Professors Reflect on Brown Faculty Chair Residencies
May 8, 2019
Jeffrey Wasserman, Malcolm Williams, and Tepring Piquado each spent a month in residence this past academic year through the generosity of the Harold and Colene Brown Faculty Chair program, mentoring students through lectures, office hours, and fun activities.
"Very Nice Symmetry"
Wasserman, who is continuing to teach but retired from full-time status at RAND after ending his residence as Brown Faculty Chair in October, said of his experience, "I came to RAND as a graduate student, and I am leaving RAND through the school as the first Brown Faculty Chair for the 2018-19 academic year — very nice symmetry there!"
During his tenure, Wasserman said he "had more than 30 one-on-one meetings with students to discuss their hopes and ambitions, the policy problems that they are most concerned about, and their overall plans for their time at RAND."
Wasserman also conducted two seminars, one entitled, “Health Policy Problems That Should Keep You Up at Night!” and a second on the interpersonal skills for policy analysis. Additionally, he shared one of his passions with students and faculty, giving them a lesson in tai chi.
More In-Depth Interaction
Williams, who was in residence for most of January, said, "I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with the faculty, staff, and students of Pardee RAND but, my time at Pardee RAND provided me with an opportunity to interact with the school more-in depth than I had prior to this."
He had office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, during which he said, "I took the opportunity to share what I was working on and to ask questions about how I could improve my work or extend it to other areas. From these and the many other interactions, I felt like I learned a lot about the varied student interests and how to integrate more students into my research in the future."
Williams also held two research seminars, one on evaluating cross-sector community-based health promotion projects and the other on developing a partnership with churches and public health organizations to address diabetes and obesity prevention in South Los Angeles. He also gave a guest lecture on the latter topic in one of Prof. Kathryn Derose's Community-Based Participatory Research classes.
His residency also included some less formal activities with students: an introductory happy hour, weekly runs along the beach, weekly small-group lunches, and an outing to a golfing/driving range and dinner in Koreatown. "Overall, I think that informal engagements like these allowed me to connect with a wider range of students than I might otherwise meet through my own series of more formal research seminars," he said.
Part of the Community
Piquado's residency was originally planned for one month, from mid-February through mid-March, but was extended through June. She said her time as Brown Faculty Chair was invaluable. "Having an office in the school area really made me feel a part of the community and allowed for informal interactions for which I am grateful," she said.
Like Wasserman and Williams, Piquado offered two seminars. Her topics were “Oh, the places you’ll go with a Ph.D.” and “Pauper to Ph.D.” In the first seminar, she described the many different paths a Ph.D. can take students, using her own academic, career, and service experiences as an example. In her second talk she shared "essential tools and concepts that I learned and practiced from my experience growing up on welfare to now having a happy, wealthy and financially stable adulthood."
Other activities included a meet-and-greet cupcake reception to start her residency, lunches with students, and a "coffee and chocolate" event in which "we went around the room sharing not our research topic, but the research being done by another person in the room. It was an enjoyable activity to try to share about another student’s research and learn about what others remember about our own work."