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The Hanging Milestones Project

INCITE developed the idea a few years ago to hang milestone markers over our desks. The basic idea is for anyone to be able to walk by an area or into bullpens and know how much progress students have made in the program using the overhanging objects as an ambient information display. It's also tremendously satisfying to hang up a new milestone above your head and adds to the aesthetics of your work area.

There are 7 Milestones required to earn a PhD. They are:
  • Acceptance into the program and completion of 7001
  • Breadth Requirement
  • Minor Requirement
  • Qualifiers
  • Proposal of Research
  • Dissertation Document
  • Defense of Dissertation (at this point the last hanging is mainly a picture opportunity and a party initiator)
Being good computer scientists who respect power of 2's, we threw in an optional 8th milestone:
  • Master's Degree in CS
Each student should choose some visual indicator and hang that number of milestones above their desks (which can be done using fishing line and paper clips). It doesn't have to be fancy, expensive, or even visually attractive. However, they should be important to you. Some examples:
  • Smiley Faces
  • Circuit Boards
  • Plastic Musical Instruments
  • Quilt Patterns
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Chinese Lanterns
  • Peripherals
  • Model Airplanes
  • Spanish Fans
  • Things that kill vampires
  • Geometric Solids
  • Planets of the Solar System
  • Origami Animals
  • Plush video game characters
  • Plush diseases
  • The seven pieces of a Soma Cube
Some of us have even gone as far as using the size or complexity of the hanging object to match the difficulty of the milestone. There was one wacky idea of hanging dangerous objects above your head using material that would erode and disintegrate after an excessively long time interval say 6-7 years). Since such materials tend to have unpredictable failure rates, we decided against this as a method for motivating progress since the fear of being randomly injured at one's desk would probably disrupt the thinking processes required to do good research.

If this really catches on, a future idea would be for a graduating student to donate a milestone object to the College that could hang somewhere in the Klaus building as a kind of alumni room - maybe in the main social area - that would have a sheet with that person's name and thesis abstract.

Some Examples:

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Uploaded Image: KKs_Milestones.JPG

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Uploaded Image: Idris_Milestones.JPG

Uploaded Image: m-gillian.jpg

Uploaded Image: m-julie.jpg

Uploaded Image: m-heather.jpg

Uploaded Image: m-kris.jpg

Uploaded Image: m-je77.jpg

Uploaded Image: m-jay.jpg



Last modified 27 April 2006 at 2:32 pm by dorn