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3:06pm on Wednesday, 15th October, 2014:



Every year around this time, I have to speak to my advisees. Well, they're called "tutees" now, and I'm their "personal tutor"; this is intended to convey a closer relationship than what is the actuality, though, as I don't meet my tutees every week and discuss their work as might happen at Oxford or Cambridge. No, I just meet them when we're forced to meet or when they have a question they need answering. In the past 5 years, only one student has had a question they needed answering and I never had another meeting with the others after the first (or, in many case, including the first).

This isn't surprising, as the main purpose of the meeting seems to be to ensure that students aren't either about to give up and go home or throw themselves out of a tower window. It is good to meet them, though, and I think it does help them settle in a bit knowing they do have some backup even if they don't use it.

In previous years, the way the tutors have been allocated to tutees is as follows: list the lecturers in alphabetical order; list the students in alphabetical order; allocate the students to the lecturer in chunks of (total number of student divided by total number of lecturers). I may be only part-time, but I still get the same number of tutees as everyone else. Anyway, the problem with this approach from my perspective is that being near the top of the alphabet I got students whose names began with A. That's a problem because surnames beginning with A are dominated by students from Arab countries (where many names begin with Al); that's a problem because the governments of those countries don't send students to the UK to study games, they send them to study Electronics or Telecommunications. I wound up getting students taking courses about which I knew nothing. I may as well have had Psychology or Literature students.

This year, though, it seems I have students who are studying games. The four I've seen so far are, anyway. What's more, two of them are female. What with current industry standards being what they are, I don't suppose they'll remain female for long — but hey, it's two more than I had last year. All four of the students seemed pretty good, and two were very switched on; the other two may switch on once they make a few more friends (Computer Science departments are not well-known for being magnets for extroverts). I'm quite pleased at what I've seen so far, though.

I have another five students to see next week. Fingers crossed I don't get people who want to study embedded systems or lasers then, either.

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