Written on April 4, 2018

News From The Department Executive Committee

Academic Review and Planning Document

Every few years, the department goes through an internal review procedure which involves a self-searching profile of the department, a development plan for the next five to seven years, and a request for resources. This academic year, 2017-2018, the CS department is undergoing this process. I was asked to help write the section of the document on “Enhancing Graduate Education”.

It’s a ten page document that goes into the growth of the department over the past five years, the addition of the Profession MS, and many other details. The most interesting section, to me, are the requested increases in graduate student support. These are the big dreams of the department, and may or may not be approved depending on available resources, but they indicate the priorities of the department. These goals include:

  • Additional funding for graduate students including more fellowships and more TAs
  • More professional opportunities like research expos, career fairs, and tech talks that cater to MS students
  • More diversity support including travel fellowships to the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
  • More contiguous space for the CS Department in the Engineering Center, including a 2000 sq. ft. increase in the size of CSEL.
  • More graduate advisor staff positions, including an assistant to Rajshree and an additional Graduate Advisor who would supervise the professional MS degree, dual degree, and certificate programs

The CS GSA is discussing how we could support these initiatives.

Departmental Budget Request

One of the big spring responsibilities of the Executive Committee is preparing the departmental budget. The department makes new budget requests to the Dean of the College of Engineering. The Dean then approves or rejects line items in the budget request. This year, the department’s priority was to increase the number of staff. Due to the hiring of 19 new faculty members last year, the department is severely understaffed. The budget requests largely focused on raises and hiring to prevent burnout and keep the department functioning.

One of the approved staff requests is a promotion for Rajshree. Rajshree’s responsibilities including advising prospective students, current master’s students and PhD. Rajshree also hires and manages approximately 106 TAs, manages the graduate applications, reviews Masters Applications, writes annual performance reviews for PhD students, schedules graduate classes and is heavily involved in curriculum planning. She is a crucial resource for graduate students, and now bares the title Senior Graduate Advisor. Share your congratulations next time you are in the office tower!