All posts by Siva Vaidhyanathan


Going Public the UVa Way

“Why does a stationary skater remain stationary?” That’s a question that Lou Bloomfield asks his students in the opening lecture of “Physics 1050: How Things Work,” which he has taught at the University of Virginia for 21 years.

Many physics students think they understand inertia. But they might not actually understand how profound inertia is unless we see it in … uh, inaction.

So Lou stands up on one of those huge lab tables that anchor science lecture halls and places a smaller table on top. O…


What’s the Matter With MOOCs?

One of the most interesting and maddening issues to emerge from the debacle at the University of Virginia over the past month has been the obsession that people far removed from the actual work of teaching college and university students have for MOOCs.

MOOCs is the acronym we use to describe “Massive Open Online Courses,” such as those offered with great fanfare by Stanford University, MIT, Harvard, and others. We saw this obsession expressed in the e-mails that UVa Rector Helen Dragas exchange…


What We Learned at UVa

As much as I like and respect President Teresa Sullivan of the University of Virginia, the two-week struggle to restore her to her office was never about her. It was about who gets to guide the future of a great public research university. And in a sense, it was about how all great public research universities will be governed and guided in the next few years.

That’s why it was so gratifying to receive supportive correspondence from people around the world. Alumni and students were the most v…


The Right Way to Lead Higher Education Through the Digital Age

Here at the University of Virginia, we have been going through a traumatic couple of weeks. As a result of a reckless and radical move by the Board of Visitors to drive President Teresa Sullivan from her office, we have lost financial support, students, and talented colleagues. The board has damaged the reputation of this great institution. So we on the faculty are fighting to restore the reputation.

When the rector of the Board, Helen Dragas, declared late last week that she was unsatisfied by…