There is a nice atmosphere around the college this week as conferrings get underway. A curious aspect of the Institute of Technology system is that many students get conferred while still at the undergraduate stage! This is due to the stepwise nature of some of our courses, with a Certificate after two years, a Diploma after three and a Degree after four (of course we also have ab initio and postgraduate degrees).
The conferring ceremony is always lovely as it takes place in the beautiful Pugin Chapel in the College St campus, the part of our college that houses the humanities and the performing arts.
The 2007 graduation ceremony at WIT
Some academics dislike the pomp and ceremony of conferrings, but I enjoy them on the rare occasion I get to attend. There is a great sense of achievement among the students and their proud parents, and of the role of the college in the wider community among the staff. Makes it all worthwhile, somehow. There is also a nice atmosphere around town in the evenings as the students and their parents converge on the pubs and cafes – I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few students decided to go to college as a result of the atmosphere they observed around town during commencements.
Unfortunately, this week is also one of the busiest of the year for lecturers, as it is the midpoint of the semester and exams must be submitted by the end of the week. This can be quite a tough prospect if one is lecturing new modules as it involves setting questions and answers on topics not yet covered. Setting a paper for 1st yr engineering didn’t take long, but I’ve spent all week trying to think up challenging but doable questions in the quantum physics of solids (3rd yr) and the physics of semiconductor devices (4th yr) . Sigh.
Still, no lectures next week yipee!