June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.652.1 - 14.652.11
Grad Students Just Wanna Have Fun: Great Sociability Makes a Great Graduate Program
The Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin combines unique research and social aspects of graduate work for structural engineering students. The result is an education and experience that aids in the development of students who surpass their peers from other universities, as evidenced by consistently high rankings of the graduate program. In research, the students are responsible for producing top-quality results in an extensively equipped, hands-on laboratory. Socially, the lab employees, graduate researchers, and faculty gather for barbeques, softball games, intramural sports teams, golf tournaments, potlucks, and football tailgates. Lessons learned in class are reinforced when students help others who are falling behind, and when homework becomes a collaborative effort that is encouraged by providing plenty of space to work as a team. The result is an atmosphere of camaraderie that encourages teamwork, networking, and fun rather than cut-throat competition. This atmosphere helps with recruiting the best new graduate students and also assists graduating students to land jobs with their top choice employers. This paper describes the elements that make up this successful social environment in hopes that other programs will be able to adapt some of these ideas to suit their situations.
Within any professional community, certain schools maintain a reputation well above their peers. In the structural engineering culture, the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) is one of these schools, joining only a handful of others as producers of the most top-level research and also the most top-level students. T n -Austin, especially when accompanied by a research position at the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory (FSEL), says a lot about the caliber of student.
Hovell, C., & Talley, K., & Schmidt, K. (2009, June), Grad Students Just Wanna Have Fun: Great Sociability Makes A Great Graduate Program Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5409
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