In just a few weeks on March 30, our Data Studio will be hosting artist Jenny Kendler and SLO Museum of Art exhibition director Ruta Salkilis, for a STEAM event on intersections of art and nature. What a perfect prelude for our major spring exhibit, “The Living Library,” opening on April 12. The exhibits and LIT teams have been busy documenting students’ and faculty work on exhibit elements, and developing some beautiful and whimsrewildingical design elements; Cara and I have been working on content that explains the “living library’ challenge; and Russ is developing visualizations of data on campus sustainability initiatives.  I won’t spoil the surprise(s),  but trust me, it is going to be amazing!  We’ve had phenomenal support from several faculty and departments (horticulture, architectural engineering, campus facilities), as well as private donors. And in the spirit of our exhibits program, designed to contribute directly to experiential learning, the central feature of the exhibit is the work of a senior project team. They are excited to be part of creating a lasting legacy at Cal Poly.

From bytes to books:  we’ve reached a huge milestone this spring. In the cool, secure room that used to house our servers, we can now store a significant part of our rare and unique print collections.  First to be stored here are selected materials from the Wadewitz donation (thanks to the hard work of our technical services and special collections teams).  This project has been at least four years in the making, as we’ve strategized about how to improve conditions and expand space for our special collections.  Repurposing the former server ‘vault’ is a first step and one we should celebrate!  Congratulations to all involved – especially the collections management team, Special Collections and Archives, and our fantastic facilities projects team.IMG_0262

As winter quarter moves into the fever pitch of finals next week, I think back to my own experiences as an 18-year old: the panic and fear, the experience of intensity, and the exhilaration of accomplishing the seeming-impossible as I found courage and persisted – these experiences rolled in every quarter like a tide. It’s at these times that the experience of learning makes students test their own strength and almost literally transforms them.  This short talk by Dan Finkel (Math for Love) shares five principles of extraordinary math teaching that may apply to make learning exhilarating and transformative (and not just during finals): (1) start with a question; (2) students need time to struggle; (3) you are not the answer key; (4) say yes to your students’ ideas; and (5)  play!

Have a great weekend,