The garden of forking paths

This week, I had a reasonably good meeting at NLNRU to plan for the upcoming year.  In particular, the four of us who will be most involved in the administration of the program this year went a long way toward sorting out and distributing our various responsibilities.  During the course of the meeting, we began discussing a weakness of the program: that a significant number of our students arrive in the second year of a two-year program, about to begin their theses, lacking some element of preparation that our curriculum could actually provide.  In part this is because our students get a lot of choice about what they take in their first year, with relatively little oversight.  And by the time they have a thesis adviser, they’ve often missed the opportunity to take a course that said thesis adviser wishes they’d already taken.

One part of the solution is going to be the curriculum overhaul we need to start this year, but another part is beefing up first-year advising–so I’m going to do that instead of teaching one class.  First, of course, we need to figure out what first-year advising should look like, and who should be involved, and all that jazz.  Exhilarating, or scary, depending on how you look at it.


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