I've signed up to be an academic advisor to the engineering freshmen again, am looking forward to that. I've really enjoyed the contact with the freshmen this year, and hopefully will write a couple of posts about students' freshman year if I have enough material. It turns out Lehigh is following closely the recommendation of the Boyer Commission on reinventing undergraduate education; for instance, we have an inquired-based "introduction to engineering" course freshman year, to help students decide on their major. I've also signed up to help facilitate the discussions organized by the Office of the First-Year Experience for the freshmen on the biography of the Dalai-Lama, since he will come to Lehigh in July 2008. (I still find the name "Office of the First-Year Experience" a bit puzzling, but hopefully I'll get used to it before the seminars on the book start!)
Looking back on my three years at Lehigh, what I've enjoyed most is the opportunity to make a difference in students' lives. And, quite frankly, not everyone needs a teacher to make a difference in his or her life - most kids are perfectly successful all by themselves. But I can think of half a dozen students for whom it has really mattered that I taught or advised them, and when all is said and done, I'm happy if I've helped just five or six or seven kids out. Not everyone can take pride in such a tally - some people never even help one kid in their whole life, and the thank-you notes I've received make it all worthwhile. I only wish that other people were a little more respectful of all the time I spend advising students and setting a good example.
I am now going to get back to a schedule of 2-3 posts a week as originally planned. Next post (in a few days) will be on quantitative models in business - since it's summer on Lehigh standards I will post more often on business than education until the school year starts again. Enjoy!