My name is Richard Millar,
and I'm the Dean of
the Faculty. I'm going to speak to you briefly - and I promise it will
be brief - about your life as a student with us.
At this point, you may expect that you
are in for ten thousand well-chosen words about the many virtues of the
Faculty of Computing and Engineering, with a few pages of good advice
thrown in for flavouring. Instead of that, I want to give you three
ideas. They don't contain any great secrets - in fact, you may think
they are rather obvious - but over the course of three or four years of
study, you may find them useful.
The first is: Enjoy yourself.
At school and college, people often
don't have a lot of choice in what they do. University is different.
You chose to come here, and you chose your course. So the very least
you should expect is a sense of enjoyment from the subject you are
reading. Going to University now involves a big financial commitment
for most students and their families, and it would be sad to spend
years doing something you don't like. Of course, I don't mean that you
will necessarily enjoy every moment. In the course of several years,
umpteen modules, a placement possibly and a project, you will like some
subjects more than others. But I can tell you that if you are not
enjoying yourself then something is wrong, and we all need to put that
This brings me to my second idea: Talk
We want to know what is happening to
you. We want to know if you are enjoying your course; and we want to
know the parts you find easy, and the parts that are more challenging.
There will be difficult bits, as there ought to be, but that does not
mean that we are unsympathetic. We want to know if you are facing any
problems, and if there is anything we can do to help. It's very
important that you remember this. Very few people go through an entire
undergraduate programme without encountering some problems. You will
find that there are many people in the University who are there to help
you - your Advisor of Studies, your Course Director, other staff in the
Faculty, as well as the excellent specialist support services which are
And finally: BE HERE.
It's part of the deal between us. You
need to be here to get what we can offer. Of course, there are
temptations, and late nights are always followed by early morning
lectures. But if you start to miss lectures and practical classes you
will not do as well as you should, and if you miss a lot, you will
probably fail. It's as simple, and brutal, as that. Remember that a
Semester is only twelve weeks long and is followed by exams, so there
is very little time to catch up. If I can give you one personal target
to set yourself at the start of your course, it is that you should miss
nothing in the first few weeks.
I hope those ideas are useful to you.
You are very welcome to the Faculty, and I hope you have a rewarding
Professor Richard J Millar
Faculty of Computing and Engineering