Scenes from Town Hall with the Graduate Dean
Scene: Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall, February 9. Dramatis personae: the graduate community, particularly students (including Graduate Assembly president Bahar Navab, bottom center) who had plenty of questions, and Graduate Dean Andrew Szeri (on stage and lower right), as the Answer Man. Immediately setting an informal tone, Szeri requested that everyone "Please call me by my first name. My last name is unpronounceable anyway, so it’s easier for you, and that’s the way I always run my classes." (photos: Dick Cortén)

In the late afternoon of February 9, students and staff gathered in the Banatao Auditorium of Sutardja Dai Hall for a first-time Town Hall with the Graduate Dean.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate Assembly, this occasion offered a direct and relatively informal way for students to ask questions and for the Dean to respond with facts and an insider’s understanding of how the campus and university work. Students were invited to submit questions ahead of time if possible, so that responses could be properly researched, and a majority of the participants did so. While the physical turnout for the event was hardly massive, the thought that went into the questions submitted in advance and from the floor was evident — they were excellent.

The give-and-take revealed some of the current concerns of a statistically small, if varied, slice of the graduate student population (read the questions and answers from the event.)

The success of this initial interchange may well bring about similar face-to-face or online opportunities in the future, which would be announced in these pages. Meanwhile, the Graduate Division thanks all who participated for their interest, effort, and presence, which made the first Dean’s Town Hall well worth holding.