A day in the life of Yacov Haimes
by Andrew Shurtleff
his Olsson Hall office, Professor Yacov Haimes reviews class
By Charlotte Crystal
by Andrew Shurtleff
teaches a class inthe Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
building at U.Va.
does a professor do all day?
those living and working outside of academe, the life of a faculty
member can be mysterious. Professors dont have to clock
in or clock out. They may stroll in to work at 10 in the morning
or leave their offices at 4 in the afternoon. They can mow the
lawn in the middle of the week. They get the summers off. They
may only teach one or two classes a semester. Many earn well over
the average Virginia salary of $32,431 (per capita personal income
in 2001) even as they complain about the states budget squeeze,
hiring freeze and raises put on hold.
what do they DO anyway?
two schedules are alike, and the expectations and responsibilities
of younger faculty members working for tenure differ somewhat
from those of established, tenured professors in levels
of stress, if not in workload.
at U.Va., a research university with a national reputation, expectations
of faculty members are high. There is a heavy emphasis on undergraduate
teaching, which means extensive reading to be able to write weekly
lectures; time spent in the library, archives or laboratory to
conduct research; compiling and analyzing research results for
peer-reviewed journals or books to advance knowledge in a particular
field; holding office hours for students who need help with class
work or career advice; meeting with other faculty members and
administrators; attending conferences to keep up with advances
in the field and presenting research findings to colleagues; writing
recommendations for undergraduates who want to go to graduate
school; reviewing the work of graduate students preparing doctoral
dissertations; writing grant proposals to obtain funding for research.
speaks with graduate students during a group session in Olsson
Haimes, the Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Systems and Information
Engineering, and director of the Center
for Risk Management of Engineering Systems at U.Va.s
School of Engineering and Applied Science, offers a good example
of a U.Va. professor who does it all he teaches undergraduates,
advises graduate students, participates on school committees,
seeks outside funding for research, presents research results
to his colleagues, and still makes time for community service
and family. Heres a typical day in his life.
a.m. Rise. Check e-mail.
a.m. Eat breakfast.
a.m. Exercise in home gym.
a.m. Leave for Boars Head Sports Club for weekly tennis
game with a friend.
a.m. Tennis game cut to an hour from usual hour and a half
because of upcoming meeting.
a.m. Meet in Olsson Hall Room 111-A with dissertation committee
for Joost Reyes Santos. Santos explains the work he has done for
his doctoral dissertation in systems engineering he has
developed a method by which investment portfolio managers can
calculate the impact of a terrorist attack on various business
sectors to minimize potential investment losses.
a.m. Santos and other students leave the room while committee
11 a.m. Santos returns to smiles and handshakes. Committee reports
its unanimous approval of his work.
a.m. Meet in office, Olsson Room 112-A, with four systems
and information engineering professors to decide which research
projects coming up at the state and federal levels are worth pursuing.
In particular, the U.S. Department of Defense has solicited research
proposals to address growing concern over the security of its
computer system as increasing numbers of outside contractors tie
in. Other projects worth following include those at: the Virginia
Department of Transportation, which needs to protect information
on bridges and tunnels; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
which needs to police imports and protect the integrity of the
domestic food industry.
p.m. Meet with Della Dirickson, Haimes unflappable assistant,
on a broad array of administrative topics: copying sections of
the Bioterrorism Act; renewal of Haimes University parking
pass; approval of new stationery design; recommendation
that Barry Horowitz be asked to attend a risk analysis conference
in late November in Palo Alto, Calif.; signature of papers as
chairman of the departments graduate student committee;
discussion of reorganization of office bookshelves; discussion
of improved lighting in the office; final review of plans for
a project steering committee meeting the center would lead the
next day in Charlottesville. I cant get any creative
work done at the office, Haimes says.
proposals, papers, reports its all done on evenings
and weekends. Yet were here eight to nine hours a day.
p.m. Leave for Rotary Club International meeting in the Boars
Head Inns Arbor Room. Past president of the Albemarle County
Rotary Club, Haimes believes in the importance of the Rotary mission:
Public service above all.
p.m. Return to the office. Prepare class materials. While
many lectures use Power Point presentations, today its transparencies
on an overhead projector. Rod Shirbacheh, graduate student in
systems and information engineering and teaching assistant for
the class, stops by.
p.m. Leave for Olsson Room 005 for undergraduate class on
systems engineering. The class is required for systems majors,
but other engineering students who want an understanding of systems
principles are also enrolled.
p.m. Teach Systems 201, Systems Engineering Concepts,
which starts promptly on the hour. Haimes explains a problem and
demonstrates how to solve it, scribbling equations on the green
chalkboard as 60 or so students about twice as many men
as women slouch in their seats.
p.m. Give the next homework assignment to students, newly
alert and scribbling in notebooks: Using the concepts just taught
in class, construct an inventory of your choice with one state
variable and three periods to determine the optimal procurement
p.m. Invite three of the top 201 students to the office. Make
them an offer they cant refuse paid summer
internships to conduct research relating to risk analysis plus
admission to a five-year B.S./M.S. degree program in systems and
information engineering. Because the students are American citizens,
they can participate in ongoing terrorism-related research projects,
for which U.Va.s systems and information engineering program
has received research funding from several federal agencies. You
can choose what you work on, Haimes tells the students.
Find out where your heart lies. Youll be working 40
hours a week on this and if you like what youre doing, youll
p.m. Answer questions from one of these students regarding
p.m. Talk again with Dirickson about administrative details.
p.m. Return to Olsson Room 111-A for discussion of fourth-year
students capstone project, which involves designing a software
program to protect the nations meatpacking industry against
bioterrorist attack one of three capstone groups Haimes
supervises this semester.
p.m. Meet again in office with faculty members Barry
Horowitz, past president of defense contractor MITRE Corp. and
professor of systems and information engineering; Jim Lambert,
research assistant professor in systems and information engineering;
Stan Kaplan, visiting professor of systems and information engineering,
and risk assessment and analysis consultant for Bayesian Systems
Inc. Discuss strategy regarding the submission of U.Va.s
research proposal to the DODs $50 million Midas II program
that concerns security for the DODs computer system.
p.m. Leave for home, stopping by Kinkos to pick up copies
of a report needed for a meeting the next day.
p.m. Dinner with family.
p.m. Phone call from daughter in California about grandsons
trip to emergency room that day.
p.m. Write mid-term exam for the Systems 201 class.
p.m. Begin packing for a trip the next day to a conference
in Santa Barbara, Calif., on risk-based decision-making. Haimes
plans to present a paper to a national gathering that will include
scholars, consultants and government officials.
p.m. Relax with latest issue of Time magazine.
p.m. Lights out.