TAs should record their hours in anticipation of surveys

a note to those serving as TAs this term (others can ignore) –

the director (Campbell), assoc director for UG affairs (sachse) and assoc director for grad affairs (kirby) would like to gather some data on how much students are spending as part of their TA commitments. to this end, I plan to survey TAs at mid-term and end of term. in anticipation of this, I’d like TAs to please keep approximate track of the hours you are spending. you will hear from me again at mid term with a survey request.

PhD program admissions and admit weekend

Please note that our PhD admission process is proceeding apace and we will be admitting students soon. As has been discussed previously, our plan is to create a facebook event page for our admit weekend, which will happen 1-3 Mar 203. We encourage PhD students to join this event page as a means for facilitating interaction with admitted students.

The admit weekend will have a similar structure as previous years. A key topic this year and going forward is how to optimize the poster session to make it maximally satisfying for current students as well as admits. I encourage feedback on this topic.

Town Hall Meeting Notes

The town hall meeting occurred on Jan 9 as planned. An outline of the content of my presentation follows:
Job Definitions

  • list of director and 2 associate directors of the Sibley School and their functions
  • list of DGSs of the three fields of TAM, AE, and ME and their functions
  • my roles in the Sibley School (Associate Director for Graduate Studies) and Mechanical Engineering Field (DGS)

My three goals as Assoc Director

  • foster intellectual community among students and faculty
  • use community to enhance professional development of students
  • increase recruiting, retention, and marketing of students

Goals for generating intellectual community

  • associate social events with academic events
  • build community around Q/A/B exams
  • create shared buy-in for MAE colloquium
  • create shared buy-in for SIGMA professional development (seminar series, etc)

Recruiting, retention, marketing

  • broad marketing/recruiting: I am implementing a protocol such that all papers, grants, exams, graduations are listed on web site
  • “modern” approaches to recruiting
  • I am working to increase our use of social networks for recruiting and as part of the admit weekend
  • I am starting (in fall 2013) targeted recruiting of UG students
  • role of community
  • community helps recruit, helps retain students
  • marketing externally helps recruiting, but the same marketing leads internally to community

We had a bunch of Q&A; I will make no attempt to summarize it all. A couple of key takeaways:

Stuff I said or we talked about

  • My stress is on protocols as much as possible — I am looking for processes that lead to the outcomes I want. If these work they give a path forward beyond my tenure as Associate Director
  • some mention of how I will do targeted recruiting
  • some discussion of the MAE colloquium and strategies for its success
  • some discussion of things students would like to be more informed about

Questions I couldn’t answer:
* Will the student participation in the 2012 search be codified in departmental protocol.

Areas of concern:
* there is perception among some students that TA loads for some classes are systematically higher than stated hour ranges (15-20 hrs).  I will be following up on this.  Marcia, it seems, was already following up on this, and we will coordinate.