Friday, 6 March 2009

Silly progress

Silly March hares run now. Academic writing can be verbose, but as a fellow PG tweeted, you can't write the concluding paragraph as "C'mon, give us a PhD" - just doesn't feel right.

And it's time for the progress reports. Some of us have acquired new skills in using each other's complicated new coffee maker. That's not on the list at the PhD skills web site.

Yesterday we students met with our research director.
Agenda: accommodation and possible training needs.

issue is gaining a life of its own so we needed to talk about it openly. There are around 28 of us but desks for only 21, and we need to plan for new students in October and the department next to us is poised to nab our space if we don't use it efficiently.

Solutions include:
  • Hot desking: (see definitions here & here) with 2 or 3 desks available for people who come in only occasionally and who are willing to lose their permanent space. Research director wouldn't have suggested it and thought it could be an insult, but is now happy to consider it. There are technological and health issues to implementing hot desking. See this for example.
  • Different shaped desks: these use the space in a different way & might be more efficient
  • Another floor: encroaching on what we already have on another floor, getting desks to keep all the writing up students together. The advantage of a possible recruitment freeze is that we can get the empty desks! Someone commented that he'd like the fertilisation that you can get from sitting near each other. He isn't a native English speaker, but he liked the sniggers and even when corrected to 'cross-fertilization' he offered his green thumbs.
  • MRes: none of these students came. We voted that they have smaller desks, share cupboard space, that they sit in the cupboard, or even perhaps outside.
We identified two needs, both concerned with writing:
  1. writing long documents using Word and Endnote
  2. writing at all
It was a satisfactory discussion that cleared the air on the rumours about space. Now we have some plans ready to implement either in October or earlier if we have to. Director is already looking into what writing help we can get.

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