Back to the committee he goes
Friday, June 17, 2005

So, I just got back from my meeting with the department chair. All 45 min worth.

Since I received a letter summing up some "justifications" for there rejection, I came prepared. Something that I think he wasn't expecting ;)

I did start off that I did respect him, etc (which is actually true), but that I would be blunt. Unfortunatly, it would be necessary. ie There's no easy way to present my arguments in a meaningful way if I am to be totally polite or have to dance around. The meaning would be lost in the dance.

He mentioned that I had a relatively lower GPA than the other students that applied and a lot of students applied so the department didn't have the resources to supervise them all.

I pointed out that although my CGPA is ~3.6 and I know one other student has a CGPA ~4 or so, but that is a moot point. The only thing that matters is what the GPA is in the math courses.

My math GPA is the same ~3.6+/- (I'm rather consistent) while the mentioned student above has a math GPA about the same as mine.

So, he isn't really more qualified than I am according to the entrance requirements.

I also pointed out that the department resource problem is exactly that, a department resource problem. This should have no impact on students that fulfill the requirements. The department has to work that out for themselves.

But, since he made such a big deal about it, I asked (also out of curiosity) how many students applied for the honours project. 5!

Five people applied.

So, I asked how many people got the honours project. 4!

Four people got it.

I was the only one denied.

So, I mentioned that I didn't find 5 such a large number. He said, well this department isn't very big.

I pointed out that in a conversation with my wife, while she was in her studies in Germany, there were profs. there that had 5 students under them. One prof, 5 students. Also, these were no undergrad. honours projects: they were Masters theses.

He mentioned that the first year that the honours program was offered, only 1 student took it. And in the next 2 years only 2 took it (this degree has only been offered for 3 years). So, the 5 people applying for the honours project this year was unusually high.

I mentioned the fact that when this department was considering offering a honours degree that they must have had to consider the possibility that people would want to take it.

So again, the resource problem is there own.

I also had to point out the fact that the degree has not been offered long enough for the word unusual or usual to be used to describe the number of people applying to take this class (as a statistician he couldn't deny this fact). It was interesting to see the struggle on his face as his administrative mind stuggled with his Statistics mind.

I as well pointed out that to get into grad. studies, people pretty much need an honours degree now as the bulk of Universities require it.

He mentioned that he didn't really think that it would be such a requirement as when he graduated he only had a 3 yr degree and he got into grad. studies (with a qualifying year).

I had to point out that that was some time ago (read: a few decades) and that things have changed somewhat since then. Competition for grad. school can be somewhat fierce.

I ran into this type of lack of knowledge in the physics department as well. I think that it's a side effect of attending a undergraduate only university.

He tried to point out that there is as well the plain 4 yr degree that I'd qualify for as well.

I pointed out that it is unfair to deny a student a degree that they qualify for because of just one course: because the department lacks the resources to offer a degree that they supposedly offer.

I also mentioned that the fact of my life (I don't know where I'll be after April: perhaps not even in the country), it is paramount that I get this course this year. Especially since, by all accounts, this should be my last undergrad. year (as long as the department doesn't compromise that).

Also, since my wife is still doing term positions, they usually last about 2 years and that is the approx. time to do a Masters, I really need to get this degree done this year. This paragraph has been left for further discussions. Can't use all my ammo in the first battle :)

I mentioned the possibility of getting a supervisor from the university that I'll be attending as a visiting student so that I have a "local" supervisor. This would as well decrease the supposed drain of department resources.

I mentioned that I would be fine with taking the honours project during the next summer. It is a course that is readily suited to distance learning as it is effectively independant study.

That's all I can remember right now. If more pops in my head, I'll edit in some more info

But in the end, all that got done is that he has to go back to the committee to discuss this and will get back to me. He said that this might take some time.

Anyone else think that having a committee to run one course, in a department of about a dozen prof is needless complexity?


Monday, June 27, 2005 8:10 AM


Thanks guys :)

Thank you for the offer, I may take you up on it.

Monday, June 27, 2005 7:00 AM


Arrrggh! No wonder they have a "resource" problem! Devoting a whole committee to a course that applies to four or five people really is a waste of resources.

Monday, June 27, 2005 5:37 AM


Hang in there. Pain and uncertainty are opportunities in disguise for re-creation of the self. Core beliefs need to be checked and changed from time to time. Please feel free to message me personally or on the boards if you need to talk. I'm sure other browncoats want to be there for you too.

Friday, June 17, 2005 1:00 PM


Oh, just having someone acknowledge that I'm not a crackpot (aside from my wife... well most of time she says that ;)) is more than enough help. It keeps me going.

Oooo yes, there is more that I can do even if he comes back with a 'No.'

But, starting an hour or two ago, this honours stuff got a back seat to relaxing for the remainder of the weekend. No balance = no fun, stress, AARRRRGGG.

Right now, I've got the air conditioning on so it's nice and cool, a cotton candy candy stick, some good tunes going, thinking about how I'm going to convince the wife that we have to order Tai food tonight ;) and working on porting py-OpenGL to OpenBSD (ok relaxing for me ;)).

At any rate, thanks for the support and have a great weekend :-D

Friday, June 17, 2005 9:49 AM


Poor you, Sig. How incredibly frustrating. Would you like us to mount an insurrection or form a brute squad or something to help them change their minds?
Wish we could do something to help you out.


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