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Dreading September 1

The 1st of September 2017 is nearly upon us. I do not look forward to is advent. Why? Because way too much work that I’m doing has a deadline of 1 September or 31 August. Let’s see … In order of importance, I have.

A tenure/promotion review for a colleague at another institution. These reviews are one of the important, often uncompensated, work we do as faculty. And that’s about all I’ll say. (Since I’m indicating lengths below, I should mention that the current draft is about 1600 words.)

Readings for week 2 of CSC 151. Those are sketched, but not finished. I promised my colleagues and mentors that I’d have them ready about a week in advance, so those need to be ready very soon. September 1 is the latest possible. Let’s see … that’s about four readings and two labs. I also have a reading and lab to write today. I completed the reading, which is about 3000 words and eight printed pages. I also wrote a lot of related code, which are not included in those limits.

A paper submission for SIGCSE [1] with my students on the Data Science for Social Good code camp. My students worked really hard to design and run the camp. They also wrote an excellent abstract. We now need to follow up with an equally excellent paper. SIGCSE submissions are capped at 6 pages (two column, 10pt, ACM format), which I think ends up being closer to 20 if you do them in "standard draft form (12 pt, double spaced, single column). See last year’s paper for more details [3]. Circumstances dictated that we could not write this paper over the summer, so we are writing it now. I’m fortunate that the students are taking the lead and that they’ve already chosen times for us to meet.

An application for an Obermann Fellowship. That fellowship will allow me to continue to reflect on the ways that we can better support the Digital Liberal Arts within the Computer Science department. Let’s see … that requires a two-page narrative project description, a one-page context statement, a five-page CV [4], and a half-page appendix on departmental and institutional planning. I better get to work on that appendix, since it requires some consultation with my department chair. I also worry about this sentence: In each case, the Dean and President need to ensure that granting these leaves will not compromise the quality or functioning of the academic program. I am not essential, or should not be. But having too few computer scientists compromises the quality and function of our academic program.

My musing on one year of daily musings. I expect that I will long regret it if I don’t get that musing done on time. Unknown length.

A paper submission for SIGCSE with my colleagues on our new functional [5] data-science-oriented introduction to computer science. Writing the paper will tie together the work we’ve done and help us make sure we achieve what we want from the course. SIGCSE submissions are six pages [8].

A paper submission for SIGCSE with my students on their Craft of Code camp. They also worked hard on this camp. In choosing which one to focus on, they chose the data science one. But it would be good to write up this one, too. You learn by writing.

Bidding on papers for SIGCSE. I’m also serving as a reviewer for SIGCSE [9]. This year, as in the past few years, we have the opportunity to read the abstracts of papers and indicate which ones we are more interested in reviewing. There are over two-hundred paper submissions to SIGCSE [10].

Oh, yeah, there’s also the normal class workload. I’ll need to try to keep my musings brief [11] and myself efficient. We will see.

[1] SIGCSE stands for both Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education and Annual Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, which is run by the SIG. In this case, I am referring to the symposium, which is refereed [2].

[2] I think the appropriate term is blind refereed. The reviewers don’t know the names of the paper authors. The paper authors don’t know the names of the reviewers. But the paper authors are presented with a list of names of the program committee members who meta review the papers (synthesizing the six or so reviews each paper receives), so it isn’t completely blind. Of course, the authors doesn’t know who meta reviews their paper, so perhaps it is.

[3] Whoops. I should put a copy of that in Digital Grinnell or on my Web site so that others can access it. I guess that’s a task for another day.

[4] My current CV is 17 pages long plus an orphan (more or less) on p. 18. A targeted reduction to five pages will take some time.

[5] Functional does not mean it functions; all of our courses function [6]. Functional means that the language treats functions as first-class values [7], which allows us to naturally use things like map/reduce.

[6] Or so I hope.

[7] I realize that the programming languages community no longer believes that we should be putting languages into bins based on their primary paradigm. However, we do find it valuable to expose students to different ways of thinking in the introductory curriculum.

[8] See above for the details on how much is in those six pages.

[9] No, it’s not a conflict of interest. The number of submissions to SIGCSE is large enough, as is the enough reviewers per paper, that one cannot downgrade competing papers in order to get one’s own paper accepted. I’m also confident that the members of our community are better than that.

[10] I think that means that about one third will be accepted.

[11] Except for the one year musing mentioned earlier.

Version 1.0 posted on 2017-08-27.

Version 1.0.1 of 2017-09-02.