BE Board:Visiting committee

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(Undergraduate Major (Amy))
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* Ciriculum development
* Ciriculum development
* Senior design course
* Senior design course
* Increased number of UROPs looking for experience in BE labs
* Increased number of UROPs looking for experience in BE labs (is there any additional funding available to attract them ? )
* Questions to consider:
* Questions to consider:
**How reasonable is/ was your TAing requirement (time commitment, work load)?  Should the undergraduate TAing assignments be assigned differently?
**How reasonable is/ was your TAing requirement (time commitment, work load)?  Should the undergraduate TAing assignments be assigned differently?

Revision as of 12:20, 18 April 2006


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Student opinion


Topic Areas

Add, subtract as you see fit


  • Students have suggested a variety of changes to bolster the curriculum.
  • In general, students feel the core courses are good preparation for the qualifying exams and provide a good foundation for a PhD, but are divided on the relevance to research.
  • Classes some students would like to see: applied statistics, more graduate BE electives, instruction on good paper writing skills, practical biology lab

Advisor Selection Process (Diana)

  • First year funding/Timing of joining labs: we understand that a lack of funding is what limits incoming class sizes. Changing the timing may allow greater flexibility, but the majority of students are happy with the current system, with a few at both extremes.
  • Rotations: Overwhelmingly against required rotations, although the option would be appreciated by some. IAP would be a possible time for rotations.
  • Process: Students would appreciate a list of available faculty (those who have space), but are otherwise happy with the process. Morning preview seminars are especially helpful.

Facilities (Nate & Maxine)

  • Space
  • BATS and seminar space can be emphasized.
  • Proximity?
  • Concerns used to revolve around common space - smeinar room, student lounge etc. - We have outgrown our seminar space and the Stata works nicely in the interim, but perhaps the more pressing issue is lack of office space for first and second year students after they have joined labs and lack of bench space for large or rapisly expanding labs.
  • Can pressure be put on the MIT admin. to make building 56 and 16 even more homogeneously BE, or does it look like we'll stay scattered in 4or 5 different buildings for a long time to come?

Career Development (Nate, Jordan)

  • ISS
  • Industry connections - What happens nbow that formal centers like BPEC and BTP are going away?
  • Academic Career Workshops - Are students in BE well prepared to interview for top notch faculty positions?
  • BE Undergraduate Course Development Opportunities
  • Where are current graduates working? (John Kisiday - faculty at Colorado State, Nora Szasz - start-up, Jon Fitzgerald - Merrimack, Jon Szafranski - Guidant, Laurel - industry, Ali K - HST faculty, Jenny Lee - Centacore, Csani Varga - Millenium, Dan Erickson - Sales/Consulting, others?)
  • Where are the remaining gaps?
  • Are more people going to biotech or pharma in industry? Is BE training better received in one sector versus the other?
  • Where are our graduates doing/considering post-docs? Is there a necessity to change fields significantly betond your own interests??
  • Is the length of the PhD program deterring some students from toiling away in a post-doc for 2-4 additional years to get a faculty position and scaring them away to industry?
  • Do people feel that now that most of the major BME and BE departments around the country have stopped expanding, getting Whitaker funding etc. that it is much harder to get a good faculty position now?

Undergraduate Major (Amy)

  • TAing Requirements
  • Faculty time split between more responsibilities
  • Ciriculum development
  • Senior design course
  • Increased number of UROPs looking for experience in BE labs (is there any additional funding available to attract them ? )
  • Questions to consider:
    • How reasonable is/ was your TAing requirement (time commitment, work load)? Should the undergraduate TAing assignments be assigned differently?
    • Do you enjoy working with the undergraduates?
    • Do the instructors adequately and clearly cover material in class? Do you have to spend a lot of time outside of class explaining and clarifying


    • Would you like to be more involved in developing the undergraduate classes or have you had the oppurtunity to help develope them?
    • What do you think is missing from the undergraduate cirriculum?
    • Do you think the undergraduate classes will detract from the graduate experience and how?
  • Summarized survey results:
    • TAing Experience
      • Majoring of students found it valuable(~4)
      • Suggestions to avoid increased or unequal responsibilities
        • Pay TA’s
        • Add graders
        • Add undergrads as TA’s
        • Formalized guidelined for TAing
      • Suggestion – teach graduate students how to teach to better fill the need for the undergrad major
      • Students split on TAing two terms (2.64), most people would be willing to TA for additional compensation (3.32)
    • Students interested in being associate advisors for undergrads (2.97)
    • Positive part of their education (3.21) and want to be involved in learning about what is going on (3.87) and being more involved in the development process (3.76)
    • Participation in undergraduate development via:
      • A session for all interested parties at the yearly retreat
      • Perhaps graduate students could have access to the evaluations of students in the undergraduate courses that they TA. TA's and professors could then discuss potential improvements to the course.
      • Having student input for A) which courses should be included, B) which are mandatory, which are elective, and C) the content of certain courses.
      • To aid in curriculum development, course plans should be presented to the Division (perhaps in a

seminar-type forum?) to provide the opportunity for members of the BE community to provide initial feedback on the undergraduate curriculum.

Thesis Mentoring (Diana, Danielle)

  • Most of the mentoring information focuses on career development and mentoring. Very little information about mentoring during the course of the thesis.
  • Thoughts on full vs. joint faculty and their time for students AND knowledge about BE program requirements, etc.
  • Formal mentoring for academic writing.
  • Other sources for formal mentoring: committee members, older students, recent graduates ?

Faculty Research Directions

Faculty/Student Interactions (Maxine)

  • Do the faculty have less time for the graduate students now that the undergraduate major has started?
  • Are the faculty generally supportive for all types of career development, or only for academic positions?

ABS/Bioengineering (Paul, Bahar)

General BE Board Activity Updates (Diana, Barry)

  • BE Student Directory with possible Alumni Directory extensions?
  • BE New Events Fund
  • Increasing First-year study breaks
  • New BE Diversity Initiatives
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