Leadership Job Shadow Program

Left: Jonathan (Me), Center: Dean Jennifer Curtis, Right: Leena

Yesterday, I shadowed UC Davis College of Engineering Dean Jennifer Curtis from 10AM to 1PM to witness what a job in general administration is like. It turns out, her schedule is packed! Every 30 minutes a meeting, every 30 minutes a meeting. No breaks. 9PM to 5PM. Everyday. She said she enjoys her job, telling me and the other student shadow Leena, “I like talking to people.”

What meetings did I listen in on?

  • Two 4th year Computer Science students present their entrepreneur project. Their goal: to build a university-wide centralized platform for students to find faculty looking for extra hands to help with research.
  • Three faculty discuss adding additional sections and TAs for the ENG3 course and selecting rooms to fit the maximum 240 people class size.
  • Dean Curtis’s chemical engineering post-doc research assistant does his weekly check in with her regarding the agglomerate project.
  • The faculty officer involved with sabbatical and retention requests Dean Curtis to sign some forms.

What did I learn?

  1. Building a platform is easy. Who will adopt your platform? That is more difficult.
  2. Handshake, a company job search platform which spans multiple universities, is rumored to replace the UC Davis homegrown Aggie Job Link.
  3. Scaling a class upward in size can be a challenge. There may also be a shortage of TAs. Where to store things for labs?
  4. There exist multiple poster types, with cloth posters being the newest and most expensive. You can fold them up in a napkin and carry them on a plane.
  5. Universities try to steal each other’s faculty. The good ones.
    1. ie. One of UC Davis’s professors got a higher salary offer from a university in Illinois. UC Davis upped his/her salary a little bit, though not as much as the other school. He/she preferred California over Illinois. Successful retention. A win!

What would I say to other students who might consider applying for the program?

Go ahead. You get an insight into what an academic faculty’s job is like, meaning you sit besides him/her and listen in on the problems faced and watch solutions emerge through discussion. Also, you get Aggie swag, as a bonus, though that should not your sole reason for applying.

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