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A Scientist, an Engineer, an Artist, and a Designer Walked Into a Bar: Humor and Disciplinary Culture

April 1, 2022

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“Getting” a joke relies upon recognizing that a narrative has suddenly changed from the expected to the absurd.  To be in on the joke, an audience must know what is expected: the audience and the joke teller must share common ground . Common ground is also an important feature of culture. In our previous work, we have studied how undergraduate students develop a sense of “disciplinary culture”: what it means to be a scientist, an engineer, an artist, a designer, or whatever profession they are preparing for after graduating. In honor of April Fools’ Day, this playdate will explore the relationship of humor and disciplinary culture.  As part of the playdate, we will be collecting examples of disciplinary humor from the audience and telling them to each other. Please be prepared with a joke about your discipline, particularly jokes that only people with training in your discipline would get. (We’re not kidding!) 


  • Lisa McNair, CENI
  • Tom Martin, ICAT


  • April 1, 2022


  • 8:30am EDT
     Networking, Coffee, Donuts at Community Assembly, Creativity and Innovation District LLC
  • 9am EDT
     Presentation begins in the Community Assembly and 360 Online

Virginia Tech faculty can receive Professional Development Network (PDN) credit for attending

  1. Register at 
  2. Check in with Phyllis Newbill during the event.

Location: Community Assembly, Creativity and Innovation District LLC