Edward Lank

Joining my Research Group (Howto)

Please do not email me and ask if you can join my group. While I would like to respond to every such email, I receive too many to respond to each one individually. Joining my group is quite simple: you apply to Waterloo and list Human-Computer Interaction as your area of interest. You can also list me as a desired supervisor. Admissions are competitive; if you are among the top students and your areas of interest overlap mine, you will receive a fully funded offer from Waterloo.

Expected Student Background

Most of my students have traditional computer science backgrounds. However, I welcome students from a broad range of academic backgrounds. Personally, my undergraduate degree was not in computer science (it was Honours Physics), and members of my group have come from backgrounds as diverse as psychology, sociology, math, and science. Having completed introductory programming (to the level of a minor in computer science) is helpful, but not necessary. Make sure you note your non-CS background on your research statement. I frequently consider this an asset, particularly due to my research interests in modeling movement, in design, and in observations of how technology serves (or not) the goals of users.

The Offer Process

You may or may not receive an email from me prior to the offer. I recruit students on an on-going basis, and I have no quota or target enrollment for positions in my group. My research group is sufficiently large that I do not actively recruit; if I make you an offer, it is because I have identified something in your application package that indicates, to me, that you are exceptional.

Your Research Life

Unlike many of my colleagues, if you examine my publication record, you will see that I am very broad as a researcher, touching on aspects of design, systems, interaction techniques, and modeling. I approach each student without strong pre-conceptions of what they should do. I am happy to suggest projects to you or to have you suggest your own and to work with you to refine those projects. I find that, if we find something that you are interested in, it will feel more worthwhile for you to work on that project.

If you want to know what it's like to work with me, you should feel free to ask any current or former student of mine. Googling and/or my Google Scholar page will help you identify current and former students.

Research philosophy

My goal is to do two things: To help you do the great work you are capable of doing; and to always place your interests above my own. To clarify, as a full professor with tenure, I, personally, do not need any one additional paper, but I know that you do. My goal is to make sure that you get those papers, and that you get to the point that you do not need me to create great research and write papers that highlight your work.