CS dept response to COVID-19

Hello CS friends,

I hope you all are doing as well as can be expected during these unpredictable times.  I wanted to send you an update from our department regarding how we are planning to support you remotely.  Note that we will be reaching out to students in our courses separately. This email summarizes other department activities that usually take place each spring.

COLLOQUIUM: All colloquium talks for the spring have been canceled.  Several seniors have asked about their colloquium requirement. Given the circumstances, for this year only, any senior who has attended at least 10 colloquium talks has fulfilled the requirement.  Also note that this currently only applies to seniors!  If remote learning continues beyond this spring, we will reevaluate the requirement again.  For those of you interested in seeing online technical talks, the Turing lectures are a good starting point.

DISCRETE MATH PLACEMENT EXAM: The exam will take place on April 7th as planned.  It will be administered remotely/virtually.  If you have registered to take the exam, we will be in touch with details about how to complete it.

THESIS STUDENT APPLICATIONS: Thesis student applications are due on April 10th.  In the past we have used a paper form for these applications.  This year we will create a Google Form for thesis student applications and post it to the CS dept webpage.  If you are interested in doing a thesis next year, you should still reach out to prospective faculty advisors to arrange a time to virtually chat before April 10th.

TA APPLICATIONS: Being a teaching assistant is a wonderful opportunity that allows you to teach other students and work closely with faculty.  It can be extremely rewarding, and is a great way to strengthen your technical skills. TA applications for the Fall are due on April 17th.  Application forms can be submitted online.

ADVISING and PREREGISTRATION: The dates for advising and preregistration this year are April 20 – May 2.  Closer to April 20th, we will host a virtual information session to go over our courses for next year and discuss study-away recommendations and policies.  In addition, all of our faculty will make themselves available for virtual advising during preregistration. We have not yet received updated registration information from the Registrar, but we assume they will provide an online form for sophomores to declare their major(s).  Regardless, we will also create our own Google Form for helping guide our conversations. We will send along more information in mid-April.

WARD PRIZE and THESIS DEFENSES:  Each year, the department gives an annual prize (called the Ward prize) for the best student project.  Nominees typically give a short talk during Reading Period.  Similarly, thesis defenses usually happen during Reading Period as well.  We will host all of these events virtually this year, probably using Zoom.  Details forthcoming.

SUMMER SCIENCE RESEARCH: At this point, we do not know if campus will be open for summer science research students.  We are operating under the assumption that it will be open, but realistically, it’s not clear that this will be true.  We are exploring the option of having our students work with us remotely, if possible. If you are a summer research student, you should contact your advisor for more information.

Unfortunately, we have decided to postpone the CoSSAC t-shirt contest.  If you declare a CS major this spring, however, please stop by Lauren’s office when you return to campus to pick up your CS sticker.

In closing, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us if you have questions or concerns.  While this is uncharted territory for all of us, we are committed to supporting you in any way that we can.  Thank you for your patience and flexibility. And most importantly, stay healthy!


Jeannie (on behalf of the CS faculty and staff)