The analysis of the 4 datasets I have has finally paid off, and results are very interesting. I’ve written up a structure for the article we want to get out of this, but so far haven’t had the opportunity to discuss the structure. Partially laziness, partially sickness, partially scared that again it wouldn’t be good enough yet…

But the structure will be discussed a week and a half from now, with the whole committee together so I had better get my act together.

My other research is panning out as well, albeit not was fast as hoped. First there were technical difficulties, and do I ever not like programmers who think their mission in life is to fill their hours, rather than getting a good product and a satisfied client! Next there are participant difficulties, mostly in terms of getting enough participants rather than anything else. Especially when you are going to do something like exploratory factor analysis or principal components analysis it’s important to have enough people give answers, otherwise there’s not enough data to see patterns in the first place. And yet, even knowing that, I think I wouldn’t have changed my current experiment.

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Recently, I found this in my inbox:
_______________________
Keynote Speakers
_______________________

CBR’s “girl-power” is well represented by our two high-profile invited
guest speakers:
– Professor Susan Craw, Director of the Research Institute for
Innovation, DEsign And Sustainability (IDEAS) at the Robert Gordon
University, and
– Professor Edwina L. Rissland from the Department of Computer Science
at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Obviously, it isn’t enough that there are high-profile guest speakers. Their status as “girls” has to be emphasized and accentuated. One has to wonder why… Taking a quick look at the previous conferences, apparently there have been female speakers before, although the invited speakers have never been only “women”. Hmpf.

Last week, four out of the seven days I spent being sick and hanging around in my home. Being sick of course doesn’t prevent one from reading or writing email, although friday was a rather low point and the laptop was turned off as much as possible. However, students still emailed.

Wednesday was the introduction to the course I’m coordinating this semester, and not everything went as smooth as I hoped. First, a student emailed that she couldn’t find the literature in the handouts. Well, no, since the literature was hosted elsewhere on the internet. Location: specified in the syllabus, obviously. (Acutally, there were more emails in that vein, but an announcement on the intranet took care of that.)

Second, we recently received an email from our students (and it’s still unclear to me whether these are the bachelor or the master students) concerning mandatory attendance, grading exams and level of the lectures. All of it rather positive actually, since they mentioned they would like the staff to keep track of attendance, return grades within the specified time (in my alma mater, if grades weren’t returned on time everybody got a pass, period), and make sure lectures were tailored to the appropriate level. Well, huray, rejoiced I! Students care about education and show they care!

So I mentioned the letter in the introduction, but unfortunately several students took this to mean that the mandatory attendance in our course was because of this letter. Uhm, yeah… so not, giving that letter way too much credit. Of course, this has to be rectified, since it’s rather unfair for the student who sent of the letter to get thisĀ  kind of blame from collegea student.

These appear to be some of the side effects of me opening up my mouth in lectures without thinking through beforehand what I will or won’t say. Obviously, there’s still much to learn in that corner. But at least it didn’t deter me in showing up, or feeling quite good about being able to coordinate a course for the first time.

Learning point: carefully think through notions and consider consequences before opening mouth to say something to students!

Or what to do when you co-supervise? I’m used to my students being co-supervised by somebody from the university, but not that somebody from Vague Company is actually sitting in on the meetings and tries to push through their own agenda.

Really, what we planned to do was to discuss this beforehand. Obviously, both of us miserably failed to remember this, which may have resulted in a confused student. Maybe the confusion was good for his soul, but it didn’t really convince me.

We’ve now hashed out which is who’s responsabilities and who should say something when, but bringing this to the meeting table might require more practice than a 20 minute discussion. I understand my co-worker wants to be closely involved, the student is working for his project after all. On the other hand, if I have to stop him from starting to write out my student’s problem statement something hasn’t been communicated well. Indications for important on content, yes. Brainstorming for topics, yes. Actual writing out? No, that’s the student’s responsability as far as I am concerned. How will you learn to take your own notes from a meeting when you can assume somebody else will do that and actually email you the results? Students should learn to bring their own external memory.

Likewise, my co-worker has a number of side-deliverables he wants to see – but how crucial they are and how feasable is entirely unclear right now. I’d rather the student planned for the main focus first, and then take a look at how / whether to achieve those other deliverables. I wonder what other people’s take on student responsability and co-supervision are?

I heard through my ComnpanySupervisor that CompanyManager apparently has a rather skewed image of me, which seems to be largely non-Company, which doesn’t bode so well really for our future relations. The problem is that he has never really shown any of this to me, so I couldn’t really try to rectify this through actions (since that would probably be best). So, how now to proceed?

Part of the problem is the financing of PhDs within the Company: they’ve hit on a new scheme (again) and that always makes it harder to place the longer-busy PhDs somewhere appropriate. In terms of “So, to which project can I give a valuable contribution?” especially, since that’s certainly expected. The biggest problems arise when the project you started working in is all of a sudden quit – but your PhD isn’t finished yet, or you’re still doing a more fundamental part and at the moment can’t show anything concrete? Apart from publications in peer-reviewed conferences, obviously.

Part of the problem is that CompanyManager and I have a very different background and that means that things can get messy in complicated in the translation. According to him, I should have more peer-reviewed journal articles by now, but I have at least 6 peer-reviewed conference articles, in highly-regarded conferences. I guess I really need an impact factor for conferences also, maybe. Also, I probably was a bit more vocal when he couldn’t use it, and/or took some things I wanted to discuss more personal than I intended them. Meaning he might now see me as more of a jammer than a valuable employee… All of this is obviously conjecture on my side, since although CompanySupervisor told me some of what he said, I can hardly go and ask CompanyManager since he would probably deny most of it.

The end-result at the moment is that I’ll have to spend more time at the Company rather than the University (4:1), and show as much goodwill as possible while remaining myself. Also, refrain from making comments during meetings, even if I am really rather puzzled by the hows and the whys of the management-goingson at the moment. Meh.