BUL Seminar Student Info

Boundary Layer, Urban Meteorology, and Land-Surface Processes Seminar

Time: Tuesday 2:00PM – 2:50PM
Location: Virtual, Google Meet

Instructor Information:
Name: Dr. Elizabeth Pillar-Little
Email: epillarlittle@ou.edu
Office: NWC 4636

Seminar Dates:
31 August
07 September
14 September
21 September
28 September
05 October
12 October – Zeqian Xia
19 October – Dr. Scott Salesky
26 October
02 November – off, Election Day
09 November – Stuard Edris
16 November – Arianna Jordan
23 November – off, Thanksgiving Holidays
30 November – Qingyu Wang
07 December

Course Information:
Much of the information in this document is adapted from the SoM Graduate Student Handbook which is available online here. The instructor will be responsible for scheduling the talks given in the seminars, whereby speakers will typically be a mix of students enrolled in the seminar section, faculty members, members from the NWC scientific community, and outside speakers. The instructor will assure that all students enrolled in the section will be accommodated and will also assign the grade for the seminar class. Students will have to decide with their advisers in which sections they should enroll and coordinate their seminar date at the beginning of the semester with the instructor of record. This will apply to all students enrolled in the various sections, but instructors are encouraged to work with students that are graduating the same semester to find a seminar date that best fit the students’ needs. Accommodating all graduating students during the last couple of weeks of the semester will however not be possible and students and advisers should move away from planning of having the seminar the same week as the thesis or dissertation defense. Students enrolled in a section are expected to attend all seminars presented during the semester in which they are enrolled.

Expectations of Students:
This course is graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. In general, students are expected to attend the seminar series and be engaged audience members for all seminars. To earn a Satisfactory mark, enrolled students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Delivery of an acceptable seminar (with timely submission of title and abstract).
  2. Participation in peer-review of all student presentations (via online form).
  3. Attendance to all seminars presented during the semester (if a conflict prevents the student from attending a seminar synchronously during the semester, they are responsible for contacting the instructor before the missed seminar).
  4. Schedule a debrief session with the course instructor to go over seminar feedback received, if desired.

Expectations of Instructor:
The instructor will facilitate a seminar environment that is conducive to learning and scientific discussion. This facilitation includes the following:

  1. Maintaining the seminar webpage and ensuring the timely dissemination of seminar announcements throughout the NWC
  2. Introducing speakers as needed and moderating constructive question and answer sessions after each seminar
  3. Collecting and compiling anonymous peer review information after each seminar and delivering it to student presenters in a timely manner (~1 week).
  4. Evaluating student task completion and submitting final grades

Acceptable Seminar Topic and Format:
The definition of an acceptable seminar depends on the current status of each enrolled student. In general, the seminar should be directly related to the research topic the student is focusing on for their degree. A seminar delivered as a requirement for the M.S. should cover the topic area of the M.S. thesis and present at least some cursory results (depending on proximity to defense). A seminar delivered by an early-term Ph.D. student may be more flexible, covering a literature review, method design, or just limited or updated results. Seminars delivered by later-term Ph.D. students should be more robust and include results and place the work in a broader scientific context. Ultimately, the determination of an acceptable seminar is up to the instructor, but a discussion with the student and the student’s advisor would be held before a presented seminar would be determined as unacceptable.

Not all seminar presentations are expected to be of the same length. The final M.S. and Ph.D. presentations should be 35-40 minutes in length, with 10 minutes allotted for questions. For non-final presentations, a nominal length of 20 minutes is recommended. Seminars should not run longer than 40 minutes to permit for questions. Our meeting period is 50 minutes long, so timeliness is required. Typically, seminars are presented via slideshow format.

Due to COVID, all seminar courses are being offered in a synchronous online format for Fall 2021. We will be utilizing Google Meet as our virtual meeting room for this class as our federal partners cannot use Zoom. Seminars will be recorded to facilitate asynchronous participation as needs arise. It is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with this technology and practice using screensharing with Google Meet prior to your seminar to minimize any day of stress. SoM IT staff should be able to address any issues, concerns, or questions you may have about presenting via videoconference. Again, please check your set up and troubleshoot any issues with SoM IT before your seminar.

The schedule will be built based on student requests as soon as possible, with preference given to graduating students. The full schedule will be available online under the Seminars tab. In the event of instructor travel/conflict, a qualified guest instructor will be appointed for any seminars falling in that period.

All speakers are expected to prepare a title and abstract (1-2 paragraphs in length) for their seminar. The title and abstract must be delivered to the instructor and submitted to the School of Meteorology (via an online form at least 2 weeks prior to the seminar so announcements can be disseminated to the community). Once provided to the instructor, the title and abstract will also be uploaded to the BLISS webpage under the Seminars tab. Please be advised that the SoM form only works on the NWC Intranet, so please either submit from inside the NWC or use the VPN.

Peer Review:
All enrolled students will be required to peer-review all other presentations via an online form. The anonymous responses to a quick online survey will be provided to each speaker following their presentations. The instructor and all enrolled students will participate in the peer-review process, providing students with a number of reviews that equals the number of enrollees. Submission of a peer-review survey will serve as a mark of attendance for all enrolled students; therefore, a name field is required but will be removed prior to comments being shared with the presenter. Examples of questions included the peer-review form are provided below. The instructor welcomes feedback on how useful the questions are and if other questions are needed.

The results of these surveys are not tied to the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory mark of the speaker, so please do provide honest feedback to your peers. In the first term these surveys were implemented, the average scores were near 4.5, which is not an honest reflection of seminar feedback. Consider a 3 average, a 5 excellent, a 1 terrible, and please rank accordingly. Everyone providing politely high marks is not a good example of constructive criticism, which is critical to the peer review process.

Question 1 and 2 are housekeeping.

  1. Presenter’s Name
  2. Reviewer’s Name (will not be shared with presenter)

Questions 3-8 are marked on a scale from 1-5 where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent.

  1. Design: uncluttered and visually appealing slides, readable text, and graphics
  2. Organization: clear objectives, logical structure, succinct and smooth transitions
  3. Presence: body language, eye contact, poise, physical organization
  4. Language Skills: correct usage, appropriate vocabulary and grammar, good rhythm, and intonation, and spoken loud enough to be easily heard
  5. Mastery of Subject: pertinence, depth of commentary, spoken – not read, able to answer questions
  6. Overall Impression: very interesting or very boring, pleasant or unpleasant to listen to, very good or very poor communication

Questions 9-12 are long-form response for more general feedback. Please be as detailed and specific as possible.

  1. Describe one strength of the slides used in this presentation.
  2. Suggest one way to make the slides better.
  3. List one thing the presenter did particularly well with respect to delivering material.
  4. Suggest one way the presenter could improve the delivery of the presentation.

Asking Questions:
While you might assume the main goal of the seminar requirement is to provide students speaking experience, it is not the only important goal. From our seminar series, I also want to provide opportunities for all involved to learn to become better at listening, offering critique, and building the confidence to ask questions in a seminar setting. Accomplishing listening and critique skill development is built in through peer review. That leaves us with confident questions. Typically, in seminars at the NWC (and in my experience at professional meetings), it is rare for students and post docs to chime in during the open question session. There are lots of reasons for this. Maybe the talk is too boring to follow. But also, maybe students don’t feel comfortable enough or confident enough to state their questions out loud. I know that there has never been a BUL seminar that I just simply understood so clearly that I had zero questions at all. This is an important skill that suddenly becomes required to lead a series like this one or be a session chair at a conference. I want to help change this norm, so I have built it into the BUL seminar. I promise to do my best to promote your question or engage with it to protect you from the perceived risk of asking a question and receiving little response or engagement.

Civility Policy: Any successful learning experience requires mutual respect on behalf of the student and the instructor. The instructor, as well as the fellow students, should not be subjected to any student’s behavior that is in any way disruptive, rude, or challenging to the instructor’s authority in the classroom or in other education settings (office hours, etc.). A student should not feel intimidated or demeaned by his/her instructor and students must remember that the instructor has primary responsibility for control over classroom behavior and maintenance of academic integrity. The instructor can order the temporary removal or exclusion from the classroom of any student engaged in disruptive conduct or conduct violating the general rules and regulations of the University of Oklahoma. Disruptive behavior includes but is not limited to the following: repeatedly receiving audible cell phone/computer/smart device notifications during class, leaving class early or coming to class habitually late, talking out of turn, doing assignments for other classes, sleeping, and engaging in other activities that detract from the classroom learning experience. There may be a range of experience levels in this class regarding instrument platforms and coding proficiency. Belittling others and their perceived ability or experience level will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Other Important Policies:
Reasonable Accommodation: The University of Oklahoma is committed to provide reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who require accommodations in this course are requested to speak with the professor as early in the semester as possible. Students with disabilities must be registered with the Disability Resource Center prior to receiving accommodations in this course. The Disability Resource Center is in the University Community Center at 730 College Ave., phone 405-325-3825 and email adrc@ou.edu.

Academic Misconduct: All provisions of the Norman Campus Academic Misconduct Code shall apply in cases of academic dishonesty. Academic misconduct is defined as “any act that improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement.” All faculty at the University of Oklahoma expect academic integrity from each student. Misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication, and fraud, as well as attempting to commit such acts or assisting others in doing so, will not be tolerated. Students are responsible for knowing the academic misconduct code, which is included in the student code. All instances of alleged academic misconduct will be thoroughly investigated and action will be taken according to the rights and responsibilities described under the academic misconduct code.

Adjustments for Pregnancy/Childbirth Related Issues: Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the instructor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see here for commonly asked questions.

Religious Holiday Policy: It is the policy of the University to excuse the absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required course work that may fall on a religious holiday. Please discuss with the instructor if your seminar date needs to be scheduled in such a way to avoid religious observances.

Title IX Resources: For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no contact orders, scheduling adjustments and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office 405-325-2215 (8a-5p) or the Sexual Assault Response Team 405-615-0013 (24/7) to learn more or to report an incident.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Long before the University of Oklahoma was established, the land on which the University now resides was the traditional home of the “Hasinais” Caddo Nation and “Kirikirʔi:s” Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. We acknowledge this territory once also served as a hunting ground, trade exchange point, and migration route for the Apache, Comanche, Kiowa and Osage nations. Today, 39 tribal nations dwell in the state of Oklahoma as a result of settler and colonial policies that were designed to assimilate Native people.

The University of Oklahoma recognizes the historical connection our university has with its indigenous community. We acknowledge, honor, and respect the diverse Indigenous peoples connected to this land. We fully recognize, support and advocate for the sovereign rights of all of Oklahoma’s 39 tribal nations. This acknowledgement is aligned with our university’s core value of creating a diverse and inclusive community. It is an institutional responsibility to recognize and acknowledge the people, culture and history that make up our entire OU Community.

Inclusivity and Equality

Elizabeth Pillar-Little has completed the Unlearning Training Series and has been certified as an LGBTQ Ally by the OU Gender + Equality Center. An LGBTQ Ally is an individual with the awareness, knowledge, and skills to confront injustice and advocate for equality, while supporting all persons, regardless of perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, who are experiencing discrimination.


*Please note if you try to use the abstract submission link outside the NWC network, it will not work! It is on the NWC intranet. Either submit from the NWC or use VPN network access points.