An instructor reflects on transitioning a statistics class to an asynchronous online class.

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Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

“That’s okay. A statistics class should transition pretty well to an online environment.”

I heard this statement in various forms from my faculty colleagues in the summer of 2020 as we were preparing our fall semester. This was when many of us were preparing to teach our in-person classes in an online environment for the first time.

My faculty colleagues would then describe to me in detail all of the hardships they were facing in transitioning their courses online. …

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City.
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

It’s known as “the tree”. Every year the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City brings a wonderful burst of green amid the dull winter colors of a big city.

The week after Thanksgiving, NBC broadcasts its annual Christmas tree lighting. Growing up in my family, we would tune in and mark this as the unofficial start to the holiday season.

The broadcast would have popular singers and musical groups perform. …

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Photo by Deglee Degi on Unsplash

So you have an interest in the forestry profession and are considering a graduate degree. There are a number of benefits and rewards for pursuing a graduate degree but also a lot of complexities. Admissions in graduate programs are very different compared to undergraduate programs. Maybe you’re the first in your family to pursue a graduate degree or want to know more about how the graduate application process works.

There are of course financial benefits to a graduate degree. Although accurate data are hard to find for the forestry profession, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that graduates with Master’s degrees earn a median of $228 more every week compared to those with Bachelor’s degrees. …

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Photo by XPS on Unsplash

If you look for me on any Sunday evening, I’ll likely be found at my laptop catching up on my professional and personal life.

I set aside an hour on this day to complete my weekly review, a time for dedicating my head to archive and reflect on all of the items that have accumulated over the last week. It is also a time to plan the week ahead. I’ve completed a weekly review every week since my first year as a new assistant professor in 2014. I can count on both hands the times I missed a week.

A weekly review can make anyone’s life in academia more productive. Most academics have duties in multiple areas like teaching, research, and administration. Teaching moves at a weekly pace: there is one week to complete an assignment, lectures need to be prepared for the week ahead, grades need to be returned to students within a week. …


Matt Russell

Trying to find deep work in a noisy academic world. I write about forests and data at

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