Missives from the President

September 14, 2022

HI Everyone!

TL;DR version:

  • Welcome Back
  • We passed a big milestone on a new Core Curriculum
  • Let’s talk about Wellness
  • Come to Faculty Fuel-Up and Midweek Meet and Eat
  • I share some really obscure Mines history

Welcome Back!  Wow.  It is hard to believe that we are already at Week 9 of the semester.  I hope everyone is having a great semester and that y’all did something fun and relaxing over the break.  I did a little hiking with the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT) and finished up the most recent seasons of She-Hulk and Lower Decks.  Oh, and got three full nights of sleep.

New Core Curriculum: I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that we accomplished a big milestone last week.  Both the Undergraduate Council and the Faculty Senate approved moving forward with the development and implementation of a new Undergraduate Core Curriculum.  This took a great deal of campus-wide work and discussion; but, to be honest, as big a deal as this is, we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us.  The Core Curriculum Resolution passed by the Senate, attached to this email, requests that nearly every academic unit on campus and Student Life begin developing the new Courses and Catalog changes for the new Core.  Most of the proposals are due January 11, 2023 for review and approval of the new Core by the Undergraduate Council and the Faculty Senate.  This will take an all-hands-on-deck effort from across campus to get everything ready for a roll-out in next year’s Catalog; but, to slightly mis-quote a mostly forgotten verse from our Fight Song, “… if you want a bridge to Mars, or a ten-foot shaft to hell, we’re the engineers of a thousand years and we’ll do the job right well.” (Click here for the Approved Core Curriculum Resolution).

Let’s Talk About Wellness… On Friday, I attended the kick-off of the renewed “Every Oredigger” effort hosted by Student Life.  This is an extremely important discussion and a key part of our Mines@150 aspirations.  I would like to see a similar faculty-focused discussion lead by Faculty Senate.  As a starting point, “wellness” will be our primary discussion topic for the next several weeks during Faculty Fuel-Up and Midweek Meet and Eat.  I also hope that we will soon be requesting faculty to help populate the Faculty Signature Experience ad hoc committees I will be proposing through Faculty Senate, several of which will touch on or directly address Faculty Wellness.

Faculty Fuel-Up and Midweek Meet and Eat:  Speaking of those events, they are still happening and I’d love to see y’all there.  Faculty Fuel Up is every Monday from 8-9 am in the Boettcher Room of the Library.  Senate is providing free coffee and donuts.  Midweek Meet and Eat is noon-1 pm in the Library’s Fishbowl (Room 266).  You can stop by Books and Brew on the way to the Fishbowl and ask them to put your drink on the Senate’s tab.  Come by and learn more about what the Senate is working on, get to know other people from across campus, or express your ideas and/or concerns to the Senate.

Some Really Obscure Mines History:  I often say that Mines is one of a cluster of schools that are more or less distinguished only by where the mountain is relative to campus and by the amount of naturally occurring water nearby.  I received my Undergraduate Degree from one of those schools – the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, NM.  When I arrived at New Mexico Tech in the Fall of 1990, it was a significant point of pride that students from NMT had traveled to Golden as part of the previous Spring Fling’s scavenger hunt and added our own touch to the Mines “M” (an “N” and a “T”).  (Side note:  Mines also apparently had a tradition of annual scavenger hunts.  More about that in a future missive.)  In order to reclaim bragging rights, Mines supposedly retaliated by placing a banner on Tech’s Macey Center during their 49er’s celebration that year.   The retaliatory prank by Mines was actually a carefully orchestrated hoax; and, I always doubted the actuality of the original prank.  Head Research Librarian Lisa Dunn was able to confirm for me that, in fact, the Mines “M” had been altered in the Spring of 1990 (I’ve attached the relevant Oredigger article from April 24th, 1990).  You can read about NMT’s version of the events from some of the responsible parties here:  http://spril.com/StealthForceBeta/PublicHanging.asp.

Welcome back, and best wishes for the second half of the semester!

 

Regards,

Jeff

 

Dr. Jeffrey C. King (kingjc@mines.edu)
Professor, Nuclear Science and Engineering Program
Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
President, Mines Faculty
Colorado School of Mines

Past Letters

September 14, 2022

Good Greetings to the Awesome Mines Faculty!

As we move into the fourth week of classes (are we already 1/5 of the way through the semester?), I wanted to provide a few updates on what is happening in Faculty Senate.  We have completed the process of nominating faculty to the various University Committees and most of the Senate Standing Committees.  I want to thank everyone who volunteered to help with all of these committees, which are essential to keeping Mines running.  We had significantly more volunteers than positions this year, so we couldn’t place everyone on a committee.  Not to worry, though, as we are still developing a number of ad hoc Senate committees to work on Faculty Signature Experience initiatives this year.  Once those committees are approved by the Senate, the Leadership Nomination Committee will be reaching out for volunteers to help fill them.

As our first major action this year, the Core Curriculum Committee presented their recommendation for the new Core Curriculum to Senate at Tuesday’s Senate Business meeting.  This recommendation is the culmination of many people’s efforts over the last four years and represents an exciting vision to update the foundational curriculum at Mines.  At this point, the new Core Curriculum is a framework and if the planned curriculum is approved, Undergraduate Council and/or the Core Curriculum Committee will be charged with enacting all of the Catalog changes needed to realize the new Core in a timely fashion.  This may include pilot-courses and/or phasing-in of some of the larger changes; however, we hope to have much of the new Core in place by the Fall 2023 semester.  The Senate vote to approve the new framework is currently scheduled for the September 23rd Senate Business Meeting; however, we may delay by one meeting to give Undergraduate Council a chance to conduct a vote if they request it.

While this may seem accelerated, it is important to note that this recommendation has been in development for nearly four year and that this is not the final approval step – if Senate votes to proceed with the proposed framework, we will still have to run all of the proposed Catalog changes through Undergraduate Council and the Faculty Senate.  This is why we are trying to get the vote on the framework done as soon as possible.  The Core Curriculum Committee developed a website explaining the proposed changes (https://www.mines.edu/faculty-senate/core-curriculum-proposals/) and you are encourage to reach out to the senate with questions and concerns.  In particular, I expect that the Core Curriculum proposal will be the primary discussion topic at the September 20th Senate Working Meeting.

With limited exceptions, all Faculty Senate meetings are open to the campus community.  The meeting dates, times, and locations are posted on the Senate Website (https://www.mines.edu/faculty-senate/) and will also appear in the Daily Blast.  The Senate Meetings will also be available remotely via Zoom (links available on the Senate webpage).  I also invite everyone to join me and the rest of the Senate at any of our two weekly social events: Faculty Fuel-Up on Monday from 8-9 am and Mid-Week Meet and Eat on Wednesday from noon-1 pm.  Both events will be in the Library’s Boettcher Room and we have free free coffee and donuts on Mondays and free iced tea on Wednesdays.  These are an opportunity to get to know other faculty at Mines and to talk with myself and other Senators in a relaxed setting.

Finally, I’d like to close with a mashup of Mines traditions.  This year, I decided to carry a copy of De Re Metallica with me on the M-Climb (helpfully borrowed from the MME Department).  Hopefully, the picture of me and De Re in front of the M comes through the mailing list unscathed.  I’m wearing the hard hat I wore to my undergraduate commencement at the New Mexico institute of Mining and Technology.  It is decorated with stickers from the three “Schools of Mines” I have been a part of (New Mexico, Missouri, and Colorado).

George Bauer wrote De Re Metallica (“On The Nature of Metals”) under the pseudonym Georgius Agricola and the first edition was published posthumously in 1556.  It is one of the first treatises on mining and metals processing.  Herbert Clark Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover, who would subsequently become the 31st President and First Lady of the United States, completed the first English translation was in 1912.  As a seminal book on mining and chemical processing, the book is embedded in the history of the Colorado School of Mines.  The Faculty Senate President carries a copy of De Re Metallica in the Faculty Procession at Commencement.  Opening the book marks the start of the ceremony, which ends with the closing of the book.  The Mines Library owns a copy of the original 1556 printing, along with a copy of the 1621 edition, and several copies of the 1912 translation.  The MME copy is the 1950 reprint of the 1912 edition.  The copy in my personal library is the 1986 reprinting of the 1950 reprint.

I’d like to highlight other Mines fun facts and traditions in future missives, so please feel free to send me your random Mines facts and traditions from the past.  Perhaps someone can explain the Freshman Beanie/Senior Stetson to me?  Maybe someone knows where the reference to the bell in the Mines fight song comes from?  I’d also love to get a copy of the “lost” verses from the fight song (though I may not share those in deference to good taste – I’ve seen them but now I can’t find them).  Finally, does anyone know what the strange caged pit in the basement of Chauvenet is for?  It currently seems to be storage for CEE, but I’d love to know what the real purpose was.  I doubt it was used for underground cage fights; but, that’s what it looks like.

I wish you all the best as we continue deeper into the 2022-2023 school year.

Regards,
Jeff

 

Dr. Jeffrey C. King (kingjc@mines.edu)
Professor, Nuclear Science and Engineering Program
Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
President, Mines Faculty Senate
Colorado School of Mines

August 16, 2022

Greetings to the Greatest Faculty in Colorado!

As your incoming Senate President, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 22-23 academic year.  I hope you have had a relaxing and productive summer and are looking forward to a productive and rewarding school year.  As we approach the Campus Conference and the M-Climb, I wanted to take a moment and announce a few Faculty Senate event.

This Friday will be the 13th time I have made the M-Climb (I missed the COVID year, or it would be the 14th) and I look forward to seeing many of you at the send-off and on the walk up.  If you haven’t made the climb before, I highly recommend it if you can.  Hunt me down and I can show you where the best place to observe the activities at the top will be.

After the M-Climb and the Welcome Back BBQ, we will be holding the first Faculty Meeting of the year as a workshop during the Campus Conference.  The meeting will be held from 2:15-3:15 this Friday (August 19th) in Petroleum Hall at the Green Center.  Provost Holz will open the meeting and convene the 2022-23 Senate.  Then, I will provide a short presentation of the structure and functioning of the Senate, followed by an open town hall to gather input on the Academic Faculty’s concerns and priorities for the coming year.

Starting next week and continuing throughout the semester, the Senate will sponsor two regular events for the Faculty to socialize with the Senate and other Faculty.  The Faculty Fuel-Up will be Mondays from 8-9 am and Senate will provide coffee and donuts to start off each week with caffeine and deep-fried sugar.  The Midweek Meet and Eat will be Wednesdays from noon-1 pm.  Coffee will be available, but bring your own lunch.  Both events will be held in the Boettcher Room of the Library (the Midweek Meet and Eat may move to another room occasionally, in which case we will post a sign insider the library’s front door).  For now, both events will simply be social opportunities, but we may add the occasional presentation/activity if it seems useful.

It is my hope that both of these activities will be a chance for faculty from across campus to meet and to discuss faculty concerns in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.  I will be at every one of these events (barring the occasional travel), and other Senators will be dropping in as they are available.

Two important themes for Senate this year are continuing to support the Mines@150 goals and developing a Signature Faculty Experience for both new and long-standing faculty.  Mines should be a top of mind destination for outstanding faculty from across the world.  There are a lot of things that feed into the aspiration and we will be talking about and working on them throughout the year.  One of my key goals is to foster a culture of openness and transparency across Mines.  To that end, I encourage all Mines Faculty to follow the activities of the Senate and to become involved where you are interested and available.  The Faculty Senate website (https://www.mines.edu/faculty-senate/) includes links and instructions to a number of ways you can participate.

I intend to send out monthly emails such as this one to keep everyone informed of what the Senate is doing.  It is my great honor to represent all of you.

 

Regards,

Jeff

Dr. Jeffrey C. King (kingjc@mines.edu)
Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Director, Nuclear Science and Engineering Center
President-Elect, Mines Faculty Senate
Colorado School of Mines