minutia press.
Glad you're back

This is the last semester I teach before taking a one-year sabbatical from teaching. It's not that I don't enjoy teaching--quite the contrary--it's that I need a break to focus on getting a new research program in place and regearing for new things.

So I'm glad you're back, CS students, because it did get very quiet without you around. I've started up 431. The first lecture always feels strange to me but things are settling in and it looks like it will be a great semester.

How lucky we are at Wash U to have such great students -- colleagues of mine remark on this frequently -- and how good it is to have you back.

One former student stopped by late Thursday evening as I was preparing to leave. He told me he landed a job downtown, and from the details it sounded like an interesting job. He said that the kind of programming they do reminds him a lot of class projects and coding experiences he had while a student at Wash U. This made me feel quite good, because of his experience but also because we find ourselves in an Engineering School. While others (I shall not name) may look down at us as being nonacademic, we are academic, but we also teach people how to do useful things. I don't see anything wrong with that.


I'm quite looking forward to 431, and even convinced a friend of mine to take it with me, who after one lecture said that you are the best lecturer she's ever had. I would have to agree.

I was talking to my girlfriend, and she asked me if I was interested in compilers. I responded that I was pretty interested in them, but beyond that, I would take any class that you taught. The university will be poorer for the year that you are gone, but I hope that you have a great time.

Posted by: Nathan at January 23, 2004 11:01 PM

well you're too kind. I think it's the material in 431 that just sells itself. I hope you enjoy the class -- it was my favorite class at Rice.

Posted by: rkc at January 24, 2004 7:33 AM

It's also my belief that no matter what the material, the teacher makes the class. I could take some random class (say Accounting 2610) and end up with Zach, my current teacher, and not really care about the material, but enjoy the teacher and class enough to stick with it.

So I think there's a reason why 431 actually had a waitinglist at one time -- people enjoy your teaching as well as the material (even though they haven't had it yet, so they probably enjoy your teaching more).

I mean, there's a reason I took it this semester as a soph instead of waiting until next year.

Posted by: Ed at January 24, 2004 8:34 AM

Again I'm touched, but now I have to do a good job!

Posted by: rkc at January 24, 2004 6:14 PM