Dave Eckhardt's MSCS Advising Information Page


Life-threatening emergency?
If there is a life-threatening emergency, please start with CMU's police (412-268-2323). If this is an off-campus emergency, Allegheny County's emergency dispatcher (police, fire, medical emergency) is 911. If you're not sure whether you should call an emergency dispatcher, you probably should.
Life crisis?
If you or a student you know is experiencing a life crisis, or would benefit from expert advice on dealing with a complicated life issue, you can reach Counseling and Psychological Services at 412-268-2922 at any time. CAPS is free and very confidential (they won't even tell me whether or not you have talked to them, unless you sign a form). If you're not sure whether or not you should call CAPS, you probably should.
Need to see me today but I don't seem to be around?
Start with Tracy Farbacher, our Master's Program Administrator. Unless I'm on an intercontinental airplane, she should be able to put you in touch either me or Professor Karl Crary, the Director of the MSCS program.
Brief "drop-in" advising?
If you need 15 minutes or so to talk about something simple, and there is a slot on my automatic advising calendar, click away! It's ok to come by a few minutes early in case I'm not busy, and it's also ok to knock on my door if it seems like I'm talking to somebody else during a time slot you've reserved, but please don't come 10 minutes early and knock on my door if I'm talking to somebody else--that's not courteous.
Other appointment?
If you need a longer appointment, or you don't see any open slots on my automatic calendar, drop me a note. My Andrew username is "de0u". Ideally, avoid mail like "Can I see you Thursday?". It is much better if you guess how much time we will need to talk and, most importantly, if you suggest some times that will be good for you in the next day or two. If you send me an appointment request, try to watch your e-mail closely (during the day, check every hour or so): sometimes a block of time will free up and I will offer it to you. During each semester once things settle down I expect to post some "advising hours" during which you can expect me to be around and not having office hours for courses.
Drop by?
Of course, you can try dropping by my office without an appointment. My office door is usually open, or at least ajar, which means you can try injecting yourself into whatever's going on. If my office door is closed, whether or not you hear voices, I am most likely involved with something that isn't easily interruptible. Special tip on dropping by to see me: it is always a good idea to check your e-mail just before you come see me in case I have answered your question by e-mail (see below).
Advising by e-mail?
I can answer many questions by e-mail. Please note that according to my mental model while you are on campus and classes are in session you will check your Andrew e-mail at least every 12 hours unless something unusual is going on (e.g., you are on a 14-hour airplane flight). More often would probably be useful, e.g., around breakfast, lunch, and after your last class of the day.
Recommendation letters / background checks?
Please see my "Reference" page


Where is the MSCS handbook online?
The MSCS 2016-2017 handbook is located here. You should refer to the version for your year of entry. Previous versions:
What should I call you, anyway?
It should always be safe to address a university faculty member as "Professor X". In the CMU School of Computer Science we try to be less formal; students who work closely with faculty members are generally on a first-name basis. Unless you instruct me otherwise, I am most likely to address you by your first name and you may accordingly call me "Dave". However, I understand that some students will feel uncomfortable doing that, so I will absolutely not be offended by "Professor Eckhardt".
Where the heck is GHC 4001???
Here's the secret decoder ring for GHC: you already know that the first digit of a room number is the floor. What you probably don't know is that the second digit is the hallway or area number, and lower numbers are closer to Wean Hall--so higher numbers are closer to Forbes Ave.

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