Student Talks

At Williams every senior math major chooses a faculty advisor and gives a 35/40-minute colloquium talk. Since we currently have over fifty senior majors, this keeps us pretty busy, but we think it well worth the effort.

Here is how I like my advisees to prepare, starting a month before the talk and consulting with me every day or two:

1. Outline of talk, with details of proofs.

2. Board drafts. Each page consists of exactly what is to be written on one section of blackboard. Each such board should convey one main idea, with a heading, a concise, abbreviated statement, and some kind of figure.

3. Draft rehearsal. Student sits down alone at keyboard and rehearses the talk by typing everything and then emailing it to me for comments and revisions.

4. Rehearsals at the blackboard, at least one with an audience recruited by the student.

5. Final rehearsal with me, ideally two days before the talk.


See also Lou Ludwig’s “Technically Speaking” video clips.


  1. Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science:

    It takes hard work to be an amazing teacher…

    Frank Morgan is a wonderful teacher. I took a course from him in college and was impressed by his ability to help students of varying ability levels. (This was MIT so I guess the abilities were all on the high……

  2. Student:

    Professor Morgan is the most amazing professor I have ever had at Williams (and there are a lot of amazing teachers here). It is difficult to be his student for sure, but he cares a lot about each and every one of his students and wants us all to learn as best as we can. He is available to all of us all the time if we need him. He knows how hard we struggle and tries his best to turn our struggles and efforts into positive results. The way he structures his class obligates us to be at least sort of on top of things all of the time. Things are due all the time! But I know that that’s why we learn 🙂 He gives us the structure that some of us would not be disciplined enough to follow on our own… I absolutely love his teaching style and I am sure that I will carry his influence on me for the rest of my life. Take a class with him! If not, just stop by his office. He’ll want to get to know you! Thank you, professor Morgan 🙂