Blog Articles 11–15

Late Work

A white rabbit wearing a waistcoat and looking at his pocket-watch, running late. From Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland.
White Rabbit from The Nursery Alice, illustrated by John Tenniel.

As long as I have been teaching, I’ve used a “late day” policy in most of my classes. I designed this policy after learning about universal course design while taking Preparing Future Faculty at the University of Minnesota, but I don’t think I’ve ever publicly written down the motivations and design of this policy. So here you go!

Academic Portfolios

A stack of files.
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

A few years ago, early in my first faculty position, I wrote about how I tracked academic work. I still implement the core ideas of that piece, but most of the details have changed; I thought now, after working on my first annual review after applying for tenure, would be a good time to write an update.

What Is a Dissertation?

A loose manuscript.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

If we can aggressively simplify for a moment, earning a Ph.D has three primary components:

  • Do research.
  • Write it up in a dissertation.
  • Convince a committee of faculty that what you’ve done and presented is worthy of a research-based terminal academic degree.

There are some other things in each program, such as courses and qualifiers, but this is the heart of what earns the degree.

But what is that mysterious “dissertation”?

Yay Reproducibility

An assembly line of VW bugs
Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

One of my projects this year has been to refactor and upgrade our Book Data Tools to be easier to work with. Along the way I found some bugs in the original data integration, and the process of finding these bugs and assessing their impact forms a useful case study for some of the principles I teach in my data science class.