Author: Dr. Morrison

How can I give the University feedback or register a complaint?

Michigan Tech has a web form for giving feedback or registering a complaint.  From the website:

The Dean of Students Office at Michigan Tech is committed to fostering a supportive environment where students are listened to, understood, and appreciated. When students have a complaint or concern about their campus experience, whether it is in or out of the classroom, the Dean of Students Office provides help and guidance in resolving the issue.

For more information, go to the Student Concerns and Complaints website.  Working together, we can continuously improve Michigan Tech and the Michigan Tech experience.

American Chemical Society’s Biochemical Technology (ACS-BIOT) division

Date: Tue, May 1, 2018 at 2:43 PM
Dear graduate colleagues,
The American Chemical Society’s Biochemical Technology (ACS-BIOT) division is planning to set-up a new graduate student chapter in the Midwest region. We plan to provide professional development opportunities for graduate students as well as opportunities to network with people in BioR&D space either in academia or industry through a series of events during the Fall/Spring and summer terms. To take up a leadership role and/or become a member, please sign up at
Please check out the attached program grid of Spring ACS 2018 national meeting held at New Orleans to get an idea of the work being exhibited within this division as well as the flyer to know more about the chapter’s mission/vision.
Join us in making this chapter a success!
On behalf of ACS-BIOT Midwest Chapter,

Pratik Joshi, PhD candidate

Graduate Technical Communications Courses Offered (MEEM)

MEEM has opened up its graduate technical communications classes to all engineering majors. ME5010 is aimed at masters students or early doctoral students and ME6010 is aimed at more senior graduate students. Please take a look, speak to your advisor, and see if these classes meet your needs.

MEEM 5010 Professional Engineering Communication
Course introduces graduate students to conventions of professional engineering communication such as composing technical memos and a variety of reports (test, design, progress, etc.). Students will practice creating effective visuals for reports and slides and develop and deliver presentations.
Credits: 3.0
Lec-Rec-Lab: (0-3-0)
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate; Must be enrolled in one of the following College(s): College of Engineering

MEEM 6010 Engineering Research Communications
Guides students through the process of publishing research in technical journals and presenting research at conferences and other venues, with a focus on practical application of rhetorical concepts. Students will prepare papers and presentations related to their own research.
Credits: 3.0
Lec-Rec-Lab: (0-3-0)
Semesters Offered: Spring
Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate; Must be enrolled in one of the following College(s): College of Engineering

How should I prepare for a phone/video interview?

First interviews over the phone or internet are increasingly common.  Here are some things to watch out for:

Content preparation:

  1. Develop good answers to the most common questions (google around to find a list of common questions).
  2. Have two questions prepared for when they ask if you have any questions (google around to see what questions folks suggest in your field).
  3. Know something about the organisation you’re interviewing with (do your homework).

Language and Image:

  1. Avoid minimising language in your answers (“I’d just like to say…”  “Maybe this is wrong, but…”  “I don’t know much about it but…“.  If you practice you’ll see that you can give the same answer (what you know about the topic) and can deliver it without the preface of “All I know about that is ...” or some other minimising language.
  2. Speak clearly.  If you tend to speak rapidly, slow down.  Make sure your answers do not run on and on-they likely have more to ask you.
  3. Avoid simple yes/no answers.  If you need time to think, say “Hmm, let me think about that for a minute.” to get yourself time and so they know why you’re not answering.  Don’t take longer than a minute.

Preparation and Setting:

  1. Be on time.  Don’t schedule any other appointment too close to the end of the interview; you do not want to have to cut it short.
  2. Be in a private space where you will not be interrupted.
  3. Have a paper and pen handy for taking notes; note down the name of your interviewer and address them formally until they invite you to do otherwise.
  4. Have your resume handy; they likey have it handy and are reading from it.  Mark up your copy with other topics/interests that branch from your resume in case there is an opportunity to talk about these.
  5. Try to project confidence and good will.  How to do this will depend on you, but give it some thought.

Technical advice:

  1. Use a land line for a phone interview to avoid technical problems; if this is not feasible think hard about how good your connection will be at the time of the interview.  If it’s a video interview use a good connection.
  2. If it’s a video interview, look at your camera, not at the image of your interviewer on the screen.  Dress professionally.  Check out the background behind you and choose it wisely.  Check out your technical connections early to avoid delays.

Good luck.  If you have any advice to add to this post, please send it to

What are recruiters looking for in 2018?

For the answer to this question, let’s ask NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  Their article highlights these topics:

  • Trend : Recruiters are moving toward informal means of recruiting
  • Trend: Breaking down silos
  • Focus is on industry, not major
  • It’s not all about the technical skills
  • There’s improved communication across campus
  • Note an increased focus on diversity and inclusion
  • Predictions for STEM Recruiting in 2018

Which University does NACE use as their example in their introduction?  Well, Michigan Technological University, of course!  Go to the link to read NACE’s analysis of the 2018 recruiting season.

How can I get a job, internship, or co-op? What’s the method these days?

Career Services at Michigan Tech is designed and operated to help you get a job, internship, or co-op.  As soon as you arrive on campus as a new graduate student, you should visit Career Services and check out their programs and sign up for the ones you need.

Their main events are the fall and spring Career Fairs.  You should go to these every year you are at Tech.  Even if you’re not looking for a job, you should go and see how it is done, get your materials into the system, and learn from watching and participating in Career Fair.  Our Career Fair is one of the best in the nation.  Currently Career Services uses Handshake as the portal for connecting students with recruiters.  Every Michigan Tech student has a Handshake account.  Go to the Handshake login site, log in, and take a look at what there is on offer.

Some graduate students find that there are not so many employers looking for graduate-degree holders at Career Fair. It is true that the main focus of Career Fair is on the undergraduates, but graduate students are welcome and included.  Go to your Handshake account and look at the recruiters that are coming and see if they are searching for graduate degree recipients.  Career Services is now hosting virtual Career Fairs to bring in wider types of recruiters, including those looking for graduate-degree holders.  You will hear about these events if you stay active in Handshake.

In 2018 I went to an interesting session put on by Career Services.  They said that these days more than 70% of folks (up to 85% by some estimates) get their jobs from personal contacts. They say the right way to approach Career Fair is to go to the events that precede Career Fair.  These events are less crowded, you don’t have to dress up, and you can give out your resume and talk to the person receiving it.  These events are happening the week before Career Fair and throughout the year (info sessions, company presentations, Industry Days, and things like that).  Second, when you go to Career Fair, don’t spend your time in long lines.  Go to the smaller companies where you can actually talk to someone and show them who you are. Always bring an up-to-date copy of your resume.  Career Services can help you to improve your resume.

 I also learned that the job-search success rates for folks with GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 IS THE SAME as the success rate of folks with GPA between 3.0 and 3.5.  So you can get that job.  You just need to follow this advice and put in the leg work to meet people who may want to give you a job.  Good luck!

What are the Consequences of Cheating or Plagiarism?

From Faculty Focus blog
January 17, 2018
A Memo to Students on Cheating
By Maryellen Weimer, PhD

Cheating among college students remains rampant. Our institutional and/or course policies aren’t stopping much of it. There are lots of reasons why, which we could debate, but the more profitable conversation is how we get students to realize that cheating hurts them. I don’t think they consider the personal consequences, so that’s the goal of this memo, framed like others that have appeared in the blog. You are welcome to revise it, make the language your own, and share it as you see fit with students. Will it stop cheating? Not likely, but it might make some students realize the consequences go well beyond getting caught.

To: My Students
From: Your Teacher
Re: Cheating

You know the message on cheating: Don’t do it. Yet despite knowing that it’s wrong, many students still cheat. Why? In response to a survey about cheating a student compared it to speeding. Everybody knows you shouldn’t speed, but most of us do. And when the weather is good and the road is clear, the risk of an accident is small. There is the matter of getting caught, but that risk is also low, so, the student reasoned, cheating is like speeding.

No, it’s not! Here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t cheat, and getting caught isn’t one of them.

  1. When you cheat on an exam, it looks like you know the content, which means whenever you’re confronted with that material, you’ve got to fake it. Moreover, it looks to me like you understand, so I move on, assuming you know what you got right on the exam. What you didn’t learn in one course can be required knowledge in the next course. Knowledge in most fields is cumulative. It builds on previous knowledge. If you don’t understand the prerequisite content, you can’t learn the new stuff—so later you’ll either need to do double-duty learning or what you don’t know widens from a gap to gulf.
  2. When you cheat, important skillsets, those things employers assume college graduates possess, remain undeveloped or underdeveloped. You learn problem-solving skills by solving problems, not by copying answers. Your writing improves when you write, not when you recycle someone else’s paper. Your abilities to think critically, analyze arguments, and speak persuasively all develop when you do them, not when you parrot the thinking, arguments, and persuasive ploys of others. Just as standing around exercise equipment does not build muscle mass, borrowing the work of others does not build mental muscle.
  3. Don’t kid yourself, a small cheating problem seldom stays that size. Think more along the lines of a malignant tumor that starts tiny and quietly grows into something big and ugly. You may start by peeking for answers in a required course that you don’t want to take. In that first course in the major, you decide to copy homework answers—you’re busy and all that content will be covered again in later courses anyway. You cheat in the special topics course because you won’t use the content in the area where you plan to work. You end up fudging data in your senior research project because it isn’t a “real” study anyway. The research is clear. Students who cheat don’t do it just one time or in just one course.
  4. Cheating in college sets you up for cheating in life. Maybe you’re telling yourself you’ll stop when you graduate. The research says otherwise. Those who cheated in college are more likely to cheat their employers or employees, fudge on their taxes, and use unethical business practices. It becomes a lifetime habit right along with the lying that covers it up.
  5. Cheating puts your personal integrity at risk. What kind of person do you want to be? The actions taken now are defining who you are and will likely become. How does it make you feel when someone you care about lies or cheats on you? Do you hold those who cheat in high esteem? Your personal integrity is something you wear every day of your life. You can wear it with pride or you can slink around trying to hide the holes and cover the rips.
  6. You can accomplish what you need to without cheating. Some students cheat because it’s easier than working for the grades—the reasons outlined above illustrate why that’s a cavalier, short-sighted rationale with serious consequences. Then there are the students who cheat because they don’t think they have the smarts to get the good grades they need. Success in college is much more a function of your study habits than your brain size. Good study habits are so not rocket science. And don’t say they don’t make a difference unless you’ve tried them. Start with one course and see if short, regular study times alone and with a buddy, regular class attendance, and keeping up with the homework make a difference. Bottom line: most students are way smarter than they think they are.
  7. Cheating prevents you from being the person you want to be. Grades that you’ve earned provide a sense of accomplishment. They’re a source of pride. They say you’re a person to be reckoned with. Grades you haven’t earned also make you a person to be reckoned with but not for the reasons you’d wish.

How do I apply for the accelerated MS degree in chemical engineering?

To apply for the BS/MS program you follow this procedure:

1.  Go to the Grad School website and go to the Admissions section and follow all instructions.
2.  In your “areas of interest” on the form, put “accelerated masters”.  This will signal that you’re applying for the BS/MS

All other application requirements for the BS/MS program are the same as for the MS program in general.  For more on the BS/MS in Chemical Engineering, go to the Advising website FAQ page.