I am driving what Google Maps tells me are the three hours down to Kirksville, Missouri, from Iowa City, to visit the Math & CS department at Truman State. I am hoping to meet some more fantastic potential graduate students like Truman alum Ben Delaware (whose paper was just accepted to POPL 2013 — congratulations, Ben!).
The slides for my talk on “Programs, Proofs, and Classical Logic” are here. I am planning to update this post with a little more about the trip once I get back.
[Updated the day after the trip:]
It was a very interesting trip down to Kirksville, on some quiet rural highways through eastern Iowa. The Truman State campus is very nice, quite charming actually. I met up with Jon Beck, a CS faculty member who coincidentally turns out to have ties to Iowa (David Eichmann, of U. Iowa Biomedical Informatics, was his advisor, at another institution). We had a very engaging conversation about CS, CS education, and CS at Truman State. The school transformed itself a couple decades back from what Jon described as a “sleepy teachers’ college” (presumably that phrase associates to the right), into a highly selective public liberal arts college. They actually got the Missouri legislature to agree to let them be as selective in their admissions as they want. This makes a huge difference, since it means they can focus on admitting just people who are adequately prepared and seriously motivated for college study. The same cannot be said about U. Iowa, for example. I also got a little tour of the campus, which again is really idyllic. I like U. Iowa, but I was a bit jealous of the campus there, truly.
I got to talk informally with a few other folks, and then gave my talk and made my grad-school pitch in the afternoon. The talk was really well attended — solely by undergrads, and no one would confess to any bribery to get them there. I was impressed. I got some great questions about both the research I was discussing, and about grad school in general. The students seemed sharp and engaged. I am certainly hoping that we get a couple applications from Truman Math & CS this season!
In a couple weeks I am going to do another of these, at St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa. Other colleagues from U. Iowa CS are making similar trips to nearby colleges. We are hoping these will bear some fruit in more domestic applications for grad school here.