Category Archives: Education

Social marketing

What is social marketing?

Social marketing is using the techniques of marketing to change behaviors – influencing people to change their practices rather than simply to buy products. It has been used to help people quit smoking, use different light bulbs, and study more effectively. It could help people choose less-polluting transportation here in Jakarta.

When to use social marketing?

„If motivating people to change is:

  • Easy or unimportant, then education might be appropriate – for example, providing information about train schedules or the location of bicycle lanes works for people who already are committed to these forms of transportation. But generally (and sadly) education is less effective than marketing or force. Continue reading

How to write application letters for jobs and schools

A student here in Indonesia recently asked me for advice on writing a letter of application to a summer program in Europe. Knowing no details of the program or of expectations in the host country, I drew on my experience in the United States. There, I’ve not only applied successfully to various schools and for numerous jobs, but I’ve reflected on the times I failed. I’ve also served on many hiring committees and participated in graduate-school admissions decisions. So here’s my advice, which I find applicable (ha!) for jobs and for academic programs:
  • Project a positive attitude. It’s infectious, and, really, your desire to avoid something else (e.g., unemployment or a less prestigious school) is not a convincing reason for someone to favor your application.
  • Demonstrate that you have a clear idea regarding the position for which you’re applying. Do your homework to find out expected activities. Continue reading

GGC’s alma mater: My losing song

While a faculty member at Georgia Gwinnett College, I entered a contest to compose its alma mater. That was more than a year ago, and, after a long and mysterious silence, the college has announced its two finalists. You can find them here. My entry isn’t one of them. Here it is:

We’ll Paint Tomorrow Greendownload or click below to play:

My approach was that an alma mater written today should have a more contemporary sound than one written a century ago and that it should have a melody that people will be able to sing (unlike the national anthem), enjoy singing (unlike most alma maters), and sound good singing en masse. Basically, “Hey Jude” was my model. Continue reading

Teaching human evolution: where’s the controversy?

Last night, at the monthly meeting of the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists, a panel addressed “Teaching Evolution in Science Classrooms.” Despite the bland title, the discussion focused on dealing with the controversies over teaching this topic.

Perhaps the biggest revelation that I experienced during the proceeding was that controversies over teaching evolution rarely erupt in the classroom. Continue reading

The Miracle Store – the best service project ever!

The project

Looking for a service project for your school or group? The most effective service project that I can think up is what I call the Miracle Store: establishing kiosks in malls to collect donations for various international charities.

Continue reading

Retaining college students: new research

College dropouts – and the majority of students in the U.S. will drop out – say that more-immediate financial and scheduling commitments outweighed the investment that attending college represents. The solutions appear obvious but require a financial investment in equal opportunity. Continue reading

Tips for Test-Taking

Our correspondent claims to have scored a highest-possible 800 on two sections of the GRE and over 700 on the third, without studying. S/he shares tips for doing one’s best while taking a test. Preparing is a separate and more important step.

IFS Guide to Test-Taking


Attitude is key: