and trying and being open to learning.”

Listen to the full episode to hear more about the evolution of labels and attitudes about learning and classroom engagement. There is also a new puzzler that will require your active participation to solve.

This episode was recorded on Jan. 25, 2019.



 

Higher Ed: Couldn’t We All Use A Little Help? The Impact Of Effective Mentoring
Posted: February 3, 2019 at 6:00am

What comes to mind when you hear the word “mentor?” Perhaps a bespectacled older teacher or other professional offering sage advice to a younger student? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton   discuss what makes a good mentor (and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with age or specific experience).

Ed wants to make a few things clear about mentors and mentoring up front.

First of all, mentors and role models are not the same thing.

“When I think of a role model, that person can be far away, could be someone who I don’t even know but I aspire to be, or I see and see elements of that I want to replicate, ” says Ed. “A mentor is much closer. There is a person who not only do I know, but the person has taken the time to know me and then to offer wisdom, counsel, advice, guidance and so forth.”

Secondly, mentors of any age – not just more seasoned teachers and other professionals – have something to offer.

“I don’t think that a mentor necessarily has to be someone who is older than you,” Ed believes. “It’s the perspective they bring and the questions they ask and the inspiration they offer.”

Ed believes a strong mentor-mentee relationship entails much more than the exchange of information and advice.

“It’s a safe relationship where no one’s going to be judgmental,” says Ed. “But in fact, listen – ideally open mindedly – and then ask questions. Then start to say ‘Okay, let me probe you. If you really want to do that, what about this? Why are you thinking that way?’ Then all of a sudden, it provokes thought, which is of course what all things should do.”

Listen to the full episode to hear about some of Ed’s experiences being a mentor and having a mentor. He firmly believes people can benefit from a mentor’s guidance at any age or stage of school and work. It is also time to gear up for the solution to the most recent puzzler.

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Curiosity Did Not Kill The Cat
Posted: January 20, 2019 at 6:00am

What does “curiosity” mean, exactly? Most definitions center around the desire to know something. So is curiosity just the act of asking lots of questions, or is it something deeper? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss curiosity, wonderment, and if any question is ever a silly one.

What do we know already (or think we know) about curiosity? It “killed the cat,” right – implying that too much inquisitiveness about something is dangerous. Curious George stories are a more playful take on learning and exploration.

Ed defines curiosity as the “mindful act of thinking beyond whatever it is that is in front of a person…. What comes next? What led to this? Where do I go from here? It really comes down to the art of creating questions.”

But Ed puts a slight twist on that definition. He does not actually believe those questions ever have to be asked out loud.

“Curiosity is an internal thing,” Ed believes. “I talk about the art of creating questions. You don’t have to ask them to be curious. But just to be thinking about ‘why is the person doing it that way? Why does that look the way it looks? Why did the person say that and not something else? What did the person not say?’ Just having those thoughts and those questions in your own head generate the internal curiosity.”

Ed’s definition may make it sound as if we are either born with that internal instinct to create questions or we are not. Are we stuck with the level of curiosity we have at day one or can curiosity be taught?

Ed says curiosity can absolutely be taught and amplified by encouraging that internal development of questions. Listen to the full episode to hear how Ed believes curiosity can be taught and nurtured (he has specific examples from his classroom). It is also time to get into gear for a new puzzler!

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: The Biases We Bring To Information And Learning (They’re Complicated)
Posted: January 13, 2019 at 6:00am

Many external factors can impact the quality and effectiveness of a learning experience: the teacher; the other students in a class; the school’s resources; even the student’s surroundings and home. But what about the internal factors? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the biases learners themselves bring to the information and process.

This episode was inspired by an experience Ed had in the classroom not too long ago. He had given the students a quote with some pretty declarative and forceful language and asked the students to discuss it and try to figure out who said it. As the students puzzled through who the speaker might be, Ed noticed something interesting.

He had given them a quote from Helen Keller, and Ed describes it as a “very strong quote, it was a very forceful quote; it was a quote that was about positivity, but it was strong…..While the conversation was going on, they [the students] themselves gave a gender to the individual,” says Ed. “My students kept saying ‘well, he meant this and he meant that.’”

Ed says gender was not the only metric students used to process and evaluate the quote.

“People thought this must be coming from an individual who is not a force of good in their mind’s eye,” says Ed, referring to the strong language of the quote, “and so therefore said ‘I don’t like the quote that much.’ The moment that some of them discovered that Helen Keller said this, then all of a sudden they looked at it again and said ‘ Oh, well, now I actually get it and I like it.’”

Bias based on perceptions of gender or authorship are just some of what learners bring to the table in and outside of the classroom.  Listen to the full episode to hear more about bias and context and Ed’s provocative question “Is it possible that we can find interesting or good elements in people that maybe we don’t completely agree with, and how does that complicate the discussion or the conversation?”

It is also time for the solution to last week’s puzzler about slicing and dicing. Don’t worry – it’s a piece of cake!

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Want A Great, Excellent, Challenging Way To Think And Learn More Deeply? Add An Adjective
Posted: January 6, 2019 at 6:00am

Wait – you mean adding a couple of descriptive words to a particular situation, puzzle, or problem can help lead to clarity and a solution? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss this thought-provoking practice.

Well, ok, it is not quite as simple as sticking in an extra word or two when you are puzzling through a tough situation or question. Ed says it’s what you do after the word is added.

“It’s not enough to just add the adjective and move on, ” says Ed. “The goal is to add a descriptor, and then hold onto it and keep looking at it until you have an ‘ooooh’ insight. And then once you have that, then you can move onto another descriptor or eventually, actually resolve the issue because you will have so much information.”

How exactly does this work in practice?

Ed illustrates with an example from history. He points out that what was known as the “Great War” or the “War to End All Wars” was only later named “World War One.” Ed wonders what if it had been called the First World War from the very beginning? He says it would likely for most people raised the possibility of subsequent conflicts.

“That’s the point of adding the adjective,” says Ed. ” That it provokes some thought. And it turns out that often, for us to see things that are in front of us, we have to identify them and spell them out and give them a name. And so by adding the adjective of what we see around us, it allows us to see the things that are there that we otherwise would have missed.”

Sounds easy, right?  Ed warns developing this practice actually requires an investment of time but is well worth it.

“It is hard to stop and think and stop and describe and stop and engage,” says Ed. “But by practicing that, it becomes part of who we are and then we become better.”

Listen to the full episode to hear more about “adding the adjective” and to sample the first new puzzler of 2019. It is delicious!

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Developing “Intellectual Bravado” A.k.a. The Courage To Ask Any Question
Posted: December 16, 2018 at 6:00am

Ever feel like you want to ask a question, but you hold back because you think the question is stupid or you will look silly asking it? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss getting past those barriers that keep us from asking what’s on our mind.

We have all been there: a question pops into out head, but then so does the self-doubt. We fear that others will find the question stupid or elementary, and we will look foolish if we ask it. So we clam up and fervently hope that someone else will pipe up with the same query.

How can we get past that feeling that our questions are dumb?

Ed says all of us could stand to develop a little “intellectual bravado” when it comes to learning and asking questions.

What’s “intellectual bravado?”

“Intellectual bravado means that you’re brave enough to explore the outer limits of your own thinking or other people’s thinking,” says Ed, ” and you are not afraid to go beyond and to maybe be in a place that’s a little bit uncomfortable or a little bit awkward or that’s new.”

Ed says one way to get braver asking questions is to understand that questions do not need to be exceedingly sophisticated or complicated. Sometimes, he says, simple questions are the most profound.

“If we were brave enough to actually ask what seems like a foundational or fundamental question,” Ed asserts, “we actually will go deeper even though it might sound silly at first.”

Ed says a tremendous payoff results from investing more in a presentation, activity or conversation by asking questions.

“We get more out of life’s experience when we actually know we’re going to a – create a question; and b – actually going to ask it,” says Ed.

What event in Ed’s life freed him to feel like he could ask questions without fear? Listen to the full episode to find out, and to hear this week’s unusual take on a puzzler. It may prompt some questions in you!

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Does It Really Matter Where You Go To College?
Posted: December 9, 2018 at 6:00am

In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss a provocative question: does it really matter where you go to college?

The short answer to that question is “no.” Ed says he believes students can get a good education – even a great or superior education – at many accredited institutions of higher learning.

But Ed says when it comes to students finding their way and growing, he believes the right fit with the right institution is more important.

“If you’re in an environment where you do not feel that it resonates with you,” says  Ed,” then I don’t think you’re going to have that experience of growth….I think there is a difference between thriving and learning.”

Ed says a high profile school might have a name that is easily recognizable. But he says that brand awareness is not a guarantee of a good experience for every student.

“How meaningful is that name? It’s about what does that institution do for you.” says Ed. “You meet a lot of people that constantly are name-dropping their school…. they’re living in the past. I want individuals that are looking ever forward and trying to make things better.”

So who then bears the responsibility of making the higher education experience as effective as it can be – the institution, or the student?

“I think that both parties have to bring something to the table, and I think that maybe there are people that will find that is a little bit controversial,” Ed says. “And that there are students that appear on a campus and just now feel entitled to feel great and feel good and to have a nice ride.  And that’s not what it’s about.”

Listen to the episode to hear more of Ed’s thoughts on having as expansive a college experience as possible beyond just classroom learning. It is also time to reveal the answers to the last round of riddles and pave the way for the return of the puzzler.

This episode was recorded on Oct. 30, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Agree To Disagree (Respectfully) In The Classroom
Posted: December 2, 2018 at 6:00am

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about creating and maintaining healthy and respectful environments – especially in the workplace. But what about in the classroom? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the keys to keeping the classroom an open and respectful place.

Ed believes everyone in the classroom should have a role in keeping the discussion civil and the tone respectful even if there are passionate disagreements about what is being taught or discussed. But he believes the conduct of the teacher goes a long way in laying the foundation for a respectful culture. For example, Ed says he used to be more vocal and open with his instant comments and assessments about students’ answers. But he started to understand that could unintentionally stifle students’ input if they fear differing opinions might be met with lower grades.

“Allowing everyone to share their reflection or their thinking or their feelings or their interpretation, their analysis, and then let the other members of the class pick it up, to me is a more powerful way that opens the conversation. I’m trying to get people to put themselves out there in my class.”

What about when things get disrespectful, heated, or downright ugly in the classroom?

Ed says getting students to agree at the beginning of the semester to some “rules of the road” for handling classroom discussions can help ensure a healthy, respectful environment.

“At the very beginning of the course, to basically have the entire class, with ownership of the students themselves, create in some sense rules of engagement and ways that we’re going to proceed…. And some instructors actually write these things down.  They become ‘here are our guiding principles’” about how people in the classroom will treat each other  – and specifically when they disagree.

What is the one practice Ed believes everyone should embrace to help keep the classroom civil? Listen to the episode to hear more (that is a big hint right there!) and to get a new round of riddles. The more serious puzzler is still taking a break for the holidays but will be back in January.

This episode was recorded on Oct. 30, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Good Reading In And Out Of School
Posted: November 18, 2018 at 6:00am

In school, our reading choices are mostly dictated by what is assigned for classes or from reading lists. But once we are out of school, the decisions are up to us.  In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the joys and impacts of lifelong reading.

Ed believes that there are a couple of  keys to staying well read beyond our school years.

One: expand the canon of what is considered “must reads” in school and beyond.

“Those canons traditionally are Western, usually written by white dead men,” says Ed.  “What about the voices of individuals who are out there, in history and beyond, who were creative beings, or even not, but just having their story told….And so now, the question is, how do we find a balance where we can get a diversity of voices and perspectives?”

Two: read books that will push us in reading and in other arenas.

“Reading can transport you to a world where you might not be comfortable but you can actually find your way,” Ed believes. “That’s really the exciting world of ideas which can be reflected through reading.” Ed says exploring new ideas in our reading can lead us to exploring new ideas in other aspects of our lives.

What are on Ed’s and Jennifer’s bookshelves? Ed says he prefers non-fiction and likes reading about the art of comedy. But he also was completely mesmerized by the “Harry Potter”series. Jennifer also favors non-fiction but cites “The Thorn Birds” and “The World According to Garp” as favorite reads from the past.

What is the one classic series that Jennifer has never touched? And what is the one book that Ed suggests everyone read?

Listen to the full episode to find out, and to get the answers to the riddles about veggies and witches!

This episode was recorded on Oct. 30, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Taking Skills Learned In The Classroom To The Voting Booth
Posted: November 4, 2018 at 6:00am

One reason often cited by non-voters for their lack of participation goes something like this: “my vote doesn’t really count” or “how can my one vote make any difference?” Voter turnout among college-aged students is traditionally low in midterm election years. But this year is shaping up to be different . In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss how to sustain that interest even when national politics are not so charged.

Ed believes that getting voting-aged students to the polls is half the battle. The other half? Making sure they are informed voters.

“You just don’t want to have voters going in there and taking out a die and rolling it and then whatever it lands on that’s how you feel on the issue or who you decide to vote for,” says Ed.  He hopes that voters will not make their voting decisions only influenced by “sound bites or 160 characters or generic Facebook posts where we don’t even know exactly where they’re actually emanating from.”

Ed believes that student can and should take the “best practices” of learning they have acquired in classrooms over the years and apply that to the act of voting.

“Articulate what are the issues that matter to you, that are important to you,” says Ed. “And then for each one of them, try to explain why. Is it an emotional response? Is it a logical response? Am I responding because I don’t like the other side, or because I like this side?”

Ed believes that student can making voting a practice – part of the way they live their lives – by getting interested and engaged early.

Listen to the full episode to hear more about using skills honed in the classroom to make decisions in the voting booth. The puzzler is taking a break for a little while to make way for some lighter riddles. These first two are pretty easy; see if you can get them right away.

This episode was recorded on Oct. 30, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Better Problem Solving Through Puzzles
Posted: October 28, 2018 at 6:00am

Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger calls his “Effective Thinking and Creative Puzzle-Solving” class at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, the “Seinfeld” of classes. Why? Burger claims the class is about nothing. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss why that kind of class is actually about something pretty profound.

Ed has a new book out called “Making Up Your Own Mind: Thinking Effectively through Creative Puzzle Solving .” The book is based on that class that Ed teaches at Southwestern University. And yeah, he says the class is about nothing.

Ed calls the class “the Seinfeld of the curriculum because it’s about nothing and tries to teach everything. There’s no short term content,” Ed says. “It is all based on long-term practices of thinking and living. The puzzles themselves are irrelevant. They’re not important; they’re just a playground to practice these ways of thinking.”

Ed maintains that working through puzzlers and riddles practices our brains for handling bigger-ticket questions in the real world.

“There are puzzles in our everyday lives. There are puzzles in our professional lives, in our personal lives,” says Ed. “A lot of times, people cast them in a negative light and call them problems. But the truth is, life is just one puzzle after another, and the more we practice puzzle-solving on these whimsical ones, the more we can apply those exact same practices to the more serious and important ones.”

Listen to the full episode to hear more about Ed’s journey in writing the book, and to get the solution to the puzzler about time pieces and moving parts. Did you figure it out? If not, you are in good company; Ed and Jennifer did not get it, either!

This episode was recorded on Sept. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Speaking Up And Speaking Out In The Classroom (And Elsewhere)
Posted: October 21, 2018 at 6:00am

Remember the character on the 1970’s tv sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter ” – Arnold Horshack – who enthusiastically waved his hand in the air and bounced up and down in his seat because he always wanted to answer questions in class? For many students, speaking up in school is actually something they try to avoid. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the dynamics of classroom dialogue.

Believe it or not, Ed says that he did not enjoy answering questions in class, especially when he got to graduate school. He says he felt self-conscious, intimidated and insecure in a classroom full of math scholars. Ed says one strategy that can work for some instructors to bring students out of their shells is “cold calling” on students to answer, whether they have raised their hands or not.

“I know how I want [students] to feel” in the classroom, Ed says. “Some instructors might want people to feel very comfortable and very safe and so forth.  I want them to be on their toes and never to know what is going to come next so they have to be ready.”

What about the opposite situation: students who answer constantly in class at the expense of others?

Ed says that can be a disruption so he developed a strategy for handling it. Ed says he would praise those students for their participation but tell them they no longer needed to raise their hands, since Ed knew that the students knew the answer. He promised those students that he would still call on them from time to time, but was letting them in on the “inside” of how the classroom works. Ed says the students felt appreciated and included, and the strategy allowed other students in the class to find their voices.

Listen to the full episode to hear more about what can be a delicate balance of classroom dialogue, and to hear a new puzzler. This one is really more of a riddle, and you will need to take your time on it.

This episode was recorded on Sept. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Why The College Major May Matter Less Than We’ve Always Thought
Posted: October 14, 2018 at 6:00am

Choosing a major. It is a rite of passage for higher education students, and it can feel like a … dare we say it … major decision with lifelong implications. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss what could – and sometimes should – go into choosing a major plan of study.

Sometime in a student’s higher education career, a decision has to be made about a major – that set of courses that a student chooses in order to study a subject more deeply. For students, the decision can feel like a significant, irrevocable one that can impact the rest of their lives. But Ed suggests dialing back the stress to make that one, perfect decision.

“The major itself is not as important as the experience and the growth opportunities that come from that major,” says Ed. “That’s why you hear so many people, especially in the liberal arts and science, talk about how it doesn’t even matter what your major is. As long as you’re involved and interested and engaged, you will have that growth experience that will allow you to become better and to figure out the next thing you do, and that leads you to the next thing…. because you’re constantly going toward your passion.”

Ed also believes timelines that require students to declare a major at a specific point in time during their college career can discourage academic exploration and excitement about discovering new fields of interest.

“I’d like to see people declaring majors when they really are intellectually fired up about the thing, rather than it’s time to do it.”

Listen to the full episode for more about the process of academic discovery that can lead to declaring a major. It is also time for the solution to the puzzler about escaping a room while avoiding scorching heat and a fire-breathing dragon. Think it can’t be done? Wait til you hear the oh so simple solution!

This episode was recorded on Sept. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Self Promotion In Academia
Posted: October 7, 2018 at 6:00am

A provocative column this year in The Chronicle of Higher Education laments the rise of what the author calls the “promotional intellectual.” Dr. Jeffrey J. Williams of Carnegie Mellon University believes the old adage in academia of “publish or perish” has evolved into “promote or perish.” In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss promoting one’s academic work.

Ed is quick to distinguish between what he acknowledges is probably uncomfortable for many academics – self promotion – and the enthusiastic sharing of an academic subject or idea.

“It should be about: I am passionate about this particular suite of ideas or this set of human knowledge and I believe there is power and there is import to have other people embrace it, too ,” says Ed. “And if it happens to not be in fashion today, then I’ve got to go out and I’ve got to promote the thing that I’m passionate about.”

But Ed believes “it’s one thing to say, in my case, I love Math and I want everyone to appreciate Math, even if you don’t love it versus I want everyone to love Ed Burger.” He says he’s “less interested in that, which I don’t think serves the kind of greater good, as much as saying look, here’s a suite of ideas I’ve spent a lifetime learning. Let me share the joy of it with you and the power of it with you versus hey, here I am. Let me tell you how awesome I am.”

Listen to the entire episode for a further discussion about promotion in academia and to hear a new puzzler. Ready to escape from a fire-breathing dragon?

This episode was recorded on Sept. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Effective Correction
Posted: September 30, 2018 at 6:00am

Most people do not necessarily enjoy being told when they are wrong. The formal education experience can at times seem like it is full of those moments – between corrections, grades, comments and evaluations.  In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss ways to correct without rejecting.

Those big, red X’s splashed all over a Math test, or those comments scribbled in the margins of papers, can lead students to focus on the fact that they got an answer wrong, instead of the fact that they have a learning opportunity to master some material. And nasty comments from a student on a teacher or course evaluation may not motivate teachers to do better.

“If someone just says too much work, or, you know, Burger was so mean I can’t stand him, that’s not particularly helpful” says Ed referring to student evaluations of teachers. ” And even if that’s followed by an actual interesting idea, I might dismiss it a little bit because I see the context.”

So how can students and teachers – and anybody, really – effectively convey ideas for improvements?

Ed has some ideas:

Listen to the full episode for more thoughts about both giving and receiving constructive corrections and to hear the solution to the puzzler about the digits of our left hand. Still trying to multiply the number of left hand digits of everyone on the planet? Turns out there is a quick and easy way to figure it out.

This episode was recorded on Aug. 9, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: How Much Is Too Much On A College Application?
Posted: September 23, 2018 at 6:00am

High school seniors have something extra added to their workload in the fall semester. Those who are going on to college have to navigate the college application process. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton dissect that annual dash to compile transcripts, test scores, essays and teacher recommendations.

In an effort to set themselves apart from other applicants, students may be tempted to show breadth and depth in everything they have tackled in high school.

“I think if you’re just vomiting out a long list of activities and successes and awards and things, I think that then gets blurred over,” says Ed. ” I think the thing that an individual should be doing here is telling a story. They should be telling a story about their recent history – the highs and the lows and how they see themselves as having changed through their education up to that point.”

Ed says he believes that story should also include students’ assertions about why they think they are a good fit for the schools where they apply. He encourages specificity about what has attracted a student to a particular institution ( think “the soft serve ice cream in the dining hall”!) rather than generic platitudes about a school.

Listen to the full episode for more suggestions about navigating the college application process (are interviews still recommended or not?) as well as the new puzzler. Lefties unite! This puzzler is all about the digits on our left hand.

This episode was recorded on Aug. 9, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Confronting Gender-Based Academic Bias
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.



 

Higher Ed: Instructional Media Then And Now
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.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” Academia And Industry In Harmony?
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.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” Who’s Really In Control Of Learning
Posted: August 12, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Feb 4, 2018.

A lot of people have input when it comes to formal education: teachers, students, administrators, staff and parents for starters. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss who out of all those groups, though, is actually in control of the quality of the education provided.

Ed and Jennifer examine who does – and who actually should – take responsibility for education when there are so many cooks in the kitchen. They also discuss the critical role students play in owning their own educational experiences and the value of giving them autonomy (at least at a certain point in their formal education) to make choices for better or for worse.

It’s also time for the solution to the “random walk” puzzler. It turns out that it’s anything but random.

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” Civility, Outrage And Discourse
Posted: August 5, 2018 at 6:00am

Those in higher education have a lot on their minds these days: the new tax law, immigration, affordability, the cost of education and how these things impact teaching and learning. Educators are also thinking about how people discuss those topics. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how people with different opinions can have fruitful and thoughtful conversations in and out of the classroom.

Ed believes there is plenty of room for civil discourse on a wide variety of topics as long as we listen to and respect each other. He and Jennifer discuss how to do that in what some people are calling an “age of outrage.” Check out the full episode to hear their civil discussion and to catch the latest on the “random walk” puzzler.

This episode was recorded Jan. 18, 2018.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” What ‘Like’ Means In Education
Posted: July 29, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Jan. 21, 2018.

We know what it means to “like” something. But does that word carry extra meaning in education and learning? What does it mean when students say they “like” a class or fear a teacher doesn’t “like” them? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger explore perceptions and realities of “likes” in education.

Whether or not students and teachers like a class or each other is actually a pretty complicated topic.  Students may “like” a class because they did well, but is that the best criteria for judging a class? What about teachers who bring in donuts on course evaluation day; should their goal be for students to “like” them and write a positive evaluation? In this era of “likes” on social media, Ed and Jennifer discuss what it really means to “like” something in the realm of education and learning. Check out the full episode to see if you like the latest puzzler about a “random walk.”

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” The Great Homework Debate
Posted: July 22, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Dec. 17, 2017.

There has been an ongoing debate in education about a staple of the school landscape: homework. Do students get too much? Too little? What role does – and should – homework play in education? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss all things homework.

It has long been a complaint of students – and some parents, too – that too much homework is a problem and can throw a young student’s life out of balance. Ed and Jennifer discuss the history of homework; if Ed (as a teacher) thinks students have too much; and what he advocates as an alternative to homework at some levels of school. Listen to the full episode for more takes on the role of homework in education and to get the solution to the “Let’s Make A Deal” puzzler. And take note: the strategy in solving this puzzler has real world applications for making decisions and answering multiple-choice questions.

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” Competition In Education
Posted: July 15, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Dec. 10, 2017.

“Whaddya get?” That’s the question students often ask each other after graded exams or papers are handed back. Competition among students persists in education. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss if that kind of competition is ever productive or useful for learning.

Competition in school is usually among students, but Ed and Jennifer discuss how students can set up a competition with themselves to try and improve their own individual learning and performance. They also discuss how to balance competition with being part of a community. Check out the full episode to hear Ed’s thoughts about whether competition is something that should be taught in school and to hear a throwback puzzler a la “Let’s Make  A Deal.”

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Best Of “Higher Ed:” Puzzler Solutions And Real World Applications
Posted: July 8, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Dec. 3, 2017.

Puzzlers can be fun and challenging and can also help us think about some of life’s bigger questions. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger puzzle through solutions to some especially tough riddles.

Ed and Jennifer spend some time in this episode revisiting the solution to a previous puzzler about why manhole covers are round. A listener suggested other possible answers to the generally accepted one. A listener also submitted her own original puzzler and asked Ed to figure it out. Check out the full episode to hear what he comes up with and to hear how working through puzzlers can help us navigate some of life’s bigger issues.

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Education’s Four-Letter Word
Posted: June 24, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 19, 2017.

T-E-S-T. That word almost always strikes fear in the hearts of students. They’re worried about doing well, getting a high grade and comparing their performance to that of their classmates. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger explore stressful test culture.

Who hasn’t had a “horror” story experience of taking a test? Ed and Jennifer share some memorable ones and take a closer look at why testing is so stressful. One reason: We tie our own worthiness into our test performance. Ed talks about how to decouple ourselves from our performance and how to make meaning out of our work on a test no matter the grade. Listen to the full episode to hear what words of encouragement Ed says you should never tell a test-taker. You will also get the result to the tricky train puzzler. It sounds like an arithmetic challenge, but there may be more to it.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Who Knows Best When Choosing Classes?
Posted: June 17, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 12, 2017.

Our path through formal education is pretty prescribed through the early years.  But in middle school, high school, college and beyond, students have more latitude in choosing their own classes and course of study. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss who knows best when making those decisions about which classes to take: students? parents? teachers?

When is the right time to hand the reins over to students to make those decisions completely on their own? Ed and Jennifer discuss the various factors that go into putting together a schedule of classes and when parents and teachers should start handing off that responsibility – even if they think the student is about to make a big mistake! They also look at what factors should be considered when picking classes no matter who is choosing. Listen to the full episode and get the newest puzzler (this one is about Jennifer’s favorite mode of transportation – trains).

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” What Constitutes A “Good” Education
Posted: June 10, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally published on Oct. 22, 2017.

In a previous episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger answered a listener’s question about how to know when it’s the right decision to transfer schools. In this episode, they take that discussion a step further to answer a related and important question: How can students know if they’re getting a “good” education? What does it even mean to describe an education as “good”?

You can probably come up with some ways to objectively measure the quality of an education. Many of the teachers have advanced degrees from institutions with excellent reputations. The curriculum offers a wide variety of classes. Students graduate with promising job offers or acceptances to graduate schools. The school is highly ranked in national surveys.  But what does a “good” education really mean?

Ed argues it should be measured using different parameters, many of which actually rest with students rather than faculty or institutions. Listen on for the full discussion and the solution to the puzzler about who took a road trip to Southwestern University.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” When It’s Right To Transfer Schools
Posted: June 3, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally published on Sept. 17, 2017.

Sometimes, a relationship doesn’t feel like a good match. You can’t put your finger on it, but it just feels like it’s time to move on. That feeling can crop up in personal relationships, as well as in our relationships with schools. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed ,Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger and I answer a question from a listener who wanted to know whether transferring from one college to another is the right decision.

It might seem like a pretty simple question, but there are actually quite a few factors to weigh. Ed and I discuss both the practical and emotional elements students and families should consider when making a decision about a transfer. And yes, it can be a little like deciding whether to stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend or break up. Click here to found out more and to get the solution to the puzzler about those elusive matching pairs of socks. Hint: No socks mysteriously disappeared in a dryer!

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Academia And Industry In Harmony?
Posted: May 20, 2018 at 6:00am

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 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 I 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.

Listen on for our discussion about fostering healthy relationships between academia and industry. It is also time for the solution to last week’s puzzler. Are you still counting 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.



 

Higher Ed: How Assumptions Impact Learning
Posted: May 13, 2018 at 6:00am

Remember that old adage about what happens when we assume something? (Hint: break the word down into smaller parts and you’ll get it!). Seriously, making assumptions can impact how we approach and learn information. Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I spend this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ” exploring why we make assumptions; how they affect learning and problem-solving; and how we can approach education with a more open mind. A “Higher Ed” podcast listener wrote in expressing frustration with the fact that she often gets the puzzler wrong because she makes assumptions – that turn out to be incorrect – about the parameters of the puzzler. She asked Ed and me to discuss why people are so quick to make assumptions, and what mental cues or habits we could employ to stop making them.

Listen on to find out how to lean less on assumptions and to hear the newest puzzler. It is actually a “classic” that definitely requires fresh thinking.

This episode was recorded on April 20, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Pomp And Commencement Speeches
Posted: May 6, 2018 at 6:00am

Some are boring and not very memorable. Some are inspiring and stay with the graduates for years to comes. I am referring to commencement addresses. And during this 2018 commencement season, Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I spend this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ” discussing the good, the bad and the memorable from commencement addresses. Southwestern University’s 2018 commencement speaker is Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton . She grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and was a member of the second class of African American students entering Little Rock Central High School in 1959. Ed is excited for the graduating seniors to hear Dr. Hampton’s inspiring story. Many commencement addresses are inspiring, and in this episode Ed and I recall some words of wisdom that have really made impact and some that were less-than-memorable. Ed also reflects on what he considers one of the most amazing graduation speeches he has ever heard. What made it so good? Listen to the full episode to find out and to get the solution to the most recent puzzler about math lovers who know how to to party.

This episode was recorded on April 20, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Competing Demands In Education Lead To Stress
Posted: April 29, 2018 at 6:00am

The end of the school year is a busy time for students, faculty, staff, and families. Finals exams are looming; seniors may be on the hunt for a job; and many students have to say goodbye to friends and teachers. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed ,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the origins of stress; the role it can play in education and learning; and how to successfully manage it (both in and out of school).

Actually, the entire school year can feel stressful with tests, grades, activities and high expectations to perform well. Ed says that a primary cause of overall stress in education stems from multiple, competing demands inherent in the system: students are trying to get the training and background they need to take the next step and launch their careers while also making deep meaning of the material they are learning. He says those two interests don’t always happily co-exist.  In this episode, Ed and Jennifer talk about the definition and origins of stress. They also discuss ways to manage it, which does not necessarily mean completely eliminating stress.

One good way to get rid of some stress? Go to a party. Listen to the full episode to get the latest puzzler which is all about party guests’ favorite school subjects.

This episode was recorded on April 20, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: The Teacher-Student Relationship
Posted: April 22, 2018 at 6:00am

A college student requested a “Higher Ed” discussion about meaningful student-teacher relationships – both how to form them, and how those relationships could impact grades and behavior. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how students and teachers can best engage each other to insure that dynamic goes well. The relationship between teacher and student can be complex.  Teachers can be mentors, advisors and role models to students. But teachers also grade students’ work and are thus in an assessor role as well.  And, as Ed points out, those two roles can sometimes be in conflict. Ed and Jennifer discuss  ways that students and teachers can build relationships that go well for both sides. Ed’s tips for teachers: don’t play mind games or play favorites with students. His tips for students: engage teachers about the material and show  enthusiasm and curiosity.  Listen to the full episode to hear more about teacher-student relationships and the one student behavior Ed won’t tolerate. It is also time to solve the mystery from the last episode about the scarf, carrot and coal.

This episode was recorded Feb. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Asking For Help In Education
Posted: April 15, 2018 at 6:00am

Asking for help can be difficult or embarrassing sometimes, and for a variety reasons we don’t always do it when we should. But the truth is, everyone needs help sometimes, including students  – who can occasionally use a hand with a tricky subject. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the most effective ways to ask for and use help in education. Ed argues that in education, students need to seek the most effective help for them and then take that assistance to heart. Listen to the full episode to hear Ed and Jennifer discuss effective help; the danger of just getting the answers without understanding what they mean; and the out-of-the-box way Ed helps his students during office hours.

It is also time for a new puzzler. This one – about a mysterious collection of clues – may require some assistance to solve.

This episode was recorded Feb. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Helping Students Flourish In Careers Of The Future
Posted: April 8, 2018 at 6:00am

One of higher education’s biggest challenges in the coming years may be to prepare students to flourish in a world with many careers and positions that don’t now exist. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how higher education can be ready for this new reality. Ed  wrote the following in his 2017 President’s Report:

…in the decades to come, higher education faces some serious challenges, not the least of which is remaining relevant to the intellectual and creative needs of students who will graduate into a world in which over 65% will eventually holds careers in positions that have yet to be created.

In this episode, Ed and Jennifer discuss the ways that education already prepares students for a broad range of careers and some ways it may need to pivot as the work world continues to evolve. Listen to this whole episode for a glimpse into the future and to get the solution to a retro puzzler about old-fashioned cash registers.

This episode was recorded Feb. 28, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Respecting Young Learners
Posted: March 25, 2018 at 6:00am

Students and young scholars may not have had as much time in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean their work lacks insight, value and rigor. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the valuable contributions younger learners can make, and how society can better regard and embrace their thinking. Recent political and social movements have originated and flourished under the initiative and leadership of young people. Does society take the work and thinking of young people as seriously as it should? Ed and Jennifer discuss how society tends to treat young people, and what we may be missing by not paying more attention to their efforts. Ed argues that young people can actually bring a fresh and innovative approach to matters that should not be underestimated. Listen on for the full episode and to get the latest math teaser. It’s a “homemade” puzzler courtesy of Ed that will challenge thinkers of all ages.

This episode was recorded Feb. 28, 2018.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Solo Learning Vs. Group Projects
Posted: March 11, 2018 at 6:00am

This episode was originally posted on Oct. 1, 2017.

Sometimes school can feel like a really solitary endeavor. Writing papers and reading are usually done solo. But teachers at all levels of formal education also assign group projects or presentations. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the pros and cons of learning solo and of working with a group – both in school and beyond. Ed acknowledges that yes, teachers are assigning more and more group projects these days than before.  Ed and Jennifer discuss the good that can come out of having students work together (they actually have to talk to each other, right?!) as well as some of the pitfalls of team work (what do you do about the one person in the group who just won’t work as much as the rest of the team?). Listen on for their discussion (listen solo or with a group) and for that “classic” puzzler about why manhole covers are round.

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Information Overload
Posted: March 4, 2018 at 6:00am

With so much information available to us so quickly and easily these days, it might feel as if there is just too much to learn. But encountering massive amounts of information is not the same as actually discerning and then learning what is essential. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss information saturation. “Gossip gone amok.” That’s what Ed calls some of the information that we can access with just a few keystrokes or swipes. He makes an important distinction between the sheer volume of information we are exposed to on a daily basis and actually learning and processing what is essential. But with so much out there, how do we figure out what is critical to learn? And how do we filter out the rest? In this episode, Ed and Jennifer discuss managing information overload and developing effective gatekeeping functions. You will want to classify this episode as essential information and listen for the solution to last episode’s puzzler about the endless chess board.

This episode was recorded Jan. 18, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: How Formal Education Can Instruct Us In Good Decision-Making
Posted: February 25, 2018 at 6:00am

Making decisions – large and small – is not always easy. We are called upon to make countless decisions in life, but when do we receive effective tools for doing that? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how lessons from our formal education can help us make better decisions. We are not likely to encounter specific courses in school that can assist us in making good decisions (“Good Decision Making 101” or the “History of Good Decision-Making” anybody?) but Ed maintain lessons abound throughout the disciplines if we keep our eyes and minds open. He says learning how to think better; how to challenge ourselves; and how to identity and acknowledge our blind spots can aid us in effective decision-making long after school. Ed and Jennifer also discuss how bad decisions can be instructive if we are willing to learn from the experience. Hopefully it is not too tough a decision to listen to the entire episode and catch a new puzzler about an endless chess board.

This episode was recorded Jan. 7, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: Who’s Really In Control of Learning
Posted: February 4, 2018 at 6:00am

A lot of people have input when it comes to formal education: teachers, students, administrators, staff, and parents, just to name some. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss who out of all those groups, though, is actually in control of the quality of the education provided. Ed and Jennifer examine who does – and who actually should – take responsibility for education when there are so many cooks in the kitchen. They also discuss the critical role students play in owning their own educational experiences and the value of giving them autonomy (at least at a certain point in their formal education) to make choices for better or for worse. It’s also time for the solution to the “random walk” puzzler. It turns out that it’s anything but random.

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Civility, Outrage, and Discourse
Posted: January 28, 2018 at 6:00am

Those in higher education have a lot on their minds these days: the new tax law; immigration; affordability; the cost of education; and how those impact teaching and learning. Educators are also thinking about how people discuss those topics. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how those with different opinions can have fruitful and thoughtful conversations in and out of the classroom. Ed believes there is plenty of room for civil discourse on a wide variety of topics as long as we listen to and respect each other. He and Jennifer discuss how to do that in what some are calling an “age of outrage.” Check out the full episode to hear their civil discussion and to catch the latest on the “random walk” puzzler.

This episode was recorded Jan. 18, 2018.



 

Higher Ed: What “Like” Means In Education
Posted: January 21, 2018 at 6:00am

We know what it means to “like” something. But does that word carry extra meaning in education and learning? What does it mean when students say they “like” a class or fear a teacher doesn’t “like” them? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger explore perceptions and realities of “likes” in education. Whether or not students and teachers like a class or each other is actually a pretty complicated topic.  Students may “like” a class because they did well, but is that the best criteria for judging a class? What about teachers who bring in donuts on course evaluation day; should their goal be for students to “like” them and write a positive evaluation? In this era of “likes” on social media, Ed and Jennifer discuss what it really means – and should mean – to “like” something in the realm of education and learning. Check out the full episode to see if you like the latest puzzler about a “random walk.”

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” When Is It Right To Transfer Schools
Posted: January 7, 2018 at 6:00am

Note: This episode was originally released on September 17, 2017.

Sometimes, a relationship doesn’t feel like a good match. That feeling can crop up in personal relationships, as well as in our relationships with schools. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger answer a question from a listener curious about how to know when it is time to move on.

It might seem like a pretty simple question, but there are actually quite a few factors to contemplate. Ed and Jennifer discuss both the practical and emotional elements students and families should consider when making a decision about a transfer. And yes, it can be a little like deciding whether to stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend or break up. Listen to the full episode for their discussion and to hear the solution to a puzzler about those elusive matching pairs of socks. Hint: No socks mysteriously disappeared in a dryer!

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: The Great Homework Debate
Posted: December 17, 2017 at 6:00am

There has been an ongoing debate in education about a staple of the school landscape: homework. Do students get too much? Too little? What role does – and should – homework play in education? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss all things homework. It has long been a complaint of students – and some parents, too – that too much homework is a problem and can throw a young student’s life out of balance. Ed and Jennifer discuss the history of homework; if Ed (as a teacher) thinks students have too much; and what he advocates as an alternative to homework at some levels of school. Listen to the full episode for more takes on the role of homework in education and to get the solution to last episode’s “Let’s Make A Deal” puzzler. And take note: the strategy in solving this puzzler has real world applications for making decisions and answering multiple-choice questions.

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Competition In Education
Posted: December 10, 2017 at 6:00am

“Whadya get?” That’s the question students often ask each other after graded exams or papers are handed back. Competition among students persists in education. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss if that kind of competition is ever productive or useful for learning. Competition in school is usually among students, but Ed and Jennifer discuss how students can set up a competition with themselves to try and improve their own individual learning and performance. They also discuss how to balance competition with being part of a community. Check out the full episode to hear Ed’s thoughts about whether competition is something that should be taught in school and to hear a throwback puzzler a la “Let’s Make  A Deal.”

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Puzzler Solutions And Real World Applications
Posted: December 3, 2017 at 6:00am

Puzzlers can be fun and challenging and can also help us think about some of life’s bigger questions beyond the puzzler. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger puzzle through solutions to some especially tough riddles. Ed and Jennifer spend some time in this episode revisiting the solution to a previous puzzler about why manhole covers are round. A listener has suggested other possible answers than the generally accepted one. A listener also submitted her own original puzzler and asked Ed to figure it out. Check out the full episode to hear what he comes up with and to hear how working through puzzlers can help us navigate some of life’s bigger issues.

This episode was recorded Nov. 7, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Education’s Four-Letter Word
Posted: November 19, 2017 at 6:00am

T-E-S-T. That word almost always strikes fear in the hearts of students. They’re worried about doing well, getting a high grade, and comparing their performance to that of their classmates. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger explore stressful test culture. Who hasn’t had a “horror” story experience of taking a test? Ed and Jennifer share some memorable ones and take a closer look at why testing is so stressful. One reason: we tie our own worthiness into our test performance. Ed talks about how to decouple ourselves from our performance and how to make meaning out of our work on a test no matter what the grade. Listen to the full episode to hear what words of encouragement Ed says you should never tell a test taker. You will also get the result to the tricky train puzzler. It sounds like an arithmetic challenge, but there may be more to it.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Who Knows Best When Choosing Classes
Posted: November 12, 2017 at 6:00am

Our path through formal education is pretty prescribed through the early years.  But in middle school, high school, college and beyond, students have more latitude in choosing their own classes and course of study. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss who knows best when making those decisions about which classes to take: students? parents? teachers? When is the right time to hand the reins over to students to make those decisions completely on their own? Ed and Jennifer discuss the various factors that go into putting together a schedule of classes and when parents and teachers should start handing off that responsibility – even if they think the student’s about to make a big mistake! They also look at what factors should be considered when picking classes no matter who is choosing. Listen to the full episode and get the newest puzzler (this one is about Jennifer’s favorite mode of transportation – trains).

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Learning From A Disrupted School Year
Posted: November 5, 2017 at 6:00am

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast on Aug. 25, 2017. Schools along the coast and in Houston were closed for weeks. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, it was the strongest storm to make landfall there in over 80 years. Natural disasters cause devastating physical damage and disrupt life’s normal routines. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how students, teachers, and schools can rebound when their school year is disrupted. Sometimes that disruption happens on a wide scale, such as a natural disaster. Sometimes a student’s or teacher’s school year is shaken by an illness or death in the family. Ed and Jennifer discuss how disruptions large and small can impact a school year; how the people who are impacted can cope; and what everyone involved can learn from the experience. You’ll also get the solution to last episode’s puzzler about moving across a checkerboard.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017



 

Higher Ed: What Keeps Alumni Coming Back To Their Alma Mater
Posted: October 29, 2017 at 6:00am

Some alumni just love the schools they attended and cannot wait to go back for Homecoming and Reunion. Other alumni say “good riddance” as soon as they get their diploma and never want to hear from their schools again. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss what keeps alumni connected to their schools and how social media has impacted that relationship. Ed believes that many alumni come back to Homecoming and Reunion to be “re-nourished” in the way they were doing school. And since alumni can now keep up with each others’ lives and news so easily on social media,  they can connect with each other and the school at a deeper lever during those return visits. Listen on for more of Ed and Jennifer’s discussion about how schools support their alumni and how alumni support their schools. Plus, does Ed think alumni ever come back to Homecoming or Reunion just to “show off” a little? One thing Ed does think for sure is that the puzzlers as of late have gotten a little too easy! So in this episode, Ed introduces what may be the trickiest puzzler yet about pathways on a checkerboard.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: What Constitutes A “Good” Education
Posted: October 22, 2017 at 6:00am

In a recent episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger answered a listener’s question about how to know when it’s the right decision to transfer schools. In this episode, they take that discussion a step further to answer a related and important question: how can students know if they’re getting a “good” education? What does it even mean to describe an education as “good?” You can probably come up with some ways to objectively measure the quality of an education. Many of the teachers have advanced degrees from institutions with excellent reputations. The curriculum offers a wide variety of classes. Students graduate with promising job offers or acceptances to graduate schools. The school is highly ranked in national surveys.  But what does a “good” education really mean? Ed argues it should be measured using different parameters, many of which actually rest with students rather than faculty or institutions. Listen on for Ed and Jen’s discussion about indicators of the quality of an education, and whether that can even be determined while it’s in progress or only after the fact. You’ll also get the solution to the puzzler about who took a road trip to Southwestern University.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: How Empathy Can Impact Learning
Posted: October 15, 2017 at 6:00am

Empathy. Sympathy. We probably think we know what those words really mean, but in truth they are often confused or misunderstood. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger take a closer look at both and how they relate to learning. What do “sympathy” and “empathy” really mean? What is the difference between the two? And can they enhance (or hinder) learning? Ed and Jennifer try to answer those questions and lend a sympathetic (or is it empathetic?!) ear. Listen on for their discussion, and get ready for a road trip with the new puzzler.

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Solo Learning vs. Group Projects
Posted: October 1, 2017 at 6:00am

Sometimes school can feel like a really solitary endeavor. Writing papers and reading chapters are usually done solo. But teachers at all levels of formal education also assign group projects or presentations. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the pros and cons of learning solo and of working with a group – both in school and beyond. Ed acknowledges that yes, teachers are assigning more and more group projects these days than before.  He says he even will fashion some group assignments for his students to do. Ed and Jennifer discuss the good that can come out of having students work together (they actually have to talk to each other, right?!) as well as some of the pitfalls of team work (what do you do about the one person in the group who just won’t work as much as the rest of the team?). Listen on for their discussion and to get the the solution to last episode’s “classic” puzzler about why manhole covers are round.

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Navigating a Math-y Career Pivot
Posted: September 24, 2017 at 6:00am

A listener wrote in to “Higher Ed” about his decision to pursue a Ph.D. in pure mathematics after studying classical piano performance and working as a pianist. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss becoming a mathematician later in life and the joys and challenges of making a career shift. Focus, passion and commitment. Those are some of the qualities Ed says are necessary to successfully pull off a career pivot to mathematician – or to pursuing any new field. As a matter of fact, Ed says “talent is secondary to commitment” when making this kind of change. Preparing for a job interview for a new job? This week’s puzzler could help. It’s a “classic” that actually gets asked in some job interviews.

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: To Transfer or Not To Transfer
Posted: September 17, 2017 at 6:00am

Sometimes, a relationship just doesn’t feel like a good match. You can’t put your finger on it, but it just feels like it’s time to move on. That feeling can crop up in personal relationships as well as in our relationships with schools. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger answer a question from a listener who wanted to know when is it the right decision – and when is it not – to transfer from one college to another. It might seem like a pretty simple question, but there are actually quite a few factors to weigh. Ed and Jennifer discuss both the practical and emotional elements students and families should consider when making a decision about a transfer. And yes – it can be a little like deciding whether to stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend or break up. They also reveal the solution to last week’s puzzler about those elusive matching pairs of socks. Hint: no socks mysteriously disappeared in a dryer!

This episode was recorded Aug. 10, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Summer Mailbag and Back to School
Posted: September 10, 2017 at 6:00am

Getting back into the swing of school is always an adjustment. Alarm clocks, long days and homework make the school year schedule fuller and more structured than summertime. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger talk about some ways to get the school year off to a smooth start and get the most out of it. They also respond to some listener comments about “Higher Ed” that came in over the summer. What’s the best back to school advice you’ve ever gotten? What about the worst? Listen on to get some of the best and worst as well as Ed’s responses to some summer emails from “Higher Ed” listeners. It’s also time for the first new puzzler of the season. This one will knock your socks off!

This episode was recorded August 10, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Studying Abroad
Posted: August 27, 2017 at 6:00am

This episode was originally published on April 23, 2017.

This episode addresses a question from a “Higher Ed” listener whose daughter is a sophomore in high school. The daughter has started attending college fairs and reading online about schools, and the family wants to know about the impact of studying abroad on a student’s education. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger dig into the topic of studying abroad. Ed and Jennifer talk about the pros and cons of spending part of college (or high school) outside the U.S. Ed says students can gain a lot experiencing a new culture and learning a new language. But do they lose anything spending time away from their academic home base? Listen on for their discussion and for the solution to the puzzler about about gas cans, gallons and some tricky pouring.

This episode was recorded on March 24, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Healthy Learning
Posted: August 13, 2017 at 6:00am

This episode was originally published on April 9, 2017.

College students who work hard might tend to play hard, too. Caffeine … junk food … late nights … partying. College can be filled with temptations that keep students from leading healthy lives. We know those habits aren’t good for us, but why does school present so many temptations? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss balancing work and learning with health during school (and beyond). You’ve probably been there: staying up all night, fueled by coffee and junk food, to finish a paper or cram for an exam. That’s what college is about, right? Ed says it actually doesn’t have to be that way. In this episode, he and Jennifer discuss some of the reasons behind the less-than-healthy habits we pick up in college and some strategies to avoid them in the first place. Listen on for their discussion and to indulge in a healthy habit: trying to solve the latest puzzler.

This episode was recorded on March 24, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” ‘Social’ Media
Posted: August 6, 2017 at 6:00am

This is might be a familiar scene to you: You’re walking down the street and see someone heading toward you, not looking up, face firmly transfixed on the small screen of a smartphone or tablet. What does all that time spent attending to devices do to our personal interactions, conversations and learning? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger look at the personal and educational implications. Social media and digital technology are great in many ways. They connect us quickly and easily, and allow us to access information in seconds. But what does time spent communicating and learning that way do to our personal interactions? Ed and Jennifer discuss the possible impacts, as well as the role of education in helping us navigate and balance the availability of so much communication and information. Listen on for their conversation and for the answer to a puzzler about a row of radio hosts.

This episode was recorded on Jan. 19, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Breaking Down Tough Questions
Posted: July 30, 2017 at 6:00am

We all face questions in life that seem just about impossible to answer. Maybe it’s a really tough question on a test. Or maybe it’s a challenging assignment at work. What can we do when the answer just won’t come to us? How about not answering the question? In this “Best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore ways to break down seemingly impossible questions into manageable parts. So just to be clear, the advice here is not to ignore the question. But Ed advocates starting by breaking down a hard question into a simpler one in a parallel vein, or translating it into a known, easier question.  Ed and Jennifer discuss how this technique can be used in or outside of academic settings. Wondering if you should listen on to hear more? That’s a definite yes! You will also get the solution to a puzzler that poses some interesting questions; it assumes three = 1/2 of five!

This episode was recorded on November 22, 2016.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” How I Learned to Love Calculus
Posted: July 23, 2017 at 6:00am

Was there a subject in school that seemed so hard and unsatisfying to study that even to this day the thought of it makes you cringe? For many students, that subject was Math. And perhaps more specifically, Calculus. Maybe it was the confusing terminology or seemingly abstract concepts. Can Calculus ever redeem itself? Is it ever useful? In this “Best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger give Calculus a second chance. In a previous episode, Ed promised Jennifer he could clearly explain Calculus in just a few easy steps. In this episode, Jennifer takes him up on that challenge. Can Ed make Calculus accessible and maybe even fun? Listen on to find out, and to hear the solution to a puzzler about the Road to Truth.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Gratitude, Appreciation, and Learning
Posted: July 16, 2017 at 6:00am

It’s good manners to say “thank you” and show gratitude. But there are also ways that slowing down to notice and appreciate what’s happening around us can give our brains some much needed rest. In this “Best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the impact of showing gratitude and appreciation on learning. Is it also possible to include the expression of gratitude and appreciation in a formal education setting?  Listen on for Ed and Jen’s discussion on how expressing thanks can help learners relax and grow, and what teaching that might look like.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” What’s Really Happening When We Learn
Posted: July 9, 2017 at 6:00am

Most dictionary definitions of “learn” make reference to acquiring knowledge or skills, becoming informed, or finding out something. Sure, that makes sense, but what does it really mean to learn something? How do we know if we’ve actually learned it? In this “Best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss what learning does and doesn’t mean. If we memorize something, does that mean we’ve learned it? How deeply do we have to understand something before we’ve really mastered it? Listen on to hear Ed and Jennifer debunk some myths about learning and talk about one of the best ways to make sure something is thoroughly learned.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Curiosity, Creativity, and Confidence in Kids
Posted: June 25, 2017 at 6:00am

How can educators, parents, and other adults encourage young people to be curious and get creative? In this “Best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger respond to a listener’s question about promoting intellectual curiosity and confidence in kids. There’s a lot of interest these days in encouraging younger learners to pursue studying science, the arts, and math. A listener wants to know how young people can be encouraged along those paths by exciting them to ask questions and be confident in their pursuits. Listen on to hear Ed discuss with Jennifer how he has inspired curiosity and creativity among students, and the impact that work has had on him as a teacher.

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016 and originally posted on October 16, 2016.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” What Does “Smart” Really Mean?
Posted: June 18, 2017 at 6:00am

What do you think of when someone is described as “smart?” They know a lot of things. Maybe they got good grades in school. Or maybe they always use correct grammar. But what does it actually mean to be smart? In this “Best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the deeper meaning of the word “smart.” Being “smart” and being “intelligent” – are those the same thing? Are there different ways of being smart (think “street smarts” vs. “book smarts”)? Listen on to hear Ed and Jen unpack the definition of “smart” and examine what it does and does not mean.

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016 and originally posted on October 9, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Teaching Giving and Philanthropy
Posted: June 11, 2017 at 6:00am

In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger tackle a question posed by a listener about teaching giving and philanthropy in school. Can it be done? Should it be done? And if so, when? A listener wrote in (to jstayton@kut.org) asking about teaching the concepts around giving and philanthropy. Ed and Jennifer talk about how that might be done, as well as the academic subjects that serve as underpinnings for understanding philanthropy. Listen on for their discussion and for the solution to last episode’s puzzler about the frequency of digits (that’s numbers, not finger and toes!).

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Learning from the People You Meet
Posted: June 4, 2017 at 6:00am

So much of what we encounter in formal education is planned; we attend scheduled classes in designated classrooms and go through specific lessons plans. But there can also be real educational value in chance encounters or unexpected opportunities. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss lessons learned on the fly. Dick Van Dyke.  Robert McNamara. Those two men don’t have much in common. But they are both people whom Ed has met. In this episode, Ed tells the stories of those meetings and talks about always learning something from even the most random encounters. Listen on for that discussion as well as a new puzzler about the frequency of digits (as in numbers, not fingers and toes).

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: College Readiness
Posted: May 21, 2017 at 6:00am

What factors show that a student is ready for college: good grades? High test scores? A killer application and essay? Or, are more intangible qualities better indicators of college success? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss what makes a high school student ready for higher ed. A listener wrote in and wondered if there are certain skills, behaviors, or mindsets that better prepare someone for college, or is everyone potentially college ready? Listen on for Ed’s take on what qualities make for a strong college student and what he thinks is just about essential to college success. You will also hear the punch lines from last episode’s math jokes courtesy of some funny fourth graders.

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: “Goodbyes” in Education
Posted: May 14, 2017 at 6:00am

“Goodbye.” It’s a word that actually gets said a lot in education. Students are constantly changing teachers, classmates, subjects, and locations during their years in school. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger talk about saying goodbye and moving on in education. The end of a class, semester, school year, or entire degree program can be a very emotional time as students and teachers move on, knowing that exact same class with those exact same participants will never exist again. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer discuss the many “goodbyes” that happen along the path of formal education, and what Ed says is the greatest gift an educator can receive when a class ends. And listen on for a twist on the usual puzzler. To balance the sometimes sad topic of goodbyes, Ed and Jennifer share Math jokes courtesy of some funny 4th graders.

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Advice from Graduating Seniors to Their Younger Selves
Posted: May 7, 2017 at 6:00am

It is college commencement season, and graduating seniors will be hearing all kinds of sage advice from commencement speakers. But what advice would those graduating seniors give? What would they tell their younger selves as students if they could? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger share what some seniors say they wish they had known when they started school. Ed had the chance to ask some Southwestern University seniors, not long before their graduation, what had impacted them the most during their time in school. He and Jennifer discuss their surprising, frank, and funny answers and how that advice can apply outside of school, too. Listen on for their discussion and to hear the solution to last episode’s puzzler about the mean Math teacher and the bowls of marbles.

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Teachers and Teaching
Posted: April 30, 2017 at 6:00am

Teachers. We’ve all had some great ones, and we’ve all had some teachers who didn’t rank among the best. What makes a good teacher? How has the profession changed over time? How has technology impacted the way teachers do their jobs? In this week’s episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the evolving role of teachers. Ed has taught Math for about 30 years so he has lots to say about what he thinks teachers can do to reach and inspire their students. He and Jennifer reminisce about some memorable teachers they have had and discuss the ways in which the profession has changed. Listen on to hear some classroom tales and to get the new puzzler which, by the way, happens to involve a mean Math teacher.

This episode was recorded on March 24, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Studying Abroad
Posted: April 23, 2017 at 6:00am

In this episode, a question from a “Higher Ed” listener: her daughter is a sophomore in high school who has started attending college fairs and reading online about schools. The family is interested to know more about the impact of studying abroad on a student’s education. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger dig into the topic of studying abroad. Ed and Jennifer talk about the pros and cons of spending part of college (or high school) studying outside the U.S. Ed says students can gain a lot experiencing a new culture and learning a new language. But do they lose anything spending time away from their academic home base? Listen on for their discussion and for the solution to the most recent puzzler about about gas cans, gallons, and some tricky pouring.

This episode was recorded on March 24, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Healthy Learning
Posted: April 9, 2017 at 6:00am

College students who work hard might tend to play hard, too. Caffeine… junk food…. late nights… partying. College can be filled with temptations that keep students from leading healthy lives. We know those habits aren’t good for us, but why does school present so many temptations? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss balancing work and learning with health during school (and beyond). You’ve probably been there: staying up all night, fueled by coffee and junk food, to finish a paper or cram for an exam. That’s what college is about, right? Ed says it actually doesn’t have to be that way. In this episode, he and Jennifer discuss some of the reasons behind the less-than-healthy habits we pick up in college and some strategies from avoiding them in the first place. Listen on for their discussion and to indulge in a healthy habit: trying to solve the latest puzzler.

This episode was recorded on March 24, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Moving From Student to Teacher
Posted: April 2, 2017 at 6:00am

Usually during KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss issues related to learning and education. So how does it turn out when they add another voice to the mix? In this episode, they are joined by second-year Southwestern University student Tristin Evans. She adds a student perspective to the discussion and talks about what it was like to move from being a student to being a teacher’s assistant in one of Dr. Burger’s classes. Ed teaches a class at Southwestern called “Effective Thinking and Creative Puzzle-Solving.” Tristin has taken the class and then transitioned into a role assisting him with the course. Ed and Jennifer talked with Tristin about what she learned in switching positions and what advice she has for younger learners (or really learners of any age). Hear their discussion and also the solution to the numbers-filled puzzler from the last episode. Good news – there’s more than one way to get the solution!

This episode was recorded on March 24, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Working Efficiently vs. Working Well
Posted: March 26, 2017 at 6:00am

“Job well done.” What does that mean, exactly? That someone got a lot accomplished, or that someone did a few things very well? Multi-tasking is often praised as a valuable skill, but what are we sacrificing for speed? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger work their way through a discussion on quantity and quality when it comes to getting stuff done. Not many people are encouraged to “strive for less,” but in this episode Ed and Jennifer explore if less can actually be better when it comes to getting tasks done. It’s also time for a new puzzler. It’s a bit tricky; no multitasking while you try to solve it!

This episode was recorded on Feb. 16, 2017.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” How Outside Circumstances Can Impact Learning
Posted: March 12, 2017 at 6:00am

Note: This “Higher Ed” episode was originally posted on February 28, 2016.

In an ideal world, every student comes to class, or to any educational situation, well-prepared and ready to learn. But in reality, all kinds of life circumstances outside the classroom – such as poverty – can influence what happens inside the classroom. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about how those factors impact students’ experiences. Ed and Jennifer respond to a listener’s personal story and inquiry about the effects of poverty on learning. Listen on to hear the question and to find out more about the impact life circumstances can have on learning. And see if you can figure out the solution to this “best of puzzler” about a family tree and a breakfast favorite.

This episode was recorded on January 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: “Fake News” and Formal Education
Posted: March 5, 2017 at 6:00am

A bill has been introduced in the California state legislature in 2017 that would add elements to school curricula to teach students to “judge the credibility and quality of information found on Internet Web sites, including social media.” We think we know fake news when we see it, right? Well, maybe not always. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger answer a listener’s question about the role of formal education in teaching about “fake news.” A listener is curious whether or not it is the job of schools to teach students how to better discern what they read online; and if it is, how schools and teachers could go about doing that. Ed and Jennifer discuss what “fake news” is; why it’s out there; and how students of any age can develop some sense and savvy about what they read online. Listen on for their discussion and to get the solution to last episode’s puzzler about apples and algebra.

This episode was recorded on Feb. 16, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: “Intellectual Hurt”
Posted: February 26, 2017 at 6:00am

In a recent episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Dr. Ed Burger used the phrase “hurt yourself intellectually.” Doesn’t sound like a great idea, does it?! In this episode, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss what that phrase means in relation to our learning and education, and why a little intellectual “hurt” might not actually be the worst thing – as long as it’s done with awareness. Ed contends we can all learn and grow by operating outside our comfort zones, as long as we learn from the experience. Listen on for Ed and Jennifer’s discussion about intellectual hurt and healing, and to hear the latest puzzler – it’s all about give and take.

This episode was recorded on Feb. 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Lifelong Learning in Action
Posted: February 19, 2017 at 6:00am

A popular topic for discussion on the “Higher Ed” podcast is lifelong learning: taking on educational opportunities at any stage of life, especially well after the formal education years are past. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed ,KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger talk about what we can all learn from Jennifer’s venture back into the classroom – after many decades out – and her own pursuit of lifelong learning.  Jennifer is taking an introductory Spanish class to begin learning the language again after taking it in school. In this episode, she shares what it’s like to be back in the classroom (first day butterflies? no…. homework anxiety? maybe a little), and how work and life experiences over time are shaping her school experience now. She and Ed also reveal the solution to the matchstick puzzler; it turns out there may be more than one way to lay out those sticks.



 

Higher Ed: Curling Up With a Good… Podcast?
Posted: February 12, 2017 at 6:00am

It’s a major milestone in our educational development: learning to read. Throughout school, we read books for classes and assignments and also just for fun. But what happens once we’re out of school? Do we still enjoy curling up with a good book? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Dr. Ed Burger explore our relationship with reading and books. Ed may be the ‘rithmetic guy, but listen on for his and Jennifer’s discussion about all things reading- including what kind of books Ed favors, and Jennifer’s trick for getting through really long reads. You’ll also get the latest puzzler. No reading required – but bring some geometry and creativity.

This episode was recorded on Jan. 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: “Social” Media
Posted: February 5, 2017 at 6:00am

This is might be a familiar scene to you: you’re walking down the street and see someone heading towards you, not looking up, face firmly transfixed on the small screen of a smart phone or tablet. What does all that time spent attending to devices do to our personal interactions, conversations, and learning? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger look at the personal and educational implications. Social media and digital technology are great in many ways. They connect us quickly and easily and allow us to access information in seconds. But what does time spent communicating and learning that way do to our personal interactions? Ed and Jennifer discuss the possible impacts as well as what education can do to help students and life long learners navigate and balance the availability of so much communication and information. Listen on for their conversation and to find out the answer to last episode’s puzzler about the row of radio hosts.

This episode was recorded on Jan. 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: What’s Hot in Higher Ed These Days
Posted: January 29, 2017 at 6:00am

Every once in awhile it makes sense to take a step or two back and look at the “big picture” of anything. You know: how are things going in general? What are the latest trends? What are the biggest challenges? What about the greatest joys? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger take that big picture view of what’s happening in higher ed these days. Some issues – affordability and access, for example – seem to be on the minds of those in higher ed perpetually. Other issues – such as the utility and impact of technology – definitely change with the times.  Listen on to hear Ed and Jennifer discuss what’s hot – both the old and the new – in higher ed. You’ll also hear the latest puzzler; be ready with some math and mapping skills.

This episode was recorded on January 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Key Element of Effective Learning
Posted: January 22, 2017 at 6:00am

What would you say is the quintessential element of effective learning: Intelligence? Persistence? Skills?  In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss what Ed argues is that key element: change. It’s a scary word and concept for many. Our comfort zones are much easier places to inhabit, at least most of the time. But Ed says in order to think, learn, and process effectively, change needs to be a major part of our approach. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer discuss the important role change plays in lifelong learning, and how we can change the way we think about change (wait… this is getting a little circular!). One thing that hasn’t changed about “Higher Ed” – the puzzler. Listen on for their discussion and also the solution to the most recent puzzler. Remember? You’ve got one raft, a bunch of carrots, a hungry rabbit, and an aggressive fox. Can they all get transported safely across a river without any loss of veggies or life? Listen on to find out!

This episode was recorded on January 19, 2017.



 

Higher Ed: Student Perspective on Learning
Posted: January 15, 2017 at 6:00am

Teachers stand at the front of the classroom trying to engage their students, impart information, and make a difference in their students’ lives. Do they really get through? What do students take away from their classroom experiences? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk with a Southwestern University student about the lessons he has learned in the classroom beyond the course material. Jasper Stone is a Southwestern University sophomore from Colorado. He’s not sure what his major is going to be, but he does have definite opinions about how he wants to approach his learning, and how he would get young learners engaged and interested. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer talk with Jasper about his classroom experiences (in a class of Dr. Burger’s no less!) and how they have changed his take on learning, failing, and stress. We gave Jasper the spotlight in this week’s episode so there’s no new puzzler. Check back for the first one of the new year in the next episode.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” New Year, New Commitment to Learning
Posted: January 8, 2017 at 6:00am

Note: This “Best of Higher Ed” episode was originally released on January 10, 2016.

We are just a little ways into the new year and it’s already proving tough to keep some of those well-intentioned resolutions. You know, the usual ones such as exercise more, eat better, or be nicer to people. There is actually a resolution that can be fun and not too hard to keep. In this “best of” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about learning more – and liking it – in 2017. People already lead very busy lives, so it might seem tough to even think about cramming something else into an already full schedule. But Ed says there are some pretty easy ways to expand our horizons and learn new things in 2017. In this episode, he and Jennifer discuss focusing on something of interest (“I want to learn that” rather than “I have to learn that”) and keeping expectations realistic (aim for just going a little deeper into something that intrigues you rather than becoming an expert).

We’re still easing into the new year, so no new puzzler this week!

This episode was recorded on December 15, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: Gifts of Learning
Posted: December 18, 2016 at 6:00am

That sweater that doesn’t fit quite right.  Or a fruitcake with ingredients that are not immediately recognizable. Do your family and friends really need more of these during the holiday season? What about giving the gift of learning instead? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how to encourage people to embrace learning at any age or stage of life. Not everyone had a satisfying experience during their formal education, and that can turn some people off from the idea of staying actively engaged in educational pursuits. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer discuss how to turn people back on to learning. One way to do that: make learning fun. This episode’s puzzler definitely falls in that category; it’s a “classic” riddle.

This episode was recorded on November 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Breaking Down Tough Questions
Posted: December 11, 2016 at 6:00am

We all face questions in life that seem just about impossible to answer. Maybe it’s a really tough question on a test. Or maybe it’s a challenging assignment at work. What can we do when the answer just won’t come to us? How about not answering the question? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore ways to break down seemingly impossible questions into manageable parts. So just to be clear, the advice here is not to ignore the question. But Ed advocates starting by breaking down a hard question into a simpler one in a parallel vein, or translating it into a known, easier question.  Ed and Jennifer discuss how this technique can be used in or outside of academic settings. Wondering if you should listen on to hear more? That’s a definite yes! By the way, this episode’s technique might be useful in solving it. Remember, it’s the puzzler that assumes three = 1/2 of five !

This episode was recorded on November 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Different Learning Styles – Myth or Helpful Tool?
Posted: December 4, 2016 at 6:00am

Do you sense that you understand things better when you read them or hear them? Do you learn better via words or images? Are there really even different learning “styles” at all? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore a listener’s question about learning styles. Some research supports the existence of different learning styles; some indicates that concept is a myth. Listen on to hear Ed and Jennifer delve into different learning styles and whether students benefit from knowing how they learn best. You’ll also hear the latest puzzler; it comes from a universe where three = 1/2 of five. No, really…. in this world, it can!

This episode was recorded on November 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: How I Learned to Love Calculus
Posted: November 20, 2016 at 6:00am

Was there a subject in school that seemed so hard and unsatisfying to study that even to this day the thought of it makes you cringe? For many students, that subject was Math. And perhaps more specifically, Calculus. Maybe it was the confusing terminology or seemingly abstract concepts. Can Calculus ever redeem itself? Is it ever useful? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger give Calculus a second chance. In a previous episode, Ed promised Jennifer he could clearly explain Calculus in just a few easy steps. Jennifer now takes him up on that challenge. Can Ed make Calculus accessible and maybe even fun? Listen on to find out, and to hear the solution to the puzzler about the Road to Truth.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: What Else Could Be Taught in School?
Posted: November 13, 2016 at 6:00am

Most people who get at least a high school education will experience a pretty standard set of courses no matter where they go to school: Math, English, Social Studies, Biology, and the like. But are there things not being taught in schools that should be? What if the traditional academic slate were wiped clean and replaced with a new “road map;” what might that look like? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss some things that could be added to curricula to enhance education – even well beyond school years. Now, don’t expect Ed to make concrete suggestions such as “more Math”  or “less History.” Ed actually believes the tweaks are more about process than content and should focus more on learning itself than on any specific subject. Listen on to hear Ed and Jen discuss those tweaks, and to get the latest puzzler… which might sound a little familiar.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Has It Become “Cool” To Be Angry?
Posted: November 6, 2016 at 6:00am

Social media such as Twitter allow people to draw attention to situations and problems that might not otherwise get much focus. It also lets people share information and connect quickly and easily. But what has happened to the value we place on interacting and connecting in person? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the immediacy and emotion of social media and the value of personal interactions. The idea for this episode came from Ed. He says he’s sensed something among young people (and he would know – he’s been teaching and working with young people for decades). Ed wonders if it has become “cool” to be angry. And, he wonders if that phenomenon is fueled by the emotions often displayed on social media and the responses they elicit. Also, hold onto your hats; you’ll get the solution to last week’s puzzler about who’s wearing what hat.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Gratitude, Appreciation, and Learning
Posted: October 30, 2016 at 6:00am

It’s good manners to say “thank you” and show gratitude. But there are also ways that slowing down to notice and appreciate what’s happening around us can give our brains some much needed rest. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the impact of showing gratitude and appreciation on learning. Is it also possible to include the expression of gratitude and appreciation in a formal education setting?  Listen on for Ed and Jen’s discussion on how expressing thanks can help learners relax and grow, and what teaching that might look like. And (hopefully!) you’ll be grateful for a new puzzler.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: What’s Really Happening When We Learn
Posted: October 23, 2016 at 6:00am

Most dictionary definitions of “learn” make reference to acquiring knowledge or skills; becoming informed; or finding out something. Sure, that makes sense; but what does it really mean to learn something? How do we know if we’ve actually learned it? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss what learning does and doesn’t mean. If we memorize something, does that mean we’ve learned it? How deeply do we have to understand something before we’ve really mastered it? Hear Ed and Jennifer debunk some myths about learning and talk about one of the best ways to make sure something is thoroughly learned. And listen on to learn if you found the correct solution to last week’s puzzler.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Curiosity, Creativity, and Confidence in Kids
Posted: October 16, 2016 at 6:00am

How can educators, parents, and other adults encourage young people to be curious and get creative? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger respond to a listener’s question about promoting intellectual curiosity and confidence in kids. There’s a lot of interest these days in encouraging younger learners to pursue studying science, the arts, and math. A listener wants to know how young people can be encouraged along those paths by exciting them to ask questions and be confident in their pursuits. Hear Ed discuss with Jennifer how he has inspired curiosity and creativity among students, and the impact that work has had on him as a teacher. Curious about the latest puzzler? You’ll need all your marbles for this one.

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: What Does “Smart” Really Mean?
Posted: October 9, 2016 at 6:00am

What do you think of when someone is described as “smart?” They know a lot of things. Maybe they got high grades in school. Or maybe they always use correct grammar. But what does it actually mean to be “smart?” In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the deeper meaning of the word “smart.” Being “smart” and being “intelligent” – are those the same thing? Are there different ways of being “smart” (think “street smarts” vs. “book smarts”)? Listen to Ed and Jen unpack the definition of “smart” and examine what it does and does not mean. Did the latest puzzler about pieces of a cube leave you feeling less than smart? Listen on to find out the solution.

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Leadership – Can It Be Taught and Learned?
Posted: October 2, 2016 at 6:00am

This 2016 election season has a lot of people talking about leadership: what qualities do we want in a leader, and what kind of experiences can prepare someone to lead? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about whether leadership can be taught and learned, or if someone people are just “born leaders.” Listen on for Ed and Jen’s discussion about the role education can play in preparing someone to be a leader. You’ll also get the newest puzzler. Bonus this week: it’s in 3D (but no glasses needed!).

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Different Learning Modes
Posted: September 25, 2016 at 6:00am

Technology means students can take classes in many different modes and venues. They can be together in a traditional classroom, of course, with a teacher. Or, they can listen, discuss, and learn remotely any time and anywhere via online courses and videos.  In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger look at different ways learning can happen, and if one way is more effective than another. Some students say they thrive on the interactions and discussions that happen in the classroom. Others say they can grasp concepts and learn just fine remotely. Ed and Jen discuss different modes for learning; are they like apples and oranges? Speaking of which, listen on for the solution to last week’s puzzler.

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Do Traditional Academic Calendars and Clocks Still Work?
Posted: September 18, 2016 at 6:00am

Every student and teacher has likely at some point during the school year looked longingly at the calendar, hoping the days and weeks until vacation would pass more quickly. And who hasn’t stared at the clock during a long class, watching the seconds tick by? The traditional school calendar and school day schedule have been around for a long time but may no longer be effective or even necessary. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore the origins of the traditional academic schedule and toss around some different approaches. What if the school day consisted of shorter bursts of class time that lasted only 20 minutes? Would attention levels be higher? Listen on for more ideas about alternative ways to construct the school day and year and to hear the new puzzler… it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

This episode was recorded on August 10, 2016.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Learning and Doubt
Posted: August 28, 2016 at 6:00am

Doubt. It can make us question some of our deeply-held beliefs. But is that necessarily a bad thing? In this “Best Of…” episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the value that doubt can have for our learning and education. Doubt can be a catalyst for expanding our thinking and is an important element in life long learning. So says Ed in this episode. He and Jen also discuss cats, dogs, beets, and doubt. Yes, it all relates! And listen on to find out if the solution to a recent puzzler will rain on your parade.

This “Best Of…” episode was recorded on November 18, 2015 and originally released on December 20, 2015.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Liberal Arts, Democracy, and the Media
Posted: August 21, 2016 at 6:00am

What happens when you mix liberal arts and democracy and throw in a little media coverage? You get a fascinating discussion about the intersection of those three institutions. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how learning habits developed while studying the liberal arts can help us navigate our democracy – especially when political discussions are sometimes more contentious than civil. Ed and Jennifer talk politics in this episode – or more specifically, they talk about talking about politics. They also hash out the solution to the latest math puzzler about truth-tellers and liars. How can you tell them apart? Listen on for the key questions to ask.

This episode was recorded on August 5, 2015 and was originally released on September 20, 2015.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Broad Strokes of Learning
Posted: August 14, 2016 at 6:00am

Note: This “Best of Higher Ed” episode was originally released on September 13, 2015.

Have you ever heard of a “value study” in art? It’s a way to make a quick sketch of whatever you see and then fill it in with shades of gray. It leaves out detail in favor of broader strokes that capture the essence of the subject. Could this also be a way to tackle a new intellectual endeavor? In this week’s episode of KUT’s podcast Higher EdKUT’s Jennifer Stayton  and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger  translate this art technique to learning. Listen also for a math puzzler about sorting out liars from truth-tellers. It’s trickier than it sounds!

This episode was recorded on August 5, 2015.



 

Best of “Higher Ed:” Instinct vs. Intellect
Posted: August 7, 2016 at 6:00am

There are times when we feel like we just “know” something. We can’t necessarily explain why, but we just have a “gut” feeling about it. When is it useful to go with that gut feeling, and when should we slow down and think things through? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about using our instincts and using our intellect. Do you go with your gut when trying to solve the puzzlers, or do you reason them through? Either way, listen on to find out the solution to a puzzler involving money and math.

Note: This “Best of Higher Ed” episode was originally released on November 1, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: To Infinity and Beyond
Posted: July 31, 2016 at 6:00am

Infinity. What does it really mean? Can we count it? If so, how? And can we ever really define or describe it? It seems like there are an infinite number of questions about infinity. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger help us try to wrap our minds around infinity. Remember – the puzzler in the previous episode was all about infinity. Listen on for the mind-blowing solution to the puzzler, and to hear other fascinating facts about infinity. For instance, can it be doubled? Find out!

This “Best of Higher Ed” episode was originally released on October 18, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: The “20-Year” Education Question
Posted: July 24, 2016 at 6:00am

No one remembers everything they learned in school, right? We cannot possibly retain all of those facts, figures, and formulas. So, 20 years after we’re done with our formal education, what have we taken away from that experience? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger try to answer that 20-year question about education and learning. Hear how a simple snack of milk and cookies can lead to much bigger questions about the duration and substance of education and learning. And get ready for a new mind-boggling math puzzler about the concept of infinity.

This “Best of Higher Ed” episode was originally released on October 11, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: Summertime and the Learning is Easy
Posted: July 17, 2016 at 6:00am

Summer. For students and teachers, that means a break from books, papers, tests, deadlines, and the stress of school. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talk about the benefits of that break, as well as the advantages of keeping the brain at least a little busy during the summer months. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer balance the benefits of a breather from the classroom with the importance of keeping the brain occupied over the summer. Hear about some ways to do that, including sharing what happens during the school year with family and friends over the summer. You’ll also get the solution to the most recent math puzzler. A hint: think small.

This episode was recorded May 16, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Math vs. Arithmetic
Posted: June 26, 2016 at 6:00am

Arithmetic is just a fancy word for Math, right? Actually, they mean two different things. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton explain what “arithmetic” means; what “math” means; and why it matters to our learning and lives. You’ve heard us say a lot on “Higher Ed’ that Ed is a math guy. Find out what it means to be a “math” guy (compared to an “arithmetic” guy). Ed and Jennifer also discuss whether you have to be born good at math, or whether math prowess can be taught. Test that prowess with a stab at the new puzzler; you’ll actually need arithmetic and math to think this one through.

This episode was recorded May 16, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Synthesized Thought vs. Original Thought
Posted: June 19, 2016 at 6:00am

Eureka – I’ve got it! You know that moment when you feel like you’ve come up with something completely original? Well, consider this: is it actually possible to come up with totally new thinking, given all the information that influences our thought? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton respond to a listener’s request to compare and contrast synthesized thinking and original thought. In a previous “Higher Ed” episode , Ed and Jennifer talked about creating new ideas. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer follow up with a more in-depth discussion, prompted by a listener who was curious about the intersection of education, creativity, original thought, and synthesized thought. Listen to hear Ed and Jennifer navigate that intersection and to get the solution to the puzzler about cigarette butts. It’s a little more complicated than it sounded at first!

This episode was recorded May 16, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Anxiety in Learning
Posted: June 12, 2016 at 6:00am

Anxiety seems to come with the territory – at least some of the time – in school. Students worry about tests and grades or about trying to learn material that’s unfamiliar or tough. But does anxiety really have to be part of the learning process? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton chill out and discuss the role of anxiety in learning. Ed says yes – it’s absolutely possible to keep anxiety out of the learning process. Jennifer is a little doubtful – and a little nervous. Listen on to hear Ed’s advice for getting past those sweaty palms and nervous stomachs, and to hear the new puzzler. This seemingly simple math riddle may not be as easy at it sounds.

This episode was recorded May 16, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Grade Inflation
Posted: June 5, 2016 at 6:00am

A…..B……C…. at the end of the school year, many students are eager to see their final grades. But what is the real value of those grades? What happens when higher and higher grades are awarded for work that may not actually be that much better? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s  Jennifer Stayton explore the phenomenon of grade inflation. Ed and Jennifer have talked before about what grades actually mean and measure. In this episode, they explore the implications of grade inflation and some possible alternatives to the current, traditional grading system. You’ll also get the solution to the most recent puzzler involving digits, =, and + . Hint: sometimes a digit is not just a digit.

This episode was recorded May 16, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Choosing a “Final Class”
Posted: May 22, 2016 at 6:00am

If you only had one class left to take in school, what would it be? Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton explore what that last class could – or should? – be, and making the transition from formal education to lifelong learning. Ed and Jennifer reflect on the last classes they took in their formal educations (Jennifer’s may surprise you; Ed’s probably won’t!) and introduce the latest puzzler. Hint: a little math along the way in school may help with this one.

This episode was recorded May 16, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Commencement Reflections
Posted: May 15, 2016 at 6:00am

Caps and gowns … diplomas… speeches… parties… and anxieties about what’s next. It’s commencement season, and thousands of higher education graduates across the country are packing up their dorm rooms and embarking on the next stage of life. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed ,Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger reflect on what commencement means and discuss what most students actually take away from their college experiences. It may not be exactly what you’d expect. And neither is the solution to the math puzzler about journalists – listen on!



 

Higher Ed: Graduation Advice to Our Younger Selves
Posted: May 1, 2016 at 6:00am

“If I only knew then what I know now….” Sure, hindsight is 20/20. But if you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give? What decisions would you make differently? During this graduation season,  Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton give their younger selves some words of wisdom about life and learning. Think of it as “Higher Ed’s ” 2016 commencement address. They may be talking to “Lower Ed” and “Jennifer, Jr.” but much of that advice still holds true today. No puzzler this week – just puzzle over the advice in this episode.

This episode was recorded on March 28, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Making Math Fascinating
Posted: April 24, 2016 at 6:00am

A podcast listener and fan recently wrote in with a question: How does one teach (or force) current and future Math teachers to make Mathematics fascinating? (By the way, that podcast listener is studying Mathematics education.) Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger is a mathematician, so who better to tackle that! He and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton explore that question in this episode of Higher Ed.

It can make us squirm, sweat, and stress out. Math is a frightening school subject for some, but does it have to be? Ed and Jennifer talk about ways teachers can lessen the sting of Math and make it something that engages rather than turns off students. You’ll also get the solution to the most recent puzzler. Remember the one that required a little Algebra to get the solution?

This episode was recorded on March 28, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Should Math Be a College Requirement?
Posted: April 17, 2016 at 6:00am

Math: we love it; we hate it; we cannot live without it. A Higher Ed podcast listener had read a National Public Radio piece on a book that argues against requiring advanced Math in school. That listener – who’s studying Mathematics education – was inspired to write in and ask: Should Math be a college requirement? Does Math add significant value to a college curriculum? Can students become lifelong learners without taking Math? KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore those questions in this episode of Higher Ed. Ed’s a mathematician, so you know it’s going to be a lively discussion about the role and utility of Math in college curricula. But you might be surprised to hear whether or not he thinks it ought to be required. Be warned: you may need a little of that algebra you learned in school to solve the newest puzzler; it’s unveiled in this episode.

This episode was recorded on March 28, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Roles and Responsibilities of Higher Ed
Posted: April 10, 2016 at 6:00am

What are the roles and responsibilities of higher education – if any – in resolving growing inequality in the US and globally? That provocative question from a listener prompted KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger to explore the roles and responsibilities of higher ed in general for this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed . Ed and Jennifer talk about the role of higher ed in training and preparing students to tackle all manner of tough issues nationally and around the world. Should higher ed teach what to think? Or how to think? On a lighter note, pass the mangoes; listen on to find out the solution to last episode’s puzzler with ten friends, ten mangoes, and a mango to spare.

This episode was recorded on March 28, 2016.

 



 

Higher Ed: The “Messiness” of Learning
Posted: April 3, 2016 at 6:00am

Most people like what is familiar, comfortable, and tidy. But should learning be that way, too? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the ways in which learning is actually quite messy. And how we shouldn’t want it any other way. Ed and Jennifer discuss the value of getting down and dirty when it comes to learning new ideas. But does the thought of messing things up bring on anxiety? Ed has some thoughts about anxiety, learning, and education. Time for a new puzzler, too; for this one you need ten friends, ten mangoes, and one sturdy box.

This episode was recorded on February 24, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: A Vision for Education
Posted: March 27, 2016 at 6:00am

Think. Create. Connect. To make meaning and make a difference. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger about a new vision for education and what that can look like in practice.  They dive in to the pieces of that vision to see what it might take to revolutionize education. You’ll also get the solution to the multi-scenario puzzler about children, birth order, and gender.

This episode was recorded on February 24, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Turning Learning Inside Out
Posted: March 20, 2016 at 6:00am

We all know the traditional classroom drill: go to class; listen to a lecture; take notes; go home; do the homework; come back to class; repeat. What if that model were reversed, and students heard the lecture information outside the classroom and spent class time wrestling with questions and ideas? In this week’s episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed ,Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss inquiry-based learning. You might have heard about the “flipped classroom” – where students hear the lecture material outside of class and work on questions during class time. That’s one example of inquiry-based learning, and in this episode Ed and Jennifer dig deeper into that topic. They also share the solution to the fishing-pole-on-the-bus math puzzler!

This episode was recorded on March 25, 2015.

 



 

Higher Ed: Choosing a College
Posted: March 13, 2016 at 6:00am

What does Spring bring with it? The weather turns warmer. Flowers bloom. Taxes are due. And for students pursuing an education beyond high school, it’s time to make a big decision: where to go to college. It can be a stressful but also exciting time in a student’s academic career. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed ,Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how students can determine if a college is the right place to study. Before the internet, students would pour through mounds of brochures and course catalogs, and maybe visit some campuses, trying to see which colleges might be a good match. Now, just about everything anyone could ever want to know about a school is available online. But what about the intangibles? In this episode, Ed and Jennifer navigate that tricky matrix of choosing where to attend college. Ed has tips on knowing if an institution can deliver on its educational promises.  Course offerings? Student to faculty ratio? Listen on to find out what to look for when making a college selection.



 

Higher Ed: The Intersection of Arts and Sciences
Posted: March 6, 2016 at 6:00am

Some students and life-long learners think they’re only good at one kind of subject. Maybe they consider themselves “science” people, or perhaps they keep their distance from labs but cannot get enough of history books. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the origins of what we know as “liberal arts” (hint: it all leads back to math) and why we can benefit from moving outside our comfort zones in what we study and explore. Ed and Jennifer talk about the evolution of the disciplines that make up the liberal arts and look at what those topics have to offer each other and us. For instance, Ed makes the case why pre-med students should study art history. You’ll also hear the new puzzler; it’s all about probability and biology.

This episode was recorded on February 24, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: How Outside Circumstances Can Impact Learning
Posted: February 28, 2016 at 6:00am

In an ideal world, every student comes to class, or to any educational situation, well-prepared and ready to learn. But in reality, all kinds of life circumstances outside the classroom – such as poverty – can influence what happens inside the classroom. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about how those factors impact students’ experiences. Ed and Jennifer respond to a listener’s personal story and inquiry about the effects of poverty on learning. You’ll also get the solution to last episode’s puzzler about waffles and a family tree.

This episode was recorded on January 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Co-Curriculars and Learning
Posted: February 21, 2016 at 6:00am

What happens outside of the classroom – should it stay outside the classroom? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the value of co-curriculars to learning. Sports. Theatre. Comedy. Wait, comedy? That’s one of Ed’s hobbies, and he and Jennifer discuss how all kinds of activities outside the classroom can enhance learning. Put down your books to hear their discussion, as well as the new brunch-based puzzler.

This episode was recorded on January 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Teaching Intangibles
Posted: February 14, 2016 at 6:00am

Persistence. Mindfulness. Caring. Passion. Should these be taught in school? Can they even be taught? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about teaching intangibles. A listener’s email prompted this discussion about the value of teaching these topics in school. And listen on for the crazy solution to last episode’s puzzler that was all about eights.

This episode was recorded on January 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: Time Management
Posted: February 7, 2016 at 6:00am

Who doesn’t feel pressed for time? And who isn’t challenged by managing time during school? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about time management – what works, what doesn’t, and why sometimes doing nothing at all is the best thing to do. Ed calls time management one of the most important skills we can learn in school. Listen on to find out why. You’ll also hear this week’s new puzzler. Think of it as a different kind of “crazy eights” game.

This episode was recorded on January 22, 2016.



 

Higher Ed: College Rankings
Posted: January 31, 2016 at 6:00am

Best undergraduate school. Best graduate school. Best public school. Best regional school. Top “party school.” These are just some of the ways institutions of higher learning are ranked in various surveys. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about what those rankings really show and how they can best be used – or not – in choosing a school. Ed argues that these rankings are generic, and cannot provide students with a valuable selection of options tailored to their interests and needs. Listen on to hear more and to get the solution to last episode’s “hairy” puzzler.

This episode was recorded on December 15, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: Standardized Testing
Posted: January 24, 2016 at 6:00am

PSAT. STAAR. ACT. SAT. Does the thought of taking standardized tests make your palms sweat and heart race? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about what standardized tests can and cannot measure, and the role they play in education and learning. Spoiler alert: Ed doesn’t like them. Listen on to find out why, and for a new puzzler. Be warned: this one gets a little bit hairy.

This episode was recorded on December 15, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
Posted: January 17, 2016 at 6:00am

Think back to someone who has really influenced you in your life. Maybe it has been a teacher, a coach, a boss, or someone from less obvious quarters. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the crucial way role models and mentors can encourage us on our learning paths. Ed and Jennifer reflect on some role models in their own lives, and how we can all benefit from opening up to the wisdom and experience of others. And are you curious to find out when 6 = 8? Listen on for the solution to last episode’s puzzler.



 

Higher Ed: Learning More – and Liking It – in 2016
Posted: January 10, 2016 at 6:00am

We are already well into 2016. How are those New Year’s resolutions holding up? Don’t feel bad; it can be hard to keep some of the lofty goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.  In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about some easy ways to make – and keep – a resolution to learn and explore more in 2016. Some school experiences can leave us feeling like learning is a chore. Why would we want to add more of that to our busy schedules? Ed and Jennifer discuss small steps that can make a big difference in enriching our lives. And a new year means a new puzzler. Can 6 = 8? Yes, it can (sometimes). Hint: have pen and paper ready for the puzzler. It’ll help.

This episode was recorded on December 15, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: Hmmmmm…….Learning and Doubt
Posted: December 20, 2015 at 6:00am

Doubt. It can make us question some of our deeply-held beliefs. But is that necessarily a bad thing? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the value that doubt can have for our learning and education. Doubt can be a catalyst for expanding our thinking. So says Ed in this episode. Listen to him and Jen discuss cats, dogs, beets, and doubt. Yes, it all relates! And listen on to find out if the solution to the most recent puzzler will rain on your parade.

This episode was recorded on November 18, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: A+ or D- For Letter Grades?
Posted: December 13, 2015 at 6:00am

A Higher Ed listener emailed in asking about letter grades: are they good? Bad? Do they hinder students’ desire to take classes that might be interesting but challenging, too? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the impact letter grades can have on how we experience and approach our formal education. Imagine what school might be like without grades. Or if students were given the time to master a subject rather than be evaluated on it at pre-set time intervals? Hear Ed and Jennifer further discuss the utility of letter grades and possible alternatives to those A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s. It won’t be graded, but see how you do with this week’s new puzzler. Hint: a pair of sunglasses might help!

This episode was recorded on November 18, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: Learning and Regret
Posted: December 6, 2015 at 2:00am

“Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption.” Frank Sinatra sings about regret in “My Way.”  In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the decisions we make along the way in our formal education, and the role regret can play in lifelong learning. Hear more about how regret can motivate – rather than discourage – our pursuit of knowledge. Ever make a decision about your hair color that you have come to regret? Listen on to find out the solution to last week’s puzzler about truth, lies, and hair color!



 

Higher Ed: Journeys in Education and Graduate School
Posted: November 22, 2015 at 6:00am

When does it make sense for an undergraduate student to continue formal education and attend graduate school? Sometimes, it’s an easy call; if someone wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, it’s a necessity. But how does a student know if that’s really what they want to pursue? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about what to weigh when deciding about that next step in school. Listen to Ed’s own story about his graduate school experience (wait until you hear what profession he almost pursued instead of math and education) and to catch the new puzzler – it’s all about truth, lies, and hair color.



 

Higher Ed: Instinct vs. Intellect
Posted: November 1, 2015 at 6:00am

There are times when we feel like we just “know” something. We can’t necessarily explain why, but we just have a “gut” feeling about it. When is it useful to go with that gut feeling, and when should we slow down and think things through? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about using our instincts and using our intellect. Do you go with your gut when trying to solve the puzzlers, or do you reason them through? Either way, listen on to find out the solution to a puzzler involving money and math.

 



 

Higher Ed: Pedagogy and Puzzles
Posted: October 25, 2015 at 2:00pm

Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger is obviously a pretty busy guy. But he does make time to teach a class each year. This fall, he’s teaching a class that’s centered on puzzles. Puzzlers. Teasers. Questions that really make students grapple for the solution. Why a class focused on that? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Dr. Ed Burger puzzle over the value of puzzles to learning. Puzzlers can be more than fun and games; hear Ed argue for the utility of brain teasers in expanding and enhancing learning. Speaking of puzzlers… it’s time for a new one. Click here for the newest puzzler involving money and math.

This episode was recorded on September 30, 2015.



 

Higher Ed: Expertise in an Age of Rapid Change
Posted: October 4, 2015 at 2:00pm

Technology allows us to access so much information so easily.  There are not many subjects we cannot learn at least a little something about. But does that knowledge make us all experts? What does it even mean to be an expert anymore? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed , KUT’s Jennifer Stayton  and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss expertise in this age of adaptability. They also try to figure out if they’re experts in anything, including math puzzlers. Remember last episode’s puzzler about GPA’s?  Think you figured it out? Join them to hear the solution.



 

Higher Ed: “Formal” Education
Posted: September 27, 2015 at 2:00pm

Have you ever heard anyone talk about “getting through” a class or “knocking out” course requirements? What exactly is the point of a “formal” education – just to get a degree, or set a course for life long learning? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher EdKUT’s Jennifer Stayton  and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger sift through different definitions of a formal education and talk about process vs. outcome. They also introduce a new math puzzler about GPA’s. No calculators needed – just a little brain power.

 

 



 

Higher Ed: Liberal Arts, Democracy, and the Media
Posted: September 20, 2015 at 2:00pm

What happens when you mix together liberal arts and democracy and then throw in a little media coverage? You get a fascinating discussion about the intersection of those three storied institutions. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher EdKUT’s Jennifer Stayton  and Southwestern University  President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how liberal arts learning habits can help us navigate our democracy – especially when political discussions in the media sometimes seem more contentious than civil. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer talk politics – or more specifically, they talk about talking about politics. They also hash out the solution to the latest math puzzler about truth-tellers and liars. How can you tell them apart? Listen on for the creative solution.