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Faculty Meeting

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm
via Zoom


  1. Call to Order
  2. Chair's Remarks
  3. Announcements
  4. Committee Reports
    • Graduate Admissions - Billey
    • Diversity - Viray
    • Graduate Program - Lieblich
  5. New Business
  6. Executive Session
  7. Adjournment


The regular meeting of the faculty of the Department of Mathematics was held via Zoom at 3:30pm PST, May 4, 2021. John Palmieri, Chair, presided at the meeting. Rose Choi was recording secretary.

The meeting began with approval of the previous meeting’s minutes.

Chair's Remarks

The Dean hopes to give us two tenure-track positions next year. An appointments committee will need to be formed so please consider joining this when filling out the committee request forms sent out earlier by John.

There is no news on raises at this point.

In-person instruction is the goal for Fall; however, nothing is confirmed at this stage.

John removed the award credit for new faculty hires from his teaching credit spreadsheet which ended up dropping the totals by 3/100 of a point which is essentially the same as this year’s. The overall impact is negligible.

Committee Reports

Prof. Billey reported the results of this year’s graduate admissions and thanked all involved with the Grad Admissions Committee this year: Alice Boytz, Jim Burke, Samantha Fairchild, Sarah Garner, Bennet Goeckner, Christopher Hoffman, Neal Koblitz, Dami Lee, Jack Lee, Alexandra Nichifor, Thomas Rothvoss, Stefan Steinerberger, John Sylvester, Robert Won, and James Zhang.

There was an increase in applications this year, and the deadline was moved up to December 10th which allowed offers to be made earlier on in February. The GRE subject test was cancelled this year.

The goals of the committee were:

  1. Strong incoming class (high graduation rate, high potential scientific impact, high potential educational/societal impact on future workforce).
  2. Create opportunities for our faculty and students to collaborate with new people.
  3. Uphold our departmental Diversity Commitment.
  4. Provide excellent TAs and instructors for our UW undergraduates.
  5. Build our mathematical community to support our research environment.

A rubric was created to help categorize groups into the following:

  • Academic Preparation
  • Scholarly Potential
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Contributions
  • Alignment with Program

The top candidates were then invited to on-line info sessions, virtual classrooms and seminars, one-on-one meetings with faculty and current grad students, and provided with a variety of resources. A special thanks was extended to Sam Fairchild, and to the team of students whom she led, for providing the resources for the recruits and generously offering their time to connect with the candidates to share their own experiences as a student and Seattle resident.

26 candidates have accepted: 2 are deferring for a year, 3 are NSF Fellows, and 21 will be TAs. The group is diverse in gender, origin, and areas of interest.

Prof. Viray reported on the progress made in the rubric for diversity hiring for tenure-track candidates.

Some concerns that arose when designing this rubric were:

  • Avoid inconsistency
  • Avoid the diversity score being used punitively
  • Allow for people in less privileged positions to stand out

A few noted difficulties when assigning diversity scores were that good diversity statements seem to stand out in many different ways, and that it can feel like comparing apples to oranges.

The resulting goals for the rubric were to prioritize identifying excellent candidates and aim to identify candidates who will continue to make impactful change 10+ years in the future. Therefore, instead of comparing different types of contributions, aim to assess their impact.

A revision to the current wording of the mandatory diversity statement required by candidates will now state the following:

“A one-to-two page diversity statement highlighting past contributions and future plans to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion, with attention to how the applicant has supported the success of students from racial, ethnic, and gender backgrounds that are underrepresented in mathematics.

Applicants who have not yet had the opportunity for such experience are recommended to address how their plans are achievable and their past lack of opportunity.”

Prof. Lieblich thanked Sara Billey and the Graduate Admissions Committee for their amazing work this year and is excited to meet the incoming students in the new academic year. He also thanked the faculty for their feedback on the new strategy for the prelims. He would like additional feedback re: matching students with advisors. One suggestion is to post a list of faculty paired with their students and whether faculty are currently taking students. Please send comments/suggestions to Max.


There being no new business, the meeting passed into executive session at 4:16pm.

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