It’s been a while since I blogged. Since I was in Seattle for SIGCSE 2017 and it’s the start of Spring Break, I decided to hang out here for a few extra days. It seems like a good time for a reflection on both SIGCSE and the first half of the spring semester. Continue reading
This was a big week for Computer Science at Whitman:
- On Saturday, I learned that Personnel Committee is recommending me for tenure.
- Yesterday, the faculty voted to approve the creation of a new Computer Science major.
Before there was any inkling that I would leave Grinnell, SamR and I hatched a plan for Grinnell’s first computer science affinity reunion. We decided on Fall 2016, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CS major, the 10th anniversary of the CS department (which happened to coincide with my arrival at Grinnell in 2006), and department founder Henry Walker‘s transition to senior faculty status. Continue reading
In what has become a tradition, I report on pre-registration for next semester. The highlights:
- Enrollments blew up at the 200-level.
- Enrollments in CS 167 and two out of three 300-level courses are strong but not overwhelming.
- Enrollments in Algorithms are underwhelming, but we’re not worried about it.
In academia, at least, it’s a rare privilege to write the criteria by which your work will be evaluated. That was, in fact, one of my major tasks for the 2015-16 academic year, and part of my backlog of blog topics. Why is it on my mind right now? While I am being reviewed for tenure at Whitman, I also just submitted my first letter as an external reviewer for a tenure case at another institution. That other institution’s departmental evaluation guidelines look quite different from the ones I wrote for Whitman, and that got me thinking back on the process of developing guidelines.
Academic labor is typically framed as falling into three categories: teaching, scholarship, and service. There is also a common saying about tradeoffs in computer systems research: “X,Y,Z, choose two out of three.” Lately, I’m finding that in any given week I can be caught up on work for the CS program, or I can be caught up on grading, but not both. It’s a little harder to define being caught up on scholarship—meeting deadlines perhaps? In any case, if I meet a deadline for scholarship, I’m surely not caught up on everything else. Continue reading
In the last week, three different people have asked me what we are doing at Whitman to ensure women are included in the CS program. I guess that means it’s time to write a blog post.
I’ll address what we’re doing now, the effects we’re seeing, and what I think we will be doing in the future. Continue reading
Last week I traveled to Austin, Texas with seven students for the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. My job was to moderate a panel on teaching-oriented faculty careers—my fifth such panel, but the first at Tapia. CS program funding allowed me to bring along several students. To maximize impact, I recruited from amongst this fall’s class mentors and the leadership of the CS@W student club. Students are expected to share or apply what they learn on campus.
I’ll start out with a diary of my experience, and conclude with my students’ reflections on their experiences. Continue reading
In August, Whitman’s computer science faculty moved into three adjacent offices recently vacated by Technology Services. It so happens that there is a common space outside the offices, separate from the hallway. We were permitted to use funds left over from creating the two lab classrooms for minor renovations and furnishings.
I didn’t ask for a CS Commons, and I’m not entirely sure that we deserve it when so few other departments and programs at Whitman have space for students outside of classrooms. I’m very grateful nonetheless. This post will address the design of that space. Continue reading