The Lexington Herald-Leader recently ran an advertising supplement that purported to list ten things college professors wanted incoming freshmen to know. I didn't necessarily agree with all ten, but one piece of advice offered by a UK chemist matched almost word for word the answer I give to students who ask: "How much work should I expect to put into your course if I want a good grade?"
I have never been good at following advice, especially when it comes to looking after my own interests. Early in my graduate-school training, a well-meaning professor pulled me aside and said: “Steve, you have a lot of promise, but I’ve been watching you and you seem to enjoy working with undergraduates too much. If you’re going to survive in a university setting, then when it comes to your teaching obligations, you’ll need to learn how to shirk.” I was horrified! Spreading knowledge was the main reason I cared about beco