Thursday, May 31, 2012

All in one place - the AIMS philosophy

AIMS South Africa is - to a large extent - a one-building institute. That is, the main AIMS building contains:
  • the student residence,
  • the cafeteria,
  • the classrooms,
  • the library,
  • the computer lab,
  • faculty and tutor offices,
  • social spaces,
  • and also houses visiting lecturers (like me).
In other words, I live and work in the same building that my students live and work. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to throw myself into this environment, and it's amazing. I actually know all my students' names, and that's quite a feat when you consider they have names like Vuyokazi, Mashudu, and Tshepisho.
Sidenote: I showed my class a couple pictures of my cats, and they chuckled. It later occurred to me that our cat Charles has the same name as one of the students. I mentioned THAT at the next class, and they laughed.
There are about 50 students here in total, and they all seem to know each other. What do you expect in this incubator?

I can easily imagine how each of these students will take their place in a pan-African network of math professors, teachers, researchers and innovators. Years from now, these students will look back in awe at how special a place this is.

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