The Learning Curve

When you’re faculty at a research university, you get mixed messages about teaching: it’s a big part of the job, but you get all kinds of not-so-subtle messages that you are supposed to think of yourself as a researcher first. In today’s episode, we talk about where teaching fits into our identities and values, and how that has evolved over our careers. Alexa talks about her experiences volunteering to teach in a prison; Simine tells how she found a way to be her quiet, skeptical self in front of hundreds of people; and Sanjay talks about looking for the overlap between rigor and showmanship. Also: In our letter of the week, we answer a question about doing professional service for scientific societies and how that looks on the job market.

The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, or on Facebook at You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license.

This is episode 20. It was recorded October 26, 2017.