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Kopp's Weekly - Welcome (Back) to the Journey

Kopp's Weekly - Welcome (Back) to the Journey

Get in the spirit of exploration.

Dear Students,



To our incoming freshmen and transfer students, I bid you Welcome to the College and to our returning students I say Welcome back! I hope you had a great summer.  This is the first of weekly emails that you'll be receiving from me, with important information from the college and whimsical thoughts on the nature of life.

This summer, my family took a 9 state road trip to visit relatives and see sights. We followed the trail taken by Lewis and Clark up the Missouri River. When not driving and keeping my two youngsters busy in the car ride, I even got through an 800 page book describing Lewis' and Clark's adventure, which reminded me of the similar voyage you all have ahead here in the college.

The Lewis and Clark trip got a late start because of packing their canoes. It reminded me of packing my parents' compact car to the ceiling for the drive off to college (of course, I sent my dad home with a great deal of it because it was impossible to fit it all in the dorm).  Lewis and Clark had a single goal -- to find a river route across the U.S. to the Pacific to ease transcontinental commerce. They failed, like all the others before them, but Lewis and Clark are still remembered today because their expedition was also charged with scientific exploration -- they explored, observed, and discovered many new species of animals, plants, and ecosystems.  In the same way, you may have your single goal which spurs you forward -- to major in a particular field here in the College of Natural Sciences -- but more broadly you will have a rich 4 years of exploration here in which you will find out about a myriad of new skills and passions which inform the major we ultimately choose and are often the memories of college we treasure most.

As I think back to my freshman intention to double major in French horn performance and astronomy, I can point to the experiences which made me instead become a physicist studying subatomic particles and later a professor and a student dean.  Thomas Jefferson Jefferson called the Lewis and Clark team his "Corps of Discovery," and that spirit of exploration lives on in such greats as Neal Armstrong, who passed away this weekend, and lives on in the voyage of discovery that you begin today in this college.

This Fall: You have a lot to navigate right away this fall, between getting all your books, reading and understanding the syllabi for all your courses, and possibly any last minute switches in classes you might need to do. Check out the list of important dates at the bottom of this email. If you haven't met with your advisor, make an appointment.

Meet the Dean: Your new dean of the college is Dr. Linda Hicke, professor of biochemistry and chemistry who started here July 16 after serving as Vice President for Research at Northwestern University.  Dr. Hicke's research area is the role of ubiquitin in regulating protein traffic in eukaryotic cells, and she has published widely in this work.  While at Northwestern, she also started a program much like our Freshman Research Initiative here at UT, and also served as associate chair of biochemistry there, so she knows a lot about students.  Welcome Dean Hicke!

Meet the Student Dean: The student dean is me, Dr. Sacha Kopp, professor of physics and formerly a researcher in elementary particle physics. I oversee honors programs, freshman advising, career services, the undergraduate research program office, placement in courses, and health professions. I've been told I'm also a reasonably funny guy -- for a physicist. Many of you have met me at orientations, and many of you will see me in freshman research methods or conference courses this fall. I'm your advocate and advisor, so please contact me any time in WCH 2.222 or 512-232-0677.

Again, I look forward to spending this year with you. Enjoy your first week!
Yours,
Sacha Kopp
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education,
College of Natural Sciences

Important Dates and Other Links

- Aug. 28, Tuesday: GONE TO TEXAS. This is the university's welcome for the year. New students in the college are gathering at 6pm on the East Mall for food, music, and free giveaways at Gone to Natural Sciences. Dean Linda Hicke will be there to give away prizes and will be expecting you to make a lot of noise when we join the other colleges at 7:30.
- Aug. 29. Classes begin!
- Sept 4. Last day of the official add/drop period. See your advisor.
- Sept. 5. On the 5th class day you need to meet any pre-requisite requirements for your classes (credit for prior classes, or ALEKS score in chemistry or math) or else you will be dropped.
- Sept. 14. By the 12th class day you must drop any classes you want to switch out of, or else you will have to take a Q-drop for the class.

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Tuesday, 01 December 2020

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