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
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!
This was my second summer of participating in Whitman’s student-faculty summer research program. Below I share my stories of two projects that were quite different in their content and their material circumstances.
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
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.
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
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
Students often have difficulty understanding how principles of academic honesty applies to problems in computer science, and especially programming problems. In my nine years at Grinnell, I had all too many discussions with my colleagues about interpreting evidence of academic dishonesty.
While core values and principles are held in common, institutional policies and procedures differ. This is one of the things that made last year a lonely year for me professionally. I sorely missed having colleagues to consult with about potential academic honesty cases, colleagues familiar with institutional policies and the special problems of academic honesty in computer science.