October 1, 2021

Right, back to this then is it? Well, it’s been quite the week, so why not celebrate with a weeknotes…

This week was induction week, when all our new students officially enrol with us for the year, and we get to meet them for the first time. For years induction week was my own personal hell, back when I was running operations for the Postgraduate courses in the School, at a time of unprecedented growth. The logistics of trying to get a few hundred students to meet everyone they need to meet (and each other), get the information they need and prepare them for the teaching that will start next week is a real challenge. These days I get to sit back and the organisation is handled by others. Having been so involved in the process previously its one of those difficult times where having moved to another level of management you have to work very hard not to start butting in to your ‘old’ job; treading that fine line between offering some advice from your own experience and micro-managing tasks. Fortunately the team running induction are incredibly capable, so my involvement was limited to signing on to a few Zoom calls[1] and saying hello to all the new and returning students, which was a pleasure.

Outside of the School induction, we also got to meet our new batch of CompJ students. Once again we’ve got a really fantastic mix: some working journalists, some people just out of university, some techy/CS types. They seem like a good bunch and I think they’ll keep Aidan and I on our toes. One of the highlights of their induction (for me anyway) was the Data Walk on Monday. We took them out of the building and around some of the city, stopping off in a few places to consider different elements of data collection. Of course, this being Cardiff the weather fluctuated wildly from gloriously sunny to absolutely chucking it down, and we went from happily strolling along the river in the sunshine to sheltering under a fir tree in the park, desperately trying to stay dry in a downpour. A brilliant introduction to the city, and probably a moment the students will remember for a long time!

This week was also the first week that we were able to really start using our shiny new building. I spent my first full day ‘in the office’ since early 2020. I saw a lot of people, some of whom I’ve not seen for ages. I was also reminded of the dangers of working in the office when I was interrupted at least fifteen times by people dropping by to ask seemingly random questions. My office setup is also not quite right; my new standing desk is lovely, but the webcam and microphone I’ve got at work are nowhere near as good as the kit at home, so I may need to upgrade. Also my work laptop is still rubbish, so thats going to need sorting soon, I’ve spoiled myself by using my personal macbook for work for too long.

One of the more interesting things about the new building isn’t the lovely teaching rooms, or the socialising, or all the collaboration spaces, but the commute. I cycled all the way from Penarth to the new building and there were only two small sections where I was mixed in with road traffic. The rest of the route is entirely segregated cycle lanes. It makes for a much less stressful journey, even if it is a couple of km further than the old commute. I need to try out a route that’s a bit more like the ‘old’ commute across the barrage, but as ever it’s that tricky ‘getting across the city centre from south to north’ that makes it difficult. Oh for a cycleway straight up the Hayes…

Overall it was a positive week. Outside of induction events and prepping for teaching next week I had a lot of meetings where we talked about the future and things that we’re going to do this year and they made me feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Onwards.


New PSB album hasn’t grabbed me the same way as Every Valley did, but this is great

  1. We’re doing a lot of induction online because our shiny new building wasn’t quite all ready at the time we were planning, and we didn’t want to risk more chaos! ↩︎

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