In attendance:



  • Introduction of APO and JP Reps 5:30-5:35
  • APO Updates
    1. Finances- Effect of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) on student supply grant and travel funding: Megan May
      1. Megan has benefited a lot from student grants to get funding for a project that her lab couldn’t fund itself. How does MTDC changes effect these kinds of resources?
      2. Jim explains that before this change, all of the overhead was on salaries, so it was really high. This affected faculty and teaching and also outside grants. In the MTDC system, the overhead is spread over almost every category of stuff, except for equipment above $5K, fellowships, and tuition. The MTDC rate for e verything now is 58%. This will apply to travel funds, OVF, etc.
      3. Christine says we can continue to ask for $750 for travel. It will cost the office more, but we will continue to be able to request $750. This will have a bigger impact in the OVF funds, because there is a set amount that we receive from the principal.
      4. Julia says that it’s 58% for APO, basically the same rate for research.
      5. Jim: This 58% number is based on space, how many square feet of space is allocated to each department. They will argue the rate down in the future because it currently counts all the hallways and bathrooms in the dorms. In the long run, this will help the scientific and technical staff to get their grant money to go a little bit further by reducing the overhead rate on salaries by about 15%.
    2. Admissions: where do we stand in terms of students currently in the Joint Program, the recently accepted students, and as a graduate program compared to other ocean science programs.
      1. Meg: As of September 2015, we will have 20 in AOSE, 15 Bio, 18 Chem, 19 G&G, 17 PO. Admits: 5 to AOSE, 6 to bio, 12 to Chem, 4 to MGG, 8 (+1 navy) to PO. There are a few more admits pending fellowships, etc. We’re aiming to be at our normal size. Aiming to have cohorts of 5 per department.
      2. Jim: Relative to other programs, Scripps has considerably more students. Other programs that I’m familiar with are way down, URI, Texas A&M, lots of programs are way down because admission is tied to funding. Most programs in oceanography don’t admit unless they know how they’re going to fund those students. Need to be a little bit cautious because APO has to back up any students that need additional funding. We usually get 70-75% yield on our offers of admissions. I don’t think we’ll end up with 35 new students coming in.
      3. Meg: How does cohort size seem to you? The 2014 class is really small, and we’ve been being really careful to not repeat that since then.
      4. Meghan Jones: having too few people makes it hard to run classes.
      5. PO has had low yield, so JCPO forced high admission for this year.
  • JP Reps- ODGE funds and reminder to apply for funding: Chrissy Hernandex
    1. We receive $10K from ODGE each year (or 18 months?) for the past couple years. This is MIT recognizing that we pay into student life fees but then don’t always have access to the resources and student groups on campus, because we’re in WH. With the new MTDC rules, that $10K was going to be worth a lot less, so thanks to hard work by Christine, Lea, and Kris, we moved the money back up to MIT to be managed by Kris Kipp.
    2. RFP process streamlined: we will need original receipts to get to Kris, but not a full RFP document. Also, Chrissy will have a procurement card from MIT pretty soon, eliminating the need for reimbursement altogether in many cases. If you are planning an event, talk to Chrissy directly about how to pay for things.
    3. Reminder to apply for events! We’ve been holding back on calling for applications because of the MTDC rules, but now that everything is sorted out, Chrissy will send out a call. Events can be social, professional development, cultural, etc. A few examples of past events: SUP yoga class, subsidized orchestra tickets, subsidized Ren Faire, World Cup viewing party, international dinner, BIG events, Thesis Bootcamp. We can also use the funds for durable goods (sports equipment, board games, kitchen tools, etc). Reminder of rules: no alcohol, no lottery tickets, no gift cards (like as a prize for a billiards tourney), events/items must be accessible for all JP students and, if there is limited entry, it must be done fairly (by sign-up time, by lottery, etc).
    4. Buffins and student center clean-up 6:03-6:05 (2 min) a quick reminder that buffins are meant for the entire student body and are run by students. Therefore be respectful of one another and please try to clean-up after yourselves.
  • Student interest/necessity for Illustrator/Photoshop access: Megan May 6:05-6:20 (15 min)
    1. Hanny and Megan say that 92% of people are interested in learning Photoshop or Illustrator. Did a show of hands, seems like a good number of people use it and a good number of people would use it if it was available. Just wanted to know if it was a broader issue for people.
    2. EAPS has a copy on CD? Ask Deepa about it maybe.
    3. If people use the computer a lot, can do sign ups or potentially get another computer for that space.
  • Mid-term conversation between students and a representative from APO to complement the final ‘check out’ meetings 6:20-6:35 (15 min) During the advising meeting last year, the idea was brought up of having a mid-term conversation with a representative from APO (either Meg or Jim). So, sometime during the third year (after admission to candidacy) there would be a relatively informal conversation that would allow students to bring up any potential issues as well as encourage communication in general. This would also complement the final ‘check-out’ meetings in evaluating the overall effectiveness of the program. Students were interested in hearing whether APO plans to implement anything like this. While it would require extra time by Meg and/or Jim, it would only occur once per student and wouldn’t need to be a long meeting.
    1. This has started happening. Jim and Meg do it, it takes about an hour, and getting some useful information out of it. It’s a different kind of meeting than the check-out and is a useful update to APO process.
    2. Meg wants to remind everyone that you can have another conversation with Meg or Jim any time. Just call Valerie and set one up. They have an open door policy, even if everything is good you can just go chat with them.
  • Update on the search for a new VP of APO/Dean: Gabriela Farfan 6:35-6:50 (15 min)
    1. If you have anything you’d like to share with the search committee, contact Gabi. Thanks for filling out the survey, the student perspective is very different than senior scientists.
    2. Most important things based on our survey, which has been given to the search committee: scientific stature, administrative acumen, diplomacy, approachability, familiarity with the Joint Program, negotiation skills and conflict management, recruitment skills
    3. Gabi has the official job ad that can be circulated to anyone else. It is on social media, please spread it around.
    4. The committee went with a closed search to ensure that we can attract high-caliber candidates. The finalists will be given an option to come to campus and meet students but all finalists must agree or it will stay closed.
    5. Will start looking at applications in March and will look until it’s filled. Hoping to have it down to the finalists by June.
  • Advising resources: Noelle Held 6:50-7:00 (10 min) Noelle will have a handout for everyone
    1. Thanks to Meg for doing advising workshops.
    2. Noelle is on a couple of committees that are looking really closely at advising up at MIT, and she is interested in bringing the lessons and expectations down to WHOI. She has a handout from ODGE. This is a piece of paper that is really good to read and be aware of, so we’ll receiving it on paper instead of emailing it. On the back is a list of resources. They’ve been working a lot on getting students aware of what resources are actually available to you and the difference between various offices and what they can offer you (ODGE, Ombuds, Jim+Meg, etc)
    3. Pay attention to numbers 1, 4, and 6!
    4. Fill out a survey that is being worked on by the Committee on Graduate Programs - it’s important for the JP to send in responses because our voice doesn’t get heard very often.
    5. Suzy Nelson’s Quality of Life survey should also fill that one out because MIT makes a big deal about the responses to that!
    6. Advising feedback forms via course evaluations- experimental in a few departments. Maybe it would be useful to bring that in for Joint Program faculty as well?
    7. There’s probably a difference between MIT faculty advising and WHOI faculty advising. Not too worried about how to sort it out yet.
    8. Response rate is still low, but the data would be useful as a time series.
  • BIG/JP Student blog: Megan May (for Hanny Rivera)
    1. Good for students to get better at science communication, spreads the time for keeping a blog amongst a bigger number of people, could be used as a recruitment tool, can write about ODGE social events, etc.
    2. Want to gauge interest- is APO interested? Students?
    3. Enough interest from students
    4. Meghan Jones- how to promote readership. It might be easier to get writers than to get readers. APO can make it accessible by linking it to the blog on the JP website.
    5. Megan May- we’ve been talking with Ken Costell in communications about getting the info out to more people.
    6. Mallory- a lot of the ships have student blogs, can use that as a way to connect with more readers.
    7. Cael mentioned OceanBites recently.
  • Housing comment- Lizzie Wallace
    1. We’ve been moved 3 times this year, with less than a week’s notice, sometimes 48 hours. A lot of us aren’t down here every week. I’ve had to have 2 of my roommates move all of my stuff and that doesn’t seem fair. Housing seems to know when the move is coming up, and it would be nice to have more notice that it’s coming up. Then we could pack out stuff up and know.
    2. There were some other timeline issues, the units we were moved into weren’t quite ready either.
    3. Jim will see what’s going on, maybe some other miscommunication between Facilities and Housing.
  • Kevin is wondering if APO would entertain the idea of having dogs in the transient housing. We could designate a few units, charge a deposit, cleaning fee, etc.
    1. Other animals might also be of interest.
    2. Jim says he can bring it up but he doesn’t think it will go anywhere.
  • Net: any word on the JP apartment at MIT? Are we going to move back to Sid-Pac? It’s been like two years, there are a few people who still know what’s ours and needs to move back to Sid-Pac
    1. Jake says he doesn’t have a ton of information. Sid-Pac says they want to move us back in, but it hasn’t happened.
    2. Jen Karolewski will put Eesh/Jake in touch with someone on the Sid-Pac board.
    3. Another plug for cleaning up after yourself- clean up the JP apartment when you leave- hair out of drains, etc. Tragedy of the common!
    4. Net will put together a list of the things that belong to the JP, so that the information doesn’t get lost in case we don’t move before he graduates.
  • One item from Ed Boyle: For Biology students- in the past we’ve only been allowed to be in course 7 or course 1. There is now a proposal to be in course 12 as well. Everything else is the same. It’s not official yet, but they think it will go through.
    1. Students might come in through course 7 and then have the opportunity to switch based on advisors, etc.
    2. Does this effect funding at all? Students in different departments get paid different amounts
  • Julia asks: is there anybody taking class in Clark 331? How is it?
    1. There have been some issues since the update with sound dropping off, like sound from WHOI not making it up to MIT.
    2. Issues with watching video link lectures after the time of class?
    3. One nitpicky thing about Clark 331- the chairs are not adjustable, so for future chair purchases it is preferable to change the height.
    4. No connectivity for HDMI.
    5. Interest in video linking either Redfield Auditorium or Clark 507 for thesis defenses. Jim says to talk to the Dept Chairs about this, rather than it being an Education issue. There are a lot of costs involved with maintaining video link rooms. Can say to the Dept Chairs that there is some outdated equipment available for seminars and thesis defenses but APO doesn’t want to maintain the equipment. MCG and PO both have interest in having Clark 507 up on that. Reps can talk to the Dept Chair about that.
  • Save the date- there will be a big retirement bash for Jim in July! Probably July 21