Architects’ Pot Luck

These days, wild, crazy fun among architects involves Pecha Kucha style presentations.  This is a high-speed format for sharing images and ideas.  With Pecha Kucha, each presenter selects/provides 20 images.  At the Pecha Kucha event, the slides are projected on a large screen in sequence for 20 seconds each.  The presenter talks, and the slides move on wether or not the speaker is ready.  It’s entertaining — in part because it’s actually quite difficult for the speaker to stick to the 20 second window.

This format keeps the speaker from droning on too long and it leaves time for more people to present.  It’s pot luck: everyone brings something to share and you can almost always find something you hadn’t expected but quite enjoy.

An architect from Williamsburg, Dale Weiss, organized a Pecha Kucha event at ArchExchange East last November and he has uploaded the representations to his (very elegant) website.

You can view my Pecha Kucha presentation, of urban reflections from Ireland, by clicking here.

Learning about Learning at Virginia Tech

…to a pleasantly large group of colleagues.

Presenting at the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy

Virginia Tech just hosted its sixth annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (i.e., college teaching).  It was my second foray into this conference and it just keeps getting better and better.  The organizers manage to get sponsors to cover the entire cost, so there’s no registration fee.  That is truly amazing.

The conference gives me a chance to learn great new ideas (the sessions and keynote presentations were innovative and engaging), catch up with colleagues from around the country and world (with about 47 countries and as many states represented among attendees), visit my alma mater (I earned two architecture degrees from Virginia Tech), and even visit my family and childhood friends (Blacksburg is also my hometown).

I also took a quick jaunt over to Virginia Tech’s School of Engineering Education — one of two such schools in the entire world — to learn and to meet new colleagues.  Dr. Maura Borrego, whose research I’ve been citing in papers and grant proposals, provided a fabulous introduction to the program.  In addition, I got to meet several of her colleagues, including Dr. Marie Patretti who directs the undergraduate components of the engineering educate program, and Dr. Stephanie Adams who is Virginia Tech’s new Head of Engineering Education.  I even got to attend one of the Ph.D. classes in Engineering Education, taught by Dr. Vinod Lohani, and discuss assessment issues with the students.  They were discussing a paper that I’ve frequently cited as justification for continued research on outcomes of Problem-Based Learning.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the level of interest my colleagues had in the talk I delivered.  The audience was attentive and engaged and stayed after with lots of questions.  Thanks to the wonderful moderator who snapped great photos during the talk!

Fulbright Scholars Program: Calling New Applicants

Are you an aspiring Fulbright scholar?  This year’s call for applicants is open!

The competition for the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program for the academic year 2015-2016 will be opening in a matter of days.  Be sure to consult the IIE/CIES website ( for complete award information.  Please also note that CIES will be opening its webinar series this Thursday (January 30) at 2:00 PM EST with “What’s Fulbright?,” a presentation on the Scholar Program in general [note from Shannon: you should be able to find this in the archives since it already happened]. That will be followed on Wednesday (February 5) at 2:00 PM EST with “What’s New?,” a presentation on 2015-2016 competition highlighting new awards, program innovations and other areas of interest.  As always, be sure to note that the competition deadline will be Friday (1 August 2014). We look forward to seeing you.
Best wishes,

Andy Riess, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Outreach
Fulbright Scholar Program
Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)
Institute of International Education (IIE)