Thursday, February 5, 2009

Departmental Review

I went to check my departmental mail today, and in it was a survey for graduate students about the department. Apparently they do this every time a new Chair is chosen. I assume that the staff and faculty are given similar surveys to fill out, albeit with different questions.

It's six pages long and has questions ranging from general things about your program, to questions about your supervisor, your research, the courses you took and the department in general. Here is a nice sample of them:

In general, how adequately did your undergraduate courses prepare you for the courses you have had to take in graduate school?

Do you find the research you have been working on for your thesis interesting and exciting?

Is this a pleasant department to be a part of? Why or why not?

and my personal favorite:

Would you recommend **University** as a place to study physics and/or astronomy at the graduate level?

Now, some of them ask for just a rating (poor to excellent) but some ask for expansions on the answer, or have no rating system at all.

As you may know, I'm not exactly happy about my current lot in life, and I'm not particularly fond of the department. I do want to let them know what they can improve on (like getting rid of Grumpy McGrumperson who never smiles and rarely even acknowledges the pressence of graduate students) but here's the problem: it will be so obvious whose survey is whose!

On the first page they ask what program you're in, where you did your bachelors and masters degrees and so on - it will be plain as day that this is my survey (considering I'm probably one of the only Astronomy PhD's who did their BSc and MSc at different universities).

DH says to just not answer particular questions - or to at least find out how they are going to distribute the data. My guess is that the secretary will put them all together and then distribute it in one document (i.e., she'll be the only one to see the individual surveys).

In any case, I'm not quite sure yet how I'm going to answer these questions: sugar coated or the harsh truth. Too bad I wasn't already done my degree...