Category Archives: Faculty

Maternity leave

I write as my maternity leave is drawing to a close. My child will start with a full-time nanny during the first full week of August, so that I have time to prepare for the start of classes in the last week of August. I am writing this while traveling to and from my first professional meeting since the birth of my child – and also the first time I’ve been apart from my child for more than a few hours. Continue reading

Planning for faculty leaves

After just three semesters with the CS faculty at full strength, I was on maternity leave this spring, and one of us will be on sabbatical each of the next six semesters. You may wonder how we are managing these leaves as a department.

First and foremost, I am pleased to announce that Rohan Loveland will be joining us as a visiting assistant professor for the 2018-19 academic year. Dr. Loveland earned his Ph.D. in Engineering at Oxford University. He comes to us from Los Alamos National Labs and Dynafit via an adjunct professorship at New Mexico State University. He looks forward to teaching a course on Machine Learning at Whitman in spring 2019.

More of the story below!

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On systems and breakdowns

David Allen’s Getting Things Done is no small part of what got me through my dissertation, and I’ve been using it ever since. I was introduced to the system and philosophy by the postdoc I shared my office with. (A.J. Brush, who has continued to get things done—if you are reading this, thanks again!)

However, I won’t say I apply it perfectly. I experience breakdowns pretty regularly, which means reflecting on my tools or routines to figure out what to change to make it work again. Continue reading

Choose two out of three

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