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How to teach professors humility? Hand them a Rubik’s Cube.

man in mask holds Rubik's cube puzzle
Ben Haywood holds a Rubik's Cube.

Part of the mission of the Faculty Development Center at Furman University is to engender creativity and empathy among faculty members. Ben Haywood, assistant director of the FDC, and a Dennison University professor came up with a winter break challenge designed to help faculty become better instructors by reminding them what it’s like to be a novice. The challenge? To be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle in five minutes or less over the course of a six-week workshop. “It introduces this idea of intellectual humility,” Haywood said in an article appearing in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

Furman accounting faculty member Sandy Roberson had other ideas. She remembers thinking, “This is not only not fun, but it’s sucking up time I don’t have. It just stressed me out.” She also admits she gleaned much from the workshop, apart from the dreaded cube. She said she now has a better appreciation for just how frustrated her own students could be when the accounting principles aren’t clicking right away.

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