Tuesday, 26 December 2017

JJ's 2017 in review.

After writing a review like this last year I thought it'd be interesting to write another one!

Looking back to last year's review it was clear that in 2016 I thought I was working at my limit. This year I know I've gone way beyond that limit. Towards the end of the year I was almost unable to keep going. I was finding it impossible to find energy to start anything new and trouble keeping all the different streams of projects going through my mind. I don't think anything I did on it's own was too difficult but just the combination of multiple different projects was tough. Especially things way outside my comfort zone away from science research and teaching.

I could tell this work load did effect my family life too much. Being stressed and not having energy was a bad thing. Part of the issue was changes at home meaning that I needed to be home earlier than before which meant I had to try to be more efficient with my time and trying to juggle too many things.

Anyway, I survived and a number of things have been completed which means I don't need to worry about them any more. On the big plus side I did also get promoted to "Senior Lecturer above the bar" which is reward for doing so much work. While I still need to do more to get my next promotion in a few years it's good to already have a number of acomplishments. I just need to make sure I don't fill up my to-do list with more things that get in the way of research so much. Especially as I have a sabbatical second semester next year.

So anyway here is a (probably incomplete) list of everything I've done this year....

Service (astronomy):
  • Edited and published the proceedings for the IAU Symposium, #NZstars2016 which was run in 2016.
  • Took part in continuing discussions to set up Astro Aotearoa of research astronomers in NZ group. This led to the running of the first PhD summer school at Auckland run by myself with support from Nick Rattenbury and Richard Easther. Also the first science meeting which was also a success.
  • Won the Bronze Pleiades award for Auckland Physics Department in collaboration with the department’s equity working group. 
  • More public outreach talks at Stardome and Thames.
  • Curated @astrotweeps for a week again.
  • Refereed lots and lots of papers again and was named one of Nature's referees of 2016.

Service (University, Academia and wider):

  • Oversaw the redesign and teaching of second year courses in department of physics. This year we concentrated on lectures and examples classes. It will take a few more years to get perfect but we definitely improved all the courses and the students did enjoy the courses and seems to have done better (we still need to look in detail). Next year we'll be restructuring and organizing the labs....
  • Taught 5 courses: 2x 1st year astro (36 lectures), 2nd year classical mechanics (24 lectures, 8 example classes), 3rd year astrophysics (11 lectures) and course coordinated 2nd year electromagnetism. Considering the 2nd yr mechanics and 3rd yr astro meant I had to write two new courses in the same semester it wasn't easy and was quite stressful, especially when I wasn't able to keep so many things in my head at the same time but I made is somehow.
  • Finished of the course in Academic Practice, scoring A- grade overall. Again having to do this on top of everything else was difficult. Especially since my project work concerned trans and gender diverse people in academia which meant a serious amount of challenging self-reflection that made me quite uncomfortable, but I did learn a lot about myself at least. I still need to submit one of these projects to an education journal for publication maybe....
  • My 1st University of Auckland PhD student, Dr Lin Xiao, submitted her thesis, and passed. She has now moved back to China to take up a post-doc and she is finishing papers on the unpublished work in her thesis.
  • I still have 2 other PhD students who are close to finishing and submitting their theses early next year. I also now have a MSc student who is progressing through her project well and she should finish early 2019.
  • I did also apply for a University teaching award, I was unsuccessful in this but I did have to put together a teaching portfolio that allowed me to look at my teaching in detail. It allowed me to being to try to understand what it is I do when teaching that seems to be successful. I'll work out what "it" is one day I hope.

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe, my friend. I could be flippant and say you must have two heads to contain all your brain power - but I won't. Truly, in awe. 🎓