April 3, 2013, by Graham Kendall
A week in the life of … a Vice-Provost
We are all busy people and I thought it might be interesting to get some idea of what we do in a typical working week.
If you want to let the world know what you in a week, let me know (Graham.Kendall@nottingham.edu.my), and we can decide the best way for you to write blog post.
A week in the life of a Vice Provost
Last week, was quite typical, it that it was typically untypical. So, if you ever wondered what the Vice-Provost for Research and Knowledge Transfer does in a typical week, read on.
I had four meetings spread throughout today with various Professional Services to discuss how we can improve the processes around our MyRA return. Each meeting considered various parts of the MyRA data collection/analysis and we discussed how we can best prepare for the next return. We are thinking of doing a dummy data collection in October, with the real data collection in mid January. This time around (for the 2013) data collection, we hope to be much more pro-active than than 2012 when (although it may not have felt like it!) we were certainly more proactive than for the 2011 return. The meetings we had were with student services, HR and Finance. We also had a video conference with RGS and IS (in the UK) about the support and assidtance that they could provide us; both short, medium and long term.
At 11:00 I did a two hour lecture on Operating Systems. I am not presenting this course in its entirelty, but giving a number of guest lectures as I used to teach this course in the UK. The topic of the lecture (in case you are remotely interested!) was Race Conditions and Critical Sections.
Straight after the lecture I saw a PhD student of mine, who was based in the UK but has now returned to his Malaysian institution. We spent an hour talking about his latest results and what he should be focussing on over the next few weeks.
Today was also marked by the fact that our new Provost landed in KL to take up her appointment permanently (although Chris Ennew has been in change since 1st Jan, and has been running the campus from the UK). Strangely, our new Cancellor is also visiting this week which seems quite apt seeing as they started on the same day.
The final meeting I had today was chairing the Space Management Committee. This commitee meets on a regular basis and is responsible for making decisions, or making recommendations to the Management Board, about space, and its usage, around the campus. The committee has a tough job.
I try to keep a number of days free of appointments, and today was one of those days (apart from the evening). This enabled me to try (without much success) to get on top of my inbox. It’s a case of one step forward, three steps back at the moment.
I was able to plan, and mostly write, the blog posts for the next few days. I try to do one post each working day. That is not always possible, but there never seems to be a shortage of things to write about (which was a worry when we started this blog).
One of my plans other plans for today was to try and start a paper that I have been collecting data for, for the past few months and I did manage to spend about an hour on getting the structure of the paper planned, a latex templete set up etc. But the day was marked by a number of emergencies (that I can’t go into here) that took up most of my afternoon either on the phone, or by sending (and receiving) emails. It was one of those frustrating afternoons where you look back and realise that what you were doing is important (and urgent) but it is difficult to say what was actually achieved.
The evening was spent with colleagues from the UK who were visiting UNMC.
Today was one of those events that marked this week as untypical. Our new Chancellor visited the campus and the day (and evening) was spent planning and participating in those events.
Just before he arrived, I did have a meeting with the MYEULINK team as I am attending an event tomorrow and I needed to find out a little bit about it.
This evening, along with a number of you, was spent at the Royale Chulan when we had a dinner in celebration of our new Chancellor. The dinner was also attended by the UNiM board, as well as many other VIP’s.
On Thursday morning I had two meetings. The first was with i-Graduate who provide a service to universities whereby they survey our students, analyse our data, along with other institutions, and present it in a variety of ways. This initial meeting was to give us some initial feedback on UNMC.
My next meeting was with AKEPT, who we are talking to about various projects and this was the next meeting in a series that we have been having with them.
At 11:0 I had another two hour guest lecture. This one was for the Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course. The lecture (again, in case you are remotely interested!) was on evolving computer programs that can play at an expert level. Deep Blue is probably the best known expample. We cover this is the lecture, but Deep Blue is not articially intelligent, not is it evolved. We also talk about Chinook (which like Deep Blue is not intelligent, nor is it evolved). The main ficus of the lecture was on Blondie 24 which is, arguably intelligent (but that is subject to a philosophical discussion), but it is evolved.
This afternoon I attended, and introduced, a lecture by Professor Edgard Van de Velde, a Belgian academic, who is on a tour of South East Asia, promoting his new book (The Road to Political Democracy: From Plato to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). This event was jointly hosted by MYEULINK and The Belgain Embassy.
This evening four of us from UNMC were fortunate enough to be invited to dinner at the residence of the Belgian ambassador. It was avery enjoyable evening and the Belgian ambassaodr and his wife were excellent hosts.
This week was only a four day week as, although not a national holiday, it a University holiday due to it being Good Friday.
This gave me a chance to try and get on top of emails (no hope of that in reality), start to write blog posts for next week (including making a start on this one), send out the weekly blog newsletter, prepare for Mangement Board on Monday (i.e. write a couple of papers that I was to present), complete the stats analysis on the paper I was working on (see Tuesday), get down to writing the paper (which I hope to submit sometime in April), read an MSc that I am examining for the University of New South Wales, make a start on a PhD thesis that I am the internal examiner for …. and the many more things waiting in my inbox and on my to do list.
Oh well, there is always Saturday and Sunday.
… and don’t forget, if you want to tell everybody about your week, let me know (Graham.Kendall@nottingham.edu.my)