CS GSA important news: about CS School plan for 5 years

I’ve attended our school meeting and it had only one topic: “Five Year Plan 2013-2018”.
Our school is setting up its plan of the further development.
While document is not public yet, and is still a draft, I will not disclose it completely.
But here are the sections related to grad school:
  • Our graduate programs (MSc and PhD) currently have approximately 200 students. We plan to maintain this number with our current program offerings, and further details regarding this can be found below under Graduate Program Quality Enhancement and Research Excellence and Funding. We are also currently developing a professional Masters program in Big Data Science with a planned enrolment of 30 majors. Given this, we plan to increase the total number of graduate students to approximately 230.
Surrey Expansion Strategy
  • To support the growth of the SoSy program to the planned target of 240 majors, we plan to hire two more research faculty in Surrey in the area of Software Engineering. This will allow the School to offer a full undergraduate program with enough capacity to consolidate the Software Engineering Specialist Certificate program with Software Systems at the Surrey campus. Our instructional labs will be enhanced to better provide the hands on embedded and mobile programming experience that is a required part of our Surrey program. 
  • The planned Health Informatics undergraduate program will be offered, jointly with FHS, at the Surrey campus. Four new faculty members and one staff member will be hired to support this planned new program, which is expected to grow to a total of 60 CS majors.
  • The goals for the graduate program in Surrey are a graduate student population of at least 50 (currently 30) and the ability to offer a cluster of 3 graduate courses each semester to complement the Burnaby offerings.
  • The existing space of Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) should be earmarked for the above expansion of our School when MSE moves into its new planned facility.
Graduate Program Quality Enhancement
  • The School aims to better recognize, promote, and reward academic and research excellence of our graduate students. We plan to 1) establish a series of best paper talks given by students, 2) increase support for entrance scholarships to compete for the best incoming students, 3) use CS
  • graduate fellowships to reward existing students on a competitive basis, e.g., 1.5 graduate fellowships or travel awards, 4) improve diversity in the student population and in particular the balance between domestic students and international students, 5) improve the competitiveness of our students in acquiring external scholarships, e.g., NSERC.
  • We will improve our reputation and reach by making connections. The first component is to engage our Alumni by establishing a professional on-line network, e.g. Linked-in, and to utilize this network for student employment, internships, external funding, etc. The second component is to establish and engage international partners such as China CSC, Brazilian Science without Borders, Microsoft Research Asia, the German DFG.
  • Addressing the great demand in industry and building on the strengths of our current faculty, the School will offer a new Professional Masters program in Big Data Science. Different from the few existing programs elsewhere, the proposed program will cover the whole spectrum of systems, algorithms, data mining, machine learning and visualization. The program will be taught in an experiential style with strong industry engagement and will include a group capstone project or internship. This premium-fee program will support the hiring of four new faculty members and one staff member.
  • School is planning to introduce a Professional Masters program in Big Data Science (I am not a specialist, can’t give a definition of Big Data). Professional Masters means a course-based program, with predefined courses only on Big Data for a premium fee (cost more than original course-based program).
  • School is planning to actively expand Surrey campus, because right now Surrey is the fastest growing city in the Lower Mainland, and its government actively supporting SFU on its way to become the main university in Surrey. As a CS GSA president and the student who took courses at Surrey, I am constantly advocating for improvements in the grad students’ life at Surrey campus. Right now it is extremely boring there, no lunch room, no Xbox or Ping-Pong room, therefore students’ like to come there only for their meeting with supervisor. However, while everyone among professors agrees with me, they don’t want to do anything in this direction.
  • When accepting new grad students, our CS school plans to invite more domestic students (as they are supported by Canadian government and can apply for NSERC) and introduce higher diversity among international students, i.e. accept more students from unexpected countries; bluntly speaking, school is planning to accept more students from the countries other than Iran and China.

GSS Meeting - June 18 Report

The second GSS meeting for the summer semester was held on June 18.

A couple of interesting issues discussed at the meeting were:

  • Approval of change of Graduate Benefit Plan provider from Sun Life to Desjardins. They will give us a Pay-Direct card, which means no more upfront payments and subsequent claim forms (for pharmacy expenses and most services).
  • GSS Members to be encouraged to go and vote in the upcoming TSSU strike vote.
Full summary in the attachment.
Download this file (June Council Update.pdf)June Council Update[Summary of June 18 GSS Council Meeting]122 Kb

GSS Meeting - May 28 Report

The first GSS meeting for the summer semester was held on May 28. 

Some of the important issues which were discussed during the meeting are:

  • Selection of new insurance company for the Graduate Benefit Plan.
  • More funding for the graduate student orientation from the GSS than before.
  • Show of support for the student on strike in Quebec.
  • Hosting the Think Again! conference.
  • Increased funding for Professional Development Grants due to high demand.
We may also propose changes to the Caucus funding model if required, its been unchanged since November 2009 and is currently being reviewed. Any suggestions or comments are welcome. 
Full summary of the meeting is included as an attachment.
Download this file (May-Council-Update.pdf)May Council Update[Summary of May 28 GSS Council Meeting]124 Kb

SFU Open House preview

Simon Fraser University invites everyone to attend Open House on May 26th, 2012!

This would be a great event!

All schools will showcase their best works and compete for attention of the prospective students.

Our School of Computing Science is not falling behind! In fact we grabbed one of the top spots, near the entrance to the Applied Science Building.

And our CS graduate student associations also organizing a booth, where we will give away chocolates!

Our students will tell everyone what is like to be a Master or Doctoral student at SFU.


Stop by for a chat!

About Summer 2012 General Meeting

We held our first meeting of Summer 2012, on May 23 (Wednesday). It was awesome!

Originally, it was planned that around 10-15 people would attend our meeting, but due to several innovative decisions we had over 20 people!

So what exactly created such a huge attendance?

  1. Food! We provided 3 kinds of pizza (2x vegetarian, 1 chicken and 1 beef). We also brought sandwiches with cheese, turkey breast, ham, salad leafs and tomatoes!
  2. Drinks! Hot tea, ginger ale and coke!
  3. Nice, friendly and productive atmosphere.
  4. Timing. We announced planned duration of meeting (1 hour) beforehand and held our meeting during lunch hour (12:30 - 13:30).
  5. Announces! We send several e-mails and tried to meet people and invite them to meeting in person.
  6. Room reservation. We reserved room for 2 hours (12:00 - 14:00) 2 weeks prior the meeting, so nobody would bother us, while we making important money-spending decisions.

We will report about official decisions in the following publications when minutes would be ready.