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Cra mentoring 2012 students


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Mentoring and managing computer science grad students....

Mentoring and managing computer science grad students....

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  • 1. Dementors are among the foulest creaturesthat walk this earth. They infest the darkest,filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair,they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of theair around them... Get too near a Dementor andevery good feeling, every happy memory will besucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor willfeed on you long enough to reduce you tosomething like itself...soulless and evil. Youwill be left with nothing but the worstexperiences of your life. —Remus Lupin to Harry PotterDE MENTORING AND DE MANAGEMENT OF DA STUDENTSDAVID NOTKIN ● UW COMPUTER SCIENCE & ENGINEERING February 2012 ● CRA Career Mentoring Workshop
  • 2. Observation2  Only universities have students on a regular, long- term basis: if you are at a university, you must care deeply about students  Nico Habermann said: “Focus on the students, since graduating great students means youll produce great research, while focusing on the research may or may not produce great students.” Alan Perlis, 1st Turing Award recipient, did: “When a professor insists computer science is X but not Y, have compassion for his [or her] Nico’s adviser, Edgser Dijkstra, graduate students.” did not share this philosophy
  • 3. Warning3  I have hardly any scholarly knowledge about mentoring students – and I had none when I received the UW Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award in 2000  Thus, my credentials for this session are weak Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 4. Observation4  Credential #1: My mother was a first-rate role model, a really good social worker who could listen!  Credential #2: I have advised/co-advised 19 PhD students Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 5. Warning5  19 is a pretty small number – so building a model of students from it is hard and dangerous  Even now each student is different enough from my previous students to each need a different kind of mentoring Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 6. Observation6  Even effective faculty mentors should be able to benefit from thinking hard about this throughout their entire careers – happens in practice much less than it should  You should have ongoing discussions throughout your entire career about mentoring! Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 7. Warning7  Mentoring is (in part) a relationship between two people  Relationships are inherently complicated and non- algorithmic Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 8. Observation8  Mentoring  advising  Roughly, advising focuses on scholarly work while mentoring focuses on career/life success – not so easily separable, of course  There is a difference of opinion about whether one should have a single mentor (almost always the adviser) or multiple mentors I recommend strongly that you encourage your students to talk to other faculty often Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 9. Warning9  I will talk about my style of mentoring  But someone once said: “Mentoring is (in part) a relationship between two people…”  And you aren’t me! Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 10. Notkin’s approach (many exceptions and variants!)10 Hi, I might want to do some software engineering research with you. Great! What do you think sucks about software engineering and why? Critique the ideas, give some pointers for reading, etc. Define a project Work on the project Problem-oriented, not It’s the student research, so solution-oriented they care more about it Until Project = Dissertation Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 11. Warning11  My approach leads to one common struggle: if you have a grant or contract with specific obligations, how do you satisfy those obligations while allowing the students to define and own a problem to work on?  With NSF, I haven’t found this to be a problem – in fact, more often, the students’ work leads to a proposal (which they generally take the lead on)  I have much less experience with DARPA, etc., in this dimension – but in any case, great work is the high- order bit and can often be spun effectively Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 12. Observation12 You and your students have related but distinct objectives You Your students Great research Great research Publications Publications Tenure PhD Getting grants Getting funding Fame and fortune A great job Great students Great recommendations … … Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 13. Warning13  It is terrific (in my opinion) to work with students as much as possible as equals and colleagues  However, don’t buy your own bullshit about this! Why?  It’s not entirely true – see differences on previous slide  The students know it’s not entirely true – you write letters, you help build their connections, etc.  No matter how you want it to be, it’s fundamentally a power relationship (maybe this is more about advising than mentoring, but it surely holds if you are both adviser and mentor to a student) – don’t abuse it but don’t forget it’s real Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 14. Observation14  Mentoring and advising is hard, fun, and extremely rewarding  You’re de mentor, but they will do de work – so don’t forget dat! Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012
  • 15. 15 Notkin ● CRA Mentoring 2012