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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Empathy and Communications‏

Empathy and Communications‏

The way you communicate and criticize others can speak to your character.

Dear students,


I once took a writing class in which we gave weekly written critiques of each other's papers. Our instructor was explicit that written feedback was supposed to guide the author in how to improve for the next paper. He urged us that, unless crafted carefully and constructively, written comments can convey an unintended tone which can seem overly critical or harsh. While I still wish my writing was better, that cautionary remark about writing and tone stays with me.

That class was nearly 30 years ago, before the internet existed (!). Now, we email, text, and communicate via writing more than ever. Psychologists tell us that in person-to-person interactions we use expression in the face, the eyes, and many non-verbal queues to gauge others' response and adapt our language, especially when we notice we've unintentionally phrased something too strongly. That, of course, is at the heart of empathy. Like anything else, it's a learned skill.

While it's important to keep things in perspective, writing with those unintended consequences in mind requires intentionality -- as does seeking out face-to-face meetings to make connections and establish relationships.

Best wishes for the coming week,
Dr. Kopp


PS: Each week I try to let you know about deadlines for scholarships, MCAT info sessions, internship info sessions, etc. Check out the week's events here at this link.

PPS: Each month the Natural Sciences Council publishes their online paper, the Catalyst. Check out this month's issue here: http://utcatalyst.blogspot.com/. It is full of lots of interesting articles and advice from students. You can regularly subscribe to the Catalyst by clicking on this link: http://eepurl.com/EZJFX. Natural Sciences Council is your official student organization liaison with the college and with student government, and they put on many events of interest to students in the college. Consider joining their efforts and meeting many great individuals.




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Wednesday, 17 August 2022

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