Monday, March 26, 2007

Of applications and white supremacy

Regular readers (both of you) might recall that I'm heading up a program to have a bunch of undergraduates do research in our department over the summer. Last Friday was the deadline for applications. Here are some interesting tidbits from that process:

We received about 60 applications. Not bad at all. I am told by people with similar programs that next year we will receive up to 300! We got the grant money to run this program in mid-February which is when most programs have their deadlines. Many students would have already arranged something for the summer before we got going this year. I'm not sure I can handle 300 applications...

Of the 60 applications we have about 10 that consist only of one or two letters of recommendation. No application form, transcript etc. as required. What's with that? It takes a lot of time and effort to write a letter of recommendation. I think it's disgusting that so many students would ask faculty to write such letters and then not even bother to apply. Okay, one or two applications might have got lost in the mail, but 10?

Apparently some foreign students are blind to the stipulation that applicants be US citizens or permanent residents (a requirement of the NSF who is funding this program). Despite this being in big bold red letters on the home page of our web site. And stated in at least two other places on the web site. And on the application forms. I haven't counted those students in the 60 apllications.

One young lady from Romania emailed me to see if she was eligible. When I replied that she was not, she promptly invited me to be her "friend" on Facebox (apparently a Romanian version of the very popular US Facebook). I haven't replied to that, or the following three invitations... She's on my junkmail list.

Here's a copy of an email I received late Thursday night (keep in mind the deadline was Friday)-
"I was thinking of applying to the program but I thought the deadline was later than tomorrow until I just saw on the website. I can send in all required application materials by tomorrow except for the recommendations. I have told my professors they can have another week to send their recommendations. I hope that's okay." [Emphasis mine]

My reply-
"No, it's not okay."

Finally on applications, while I was typing this I received three express mail envelopes with more application materials and a phone call from some student's mother who wants to hand deliver an application... Oy.

And white supremacy? DocStymie, this is one you'll really like:

Rep. Charlie Rangle, D-N.Y. (remember he's black) when asked on public TV what he thought about the President, replied, "Well, I really think that he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all".

Word of the post:

sang-froid \sang-FRWAH\

Freedom from agitation or excitement of mind; coolness in trying circumstances; calmness.

Example: It takes remarkable level of sang-froid to catch a Matthew Hayden six with one hand while not spilling the beer held in the other. (See here, although I'm afraid it will be lost on Americans.)


Goose said...

Congratulations on the applications! 60 seems pretty good for a first-time program.

I love the white supremacy line, and thanks for referencing my blog in your word of the post!

Odyssey said...

It's now 66 applications and I haven't seen the afternoon mail yet...

No problemo linking to your blog. I thought the description of the guy catching the six without spilling his beer most apropos.

Milo said...

Charlie Rangel rocks!

mouthfulofpancake said...

I can't believe his mother called you!!!! Surely that screams a big "NO!" ?!?!?! IS he still in diapers or something?

JollyRgr said...

I'm with sis! He needs to "dry his eyes and toughen up!" as I am often heard to tell young officers....well sometimes...maybe:-)

Catching sixes in the crowd without spilling beer should be our national sport....oh, it is!

Odyssey said...

Actually it's a she (whose mother called). The student had faxed her application materials to her (the student is in Tennessee). The mother works here and wanted to walk the application over (which she did). Now why the student didn't fax the application to me, I don't know... Having looked at the application, the student is actually quite good. Maybe still in diapers though.