Science lovers rejoice – Science Friday is coming to Miami University

Renate and I are so excited about the second semester, and especially about one of the signature events we are bringing to the Oxford campus – the popular public radio show Science Friday. We are both physicists. We love the fundamental question, the intrigue of a hypothesis and the revelation of a conclusion. For science lovers like us around the world, it doesn’t get much bigger than Science Friday.

On April 21 at 7:30 p.m., host Ira Flatow and the Science Friday crew will host a special live performance in Hall Auditorium. Tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 12, to the Miami family, and Feb. 15 to the general public. Visit to learn more and to purchase tickets.

Maybe you’re one of those people with a cartoonish stereotype of a scientist – wild eyes and overgrown, disheveled hair, sitting alone in a white lab coat behind a microscope. That’s not what you’ll hear on Science Friday, and see at this special show at Miami. These are people with a passion for learning, a big sense of wonder and a sharp eye on the world around them. They have the courage to challenge the accepted answers. They design creative experiments carefully and carry them out thoroughly. They are tenacious when the work grows tedious, and humble when their ideas don’t work out.

Host Ira Flatow has a degree in engineering, but is known worldwide as a science correspondent and journalist. He has been broadcasting science since 1970 – the year of the first Earth Day. He started Science Friday on NPR in 1991. The show is on 374 public radio stations with 1.8 million listeners every week. He’s also played himself on another hit show, The Big Bang Theory.

Science Friday is one of the best ways to promote science to a mass audience. In April, that message will emanate from Miami University. The live show will feature several Miami University researchers in a fun and engaging format. Let’s fill Hall Auditorium and show them how much Miami University loves science. You can bet Renate and I will be there!

Seven trends for higher education in 2018: How does Miami look?

We all know that higher education is changing dramatically. I would encourage you to read this recent article from “Inside Higher Ed,” outlining seven trends facing higher education in 2018. I found it interesting and wanted to offer you a few thoughts on how Miami is responding and will respond in the future.

First – I believe that at Miami, we are working from a strong position. We offer an immersive undergraduate experience with access to outstanding faculty and excellent research. Our students work side-by-side with our faculty, making our education highly personalized and distinctive. We offer access through regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown and the VOA Learning Center in West Chester. Miami is routinely ranked among the top public universities nationally for our commitment to teaching, and for preparing our graduates for future success in careers or post-graduate education. Our commitment to curriculum that reaches across disciplines will pay dividends in the future. These factors continue to give us a significant edge in higher education.

Second – We will continue to invest in the things that are important. We have taken difficult steps in the last decade to become more efficient. Our Board of Trustees is crystal-clear about our priorities to prepare our students for the workforce, create jobs and investment in Ohio, increase access, attract the best and brightest, and place our graduates in top graduate and professional schools. That is where we will focus our resources. Academic enrichment and scholarships will be the focus of our investments and campaigns.

Third – We are dedicated to diversity and inclusive excellence, not as an isolated program but as a value that permeates everything we do. We want Miami University campuses to be places where everyone can fulfill their potential – period. This spring, I have charged a working group led by Professor Rodney Coates to focus on an inclusive student experience – how we leverage our diversity, promote and sustain inclusion, and create the most welcoming, barrier-free environment. Also this spring, we will communicate results from our campus climate survey and how we will use these results to enhance our university climate. We will have more information on those initiatives later in the spring semester.

Fourth – Keeping our campuses safe is not negotiable. It is paramount. We need to accept the fact that high-risk drinking, with its associated unsafe and unhealthy outcomes, is a threat to a safe and secure campus. Miami University does not condone it. We are focused on creative approaches we have developed internally as well as best practices that have demonstrated success at other institutions, and we will continue to emphasize to students the importance of making smart and healthy choices.

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