Friday, January 30, 2009

The Mathematician

A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal had an article about the Best and Worst jobs...You can read about it here

But here are the top ten jobs to have right now:
1. Mathematician
2. Actuary
3. Statistician
4. Biologist
5. Software Engineer
6. Computer Systems Analyst
7. Historian
8. Sociologist
9. Industrial Designer
10. Accountant

I found it interesting that the top three jobs are things you major in at HPU in our department. So today I showed my students this article. I of course talked to them too about how really most of these jobs are high paying jobs (just not in education). They found that quite amusing and interesting too and I think it might have sparked some interest in some. Either way, I guess that means if I lose my job in teaching, I could probably find a great, high paying job somewhere at a company and help solve real world problems.

I also showed my class the following IBM Commercial that I happen to see on TV the other night while watching the Duke vs WFU game (down with the Blue Devils!!!)

Thanks for a great commercial IBM!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I meant to post this at xmas...I received a 10 pound bar of Ghiradelli Chocolate for Christmas from my work. What do you do with 10 lbs??? Yes 10 lbs!!! Merry Christmas:

The bar was about 2-3 inches thick and it took a while to break it down into big chunks which I have in quart size bags that are in the freezer. I think I remember there being 22000+ calories in the bar. That is a lot of calories!

We did make homemade hot chocolate with it and some fudge to drizzle over ice cream. But that hardly made a dent in the chocolate. Any suggestions?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Time for Change

So yes, we have a new president, and I think he will do great things..but I don't want to be political in my blogs. There are too many outspoken people out there and I don't feel educated enough on politics to talk about issues when I am not 100% up to speed with all the facts.

This post is about change at work. After much debate, the faculty finally voted on switching our curriculum at HPU to 4 hour courses vs 3 hour courses and it passed. There is still some flexibility that courses could be more (like labs and sciences or whatever) and things could be less, but most courses will all turn in to 4 credits. There are good things and bad things about this switch, but what it means is that I will go from teaching 4 courses per semester to 3. Yes, still the same number of hours, but this means 30 less papers to grade, 1 less class to prep for and that I think is a huge deal. I also think it is a good thing because every department has to go and revise their curriculum which I think needs to be done.

The goal is to start fall not too long, but I think it will be a painful year at HPU working on a new curriculum and implementing it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Policy

I work at a private university, which means basically we make our own rules, like we hold classes on Labor Day. Since we are a residential campus, something like 90% of our students live on campus, so we hold class practically always.

There was lot of forecast for snow, anywhere from 1-4" around here and when I woke up this morning, it was snowing. Maybe 1/2" on the ground. But see the forecast was that it was suppose to snow all day today not that it was magically going to be on the ground this morning. I teach an 8:00am class and a 9:30am class on Tuesday's, so I got up and turned the tv on to see if school was closed. Every county in the state practically had closed schools but not HPU. So I get dressed and everything and check my email and the HPU website one last time at 7:05am, and still nothing.

So I head on my way...what normally takes 35 min, took 50min, and I arrive at 7:55am. And then my phone rings as I am getting out of my car. What...classes are canceled until 12:30??? An email went out at 7:25am that classes were canceled for the morning. Lovely. A 35 minute warning. For those like me who have to leave at 7 to get here on time, we all show up ready for class to find the classes empty.

So here I HPU for the day...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A new beginning

No, nothing to do with running or anything, but yes the semester started back up on Tuesday and yippee, it is back to teaching. I have 4 courses this semester, all ones I have already taught, but yet again have decided to change things up and do some different things in classes, which means more work for me.

I sat down the other day to do my annual self evaluation (for tenure), and after typing it all up, in terms of my teaching progress, professional growth, and service, I actually have done quite a bit. I did manage to finally have my first paper published in December.

Other than that, it is just about to get really cold here in NC. Tomorrow's high is maybe going to hit 30. And it is windy out. All that cold that was in the midwest is finally arriving here. By the look of the 10 day forecast, I don't think we will have any moderately mild days anytime soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

I spent the week in DC at a math conference. We interviewed 22 people for our job opening next year and found some great people. I, on the other hand, did not do a single bit of exercising while I was there. It wasn't too cold the first day or two but then it got cold and rainy. Not so fun.

It was so great to see some old friends from high school and some of my friends from NCSU. We made it back Thursday evening in time to watch the big game and then I spent yesterday sleeping. Yes, I pretty much slept the entire day. I think this was a combination of still somewhat being sick, 4 days of not sleeping due to my snoring roommate, and 4 long days of interviewing and talks and stuff. I felt pretty sick yesterday but feel better today. Maybe all that sleep helped out.

School starts back up on Tuesday, so lots to do before then. I think today, since it is suppose to be warm (upper 50's) and sunny, a nice afternoon run seems like a good idea!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Welcome 2009

As I sit here watching USC put the hammer down to Penn State, I thought I would update on the next Zack vacation. We have looked a lot of places and deliberated a lot over what we could do, how much time could EZ take off, how much could we afford, what type of place did we want to go see...

After a lot of discussion it is done, we have all of our plane tickets and we are headed to Ireland for a week and then Italy Italy for 2 weeks. We originally wanted to do England/UK and France too, but it became too much, too many days, too much money, etc. We can go back.

Oh, and it just so happens we will be in Italy the same time as the Giro d'Italia-and Lance is racing it for the first time. So more rearranging of our itinerary and there you go, no we will be in Florence the day one stage finishes and then be there to see the start of the next stage! How fun!!

Been thinking about triathlon options too, this means of course I would have to race a race in April or first week in May (White Lake??) and that would be it until way later in the season. I don't do vacation to exercise, so three weeks off and that would put me behind. So who knows, I am not out there to be any sort of elite triathlete and had already decided I didn't want to race in the elite age group any more...too many times finishing last and not enough determination or really desire to want to spend my free hours training enough to move up, so back to the age group I go. Triathlon is just something I do to keep me fit and healthy, and right now I am enjoying just running-plus I still have this goal to break 22 min in the 5K!