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Re: maps, grad students as cheap labor

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Andrew,

I hate to burst your bubble, but many "research" projects at the unversity
level are in reality private consultanting jobs.  Universities don't
really pay that well for doing just teaching and actually expect faculty
to do research/consultant jobs to add to their (and their department's)
income.  While most universities prefer that it be some sort of
research/consulting that results in something that gets published, there
are also looking for additional income as state funding and tuition
usually don't pay all the bills.  Now in our profession it is much more
common to have professors that do "state" sponsored research (i.e. NSF or
state DOT research), but you will have some professors that do what would
be more commonly referred to as consulting.  In other engineering fields,
it is much more common for "research" to more resemble consulting as it
becomes more likely that private companies will hire the professors for
some research/consulting project (i.e. solving some interesting or unusual
problem).

As far as Teaching Assistant and Graduate Research Assistants, they are
there for what they are being paid for.  In the case of a Teaching
Assistant, that person is there to grade papers and other teaching related
stuff and as a result is likely being paid with university funds received
from the state or from tuition.  A Graduate Research Assistant is there,
however, to "assist" on a give "research" project and as a result is paid
from the money derived from that project.  Thus, if the project is in fact
a consulting type project, then that Graduate Research Assistant is very
likely being paid with funds that come directly from consulting/research
project (including his/her tuition).  Thus, if there is no
consulting/research project, then there is no Graduate Research Assistant
position.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI

On Tue, 7 Jan 2003, Andrew D. Kester wrote:

> I am not that far out of school, and it would tick me off if I went to my
> professor's office during normal hours and he is in there with his grad
> student giving him his latest private project to do. TAs and the like are
> for research, teaching, grading papers, etc., not cheap labor as part time
> consultants. And they do rob us consultants if they are taking jobs based on
> an hourly rate of zero, or worse, using time that the school has paid the
> TAs for. Also, my professors seemed distracted enough and were hard enough
> to sit down with, I can't imagine if they were acting as consultants too.
> NOW, conversely, in their free time, when they were not required to be in
> their office, or in the eveninings, or on their off days or whatever, I
> would actually like them to do some consulting work to help keep them
> current. I guess that is somewhat of a paradox. And if they properly pay
> their grad students for supervised design work, that would serve the grad
> students well to give them experience and extra cash.
>
> MAPS
> Scott may not like me for promoting something by Bill Gates, but I will
> check out the program he mentioned for at home. BUT, at work (we already
> have it, so too late), I love the program MS Maps and Streets, and find it
> 100x easier to use and more accurate then those stupid yahoo maps. You can
> zoom in and out like an Atlas, down to your own home street, and then back
> out to the whole US. It does routing, trip planning, and all other kinds of
> features. For lat and long go to "Tools" then "Sensor". I do not know of its
> accuracy. This program runs less then $50. And when an SEA member says he is
> from "Bangalore" you can go check that out too with the fairly accurate
> world map.
>
> For use for wind maps, I use the political map, locate the county, then use
> the nearest higher topo line from the wind maps. If it is in the middle or
> less, I usually use the average (nearest 5). This is a little conservative,
> but not so much as to really effect the cost of the structure, and I think
> it is a good "easy sleeping" factor. I don't think it is that important to
> get that precise to use the long and lat. In fact, in the Florida Building
> Code wind map, they include this interesting note, "This map is accurate to
> the county. Local governments establish specific wind speed/win-borne debris
> lines using physical landmarks usch as major roads, canals, rivers, and
> shorelines." This is ironic to me because I think (working in FL) most local
> building departments could barely locate themselves on a wind map, if they
> have one.
>
>
> Andrew Kester, EI
> Longwood, FL
>
>
>
>
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