Habits of the Creative Mind
Although professors expect their students to be curious, many college students have never been taught how to exercise curiosity. In too many cases, their educations may have actively suppressed curiosity. In response to this problem, I’m currently working on a project about how to motivate students to ask genuine, interesting questions and do the deep research necessary to answer them.
Mind, Brain, and Narrative
Writers and critics have long been fascinated by stories about consciousness, but the rise of neuroscience is radically altering our understanding of how the brain works and what the mind is. I’m interested in how brain science is transforming fictional and autobiographical narratives and also in how critics are responding to, using and, at times, misusing this new knowledge.
Building Better Hospices
I’m finishing up the first phase of a collaborative project with faculty in literature, medicine, and architecture about the role of the humanities in professional education. We’ve worked with our students at Rutgers, Columbia, the University of Colorado, and the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine to design creative and humane spaces for dying. In our second phase, we’ll develop pedagogical materials for people who work with the dying and their families. I also plan to write about our collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-institutional work and its implications for the future of both hospices and higher education.
Medical Humanities at Rutgers
In 2012-2013, I’ll participate in an interdisciplinary working group at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers to discuss the future of the medical humanities at our university, which will soon merge with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.