I’m not getting much time to blog these days because there’s so much to finish off before I step down from my position as Head of School for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex.
Today I chaired my last Progression and Award Board. This is the meeting at which we check examination results against the criteria for awarding a degree (for graduating students) or students to progress to the next stage of their course (if they are continuing). Today’s was for students taught postgraduate programmes in Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy. In previous weeks I’ve done two other PABs: one for UG graduating students (Years 3 and 4) and another for progressing students (Years 1 and 2). That’s in addition to doing a similar job as external examiner at the University of Cambridge. Which reminds me, I need to write a report for that…
On top of that I’ve had three solid days of interviews for faculty positions in Mathematics and Statistics which are part of a strategic plan that involves expanding and diversifying the research and teaching in Mathematics, to go alongside similar expansion and diversification in Mathematics.
Oh, and this afternoon I have to chair my last meeting of the MPS Executive Group.
I’m glad I’ll be leaving the School when it’s doing well, with record student numbers, increasing faculty numbers, higher than ever research grant income and good league table positions for its two Departments. On the other hand, I have had enough of the enormous administrative workload and have no regrets about stepping down. I’ve tried my hand at management. I think I’ve done some good things here, and am definitely leaving the School in a better position than when I arrived. But it’s definitely time for me to move on.
I was at
South Kensington Technical Imperial College on Monday to do a PhD Examination. After the viva someone asked me if I was enjoying “winding down” before my departure on 31st July. In fact it’s been even more intense than usual over the last few weeks. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard sentences that begin with the words “Before you go, can you just….”.
I’ll get a bit of a break next week to do focus a bit on science, as I’m off to a meeting in Ghent (Belgium) on Maximum Entropy and Bayesian Methods, known as MaxEnt for short.
When I get back my last main responsibility will be the Graduation Ceremony for Mathematical and Physical Sciences on 19th July. After that I may finally get “to wind down” a bit!