Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You're Only as Good as Your Last Student

Frank Carroll, the coach of several Olympic figure skaters, including Evan Lysacek and Michelle Kwan, said it well: You are only as good as your last student. The New York Times had a recent terrific interview with him in which he was asked whether having one of his students get a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics (in this case Evan Lysacek) would be meaningful to him -- something that has eluded him.

I do think that his quote has relevance also to a professor and especially when one considers one's most recent PhD student to graduate. My most recent PhD student, who received his PhD in May 2009 was Dr. Patrick Qiang. Above is an announcement for an upcoming talk of his at the university where he is now a faculty member.

Interestingly, another former PhD student of mine who received his PhD in 2006 from UMass Amherst, Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, also has some great news to report. He has received tenure from the University of Sydney in Australia where he has been on the Faculty of Economics and Business for the past 3 years. He is in the Discipline (something like a Department in a US-based university) of Operations Management and Econometrics. Plus, he has been granted a sabbatical. He will be coming back to his alma mater as a Visiting Scholar.

Being a professor is like being a coach and Frank Carroll said it brilliantly!