FIGs Bear Fruit

The tantalizing titles of First-Year Interest Groups are enough to make anyone want to go back to college. Who wouldn’t want to explore “Global Biodiversity and the Sixth Mass Extinction” or “The Meaning of Life”? A FIG fires enthusiasm for deep, meaningful study. But it’s the relationships forged in the “cohort” that really set freshmen up for success.

Intentional Teaching

First day of class, fall 2007. A First-Year Interest Group seminar, my first. I talked. Twenty freshman stared at me. I talked more. They took notes. And stared. Same the next session. And the next. It was awful.

My problem: I had plenty to say, but hadn’t planned out how to make them talk. To become critical thinkers, students need practice: They must talk. But these 18-year-olds, new to college, were too intimidated.

UW’s Jim Leary Gets Grammy Nod For Vintage Swiss-American Album Notes

Jim Leary, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus, is up for his second Grammy Award in the category for Best Album Notes. This time he’s been nominated for his work on an album called “Alpine Dreaming.”

“Alpine Dreaming” is a collection of tracks from a tiny Swiss-American record label started by an immigrant merchant named Ferdinand Ingold, who came to Wisconsin from Switzerland in the 1920s. Where the recordings were made is not known for sure. Neither are the identities of some of the performers. Leary said the disks were bought by other Swiss immigrants longing for the sounds of home.