Category Archives: Co-curriculum

Departmental communications re: Fall 2020

Just over two weeks ago, President Kathleen Murray announced to students, staff, and faculty that “the fall 2020 semester will primarily be via remote learning.”

I spent the rest of that Friday processing the news and finishing other work already in progress. On Saturday, I woke up to an email message and a Slack post from a student proposing a discussion of the news that same day. As department chair, I scrambled to formulate a response. Fortunately, I’d already thought a fair bit already about this possibility. Below, find my email to all CS students that Saturday morning, and the results of a Q&A session during our regularly scheduled Tuesday evening CS Tea. Continue reading

Reflections on five weeks of staying home

Yesterday was a good day. The weather was perfect: not too warm, cool, cloudy, or windy. My daughter and I took a walk in the park and splashed in our backyard pool (5’5″, inflatable). We talked with her babysitter on Google Meet. I spent a couple of hours clearing my email inbox and taking care of some paperwork, while my daughter played by herself in the morning and watched extra episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in the afternoon. I sat on the back patio during a long conversation with my closest colleague, and I took a walk during a shorter call with my longtime peer mentor. I wore a new pair of sandals, ordered online from the manufacturer at 50% off after a large retail order was cancelled. My Apple Watch says I got a full hour of exercise (though it also says I climbed 44 flights of stairs, which I know is not true). My husband picked up lunch from a taco truck and cooked Ottolenghi’s shakshuka for our dinner outside by the creek with a bottle of wine. My daughter’s bedtime was easy, and I had a little time to relax before bed.

This morning I woke early, took a shower, and started writing this before I heard the calls of “Mommy!” I’m about to publish as lunchtime approaches. Continue reading

Why computer scientists need to read literature

Yesterday, my beloved colleague Sharon Alker in English joined us for a CS Lunch discussion of how Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is relevant to computer scientists. In a nutshell, she argued that 1843 was a time of technological change in many ways like our own, and she had us closely read some short passages in that light.

But before we looked at A Christmas Carol, Sharon shared the following list with us. I have gained her permission to share that list with you, gentle readers. Continue reading

The Pledge of the Computing Professional

Last Wednesday we celebrated the third annual Pledge of the Computing Professional at Whitman College, with our first two computer science majors, three computer science minors, and an independent major.

The Pledge is a rite-of-passage ceremony for computer science students and others who intend a career in computing. Inspired by the Order of the Engineer, a pin and a certificate serve to remind alumni of their moral and ethical responsibility as a skilled professional.
Continue reading

Whitman CS Summer Experiences 2017

This post shares some of the diversity of our students’ summer experiences—a very important part of a computer science student’s education. I’ve gathered short reflections from a few students and linked to the blogs of a few more. This first draft represents two summer research experiences (one at Whitman and one at a large research university) and two internships (one closely associated with Whitman and one not). Continue reading