Sunday, October 4, 2009

Choosing a New Department Head

Our computer science department is currently in the process of choosing a new department head. Since we're academics, no decision can be simple so the faculty has come up with a complex procedure that may involve a committee, campaigning, multiple rounds of voting, a dance-off, and a conclave.

One of the steps is for every professor to write an essay saying what they think should be done to improve the department. Below is mine:

Dear Colleagues,

After careful analysis of the academic landscape, I am convinced the most important thing for Carnegie Mellon University is to build its social network. I believe our research, students and faculty are of the highest caliber, but I believe our social network lacks high-powered and famous individuals. Having such people associated with us will make our university more well-known and will grow our endowment. I propose a simple three-step plan to improve our connections:

1. Spend one year's worth of operating budget to buy a house in the Hamptons, where rich and influential people have homes. This one would do.

2. Force Ryan O'Donnell, Anupam Gupta, and Luis von Ahn to spend their summers there.

3. With their charm, these three professors would befriend all their high-powered neighbors and convince them that Carnegie Mellon is awesome.

I hope the next department head has the vision and audacity to carry out this fool-proof plan.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Email FAQs

1. Why has the frequency of your blog posts decreased?
I'm currently too busy to come up with anything intelligent to say :(

2. Will you review this paper for me?
See #1 above. I love you though.

3. Why are you so busy?
Yep... see #1.