UW Graduate School

April 12, 2017

How Prof. Scott Freeman Works

Scott Freeman, Principal LecturerScott Freeman

Department/program: Biology
Research focus: Teaching — course innovations and their impact on student learning

Scott Freeman is known on campus as a champion of active-learning strategies. A lecturer in Biology, he employs flipped-classroom learning techniques in his courses, and students are responding with higher GPAs and lower fail rates. A former UW graduate student himself, Freeman earned his Ph.D. in zoology in 1991, and after a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton, returned to the UW as Director of Public Programs at the Burke Museum. Freeman was a recipient of the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010.

Work

Give us a one-word description of how you work:

Lots.

How do you manage your to-dos?

Hand-written notes, also sticky notes on my computer start-up screen.

What are your essential apps, software or tools?

Microsoft Office Suite (standard stuff), Acrobat Professional, DropBox, Google Docs (less so).

Where do you most often work?

My office in Hitchcock Hall.

How do you manage your time?

Start work in the very early morning, when there few distractions. Be disciplined about web surfing.

What is your best time-saving shortcut?

Bike commute as exercise.

What are some of your productivity strategies you’ve honed over your years in academia?

Say no to travel (or research or service) opportunities unless they are particularly high impact. Teach the same courses over and over and make them better each time, versus many new preps.

Life

What mundane thing are you really exceptional at?

Telling Toyvo and Lena jokes.

Who are Toyvo and Lena?

Sometimes called Ole and Lena jokes, they are jokes told in a heavy Swedish accent about first-generation Scandinavians in Minneysotor. I mean Minnesota.

What are you currently reading for pleasure?

Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver

What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

Changes every few minutes.

How do you recharge?

Work in the woods (reforestation project); raise puppies for a service dog agency. Weekly dinners with family from the area.

What’s your sleep routine like?

In bed by 10 p.m., up by 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. Sleep until 7 a.m., or even 8 a.m. on weekends.

Inspiration

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Get back up, and keep going.

Who’s your support system?

My spouse, family and friends.

What pitfall do you consistently see students falling into?

Self-doubt is number one; for some, poor time management.

What do your most successful students do?

Focus. And believe in themselves and the importance of their work.

How UW Works was inspired by LifeHacker’s How I Work.

Did you enjoy this series? Check back Wednesdays during the Spring quarter for the latest mid-week motivation! While you wait, you can read more in this series, nominate a student or professor to be featured, or answer the questions yourself! (Students should answer the questions via this form; faculty should use this form. If you prefer to answer the questions over email, drop us a line at gradnews@uw.edu).


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