James Geller: I got my PhD degree at SUNY Buffalo and I spent one year at the Information Sciences Institute in Los Angeles which was kind of a post-doc and after that NJIT offered me a job and that was 25 years ago so I just celebrated a quarter century at NJIT. And it’s a nice campus at a nice location. I like being close to Manhattan. You can get to the President or anybody else by a simple walk, it’s not one of those giant universities where you have to drive from one end to the other end. And it has a very good computer science department so I’m proud that I’m a member of this department, it was great to join here, and there are a number of famous researchers here which makes it nice to be here.
Distance learning students have very different constraints than your normal nine to five students in the classroom so many of our distance learning students of course have full time jobs, many have families, children, and on top of that you’re trying to have a life, right? So I understand that it would be difficult during working hours to contact me so I actually keep one office hour a week where you can phone in in the evening and I’ll be able to talk to you at that time. This will be a defined time after dinner but you will be able to reach me during bed time and this is specifically only for the distance learning students.
I have a son and a daughter, they are both in college, and I learned from them a lot. And one of the things that I learned from them is to be always on. I belong to the always on generation so many times I get emails from my students at midnight and they are very surprised if they get a reply five minutes later even though it’s at midnight. Now obviously tat doesn’t mean that I can reply to email messages while I’m in a lecture myself. There’s got to be some uninterrupted times but I try to be very responsive to my students, I try to be always available for them and they appreciate it. Many times I get an email message where the student then says “Thank you for you quick reply” because they’re actually surprised that they’re getting a reply that quickly.