If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Off And Running

So the new semester has officially begun here in SCBT and we're off to an excellent start. My teaching schedule this semester is MW day and T night. This means that by the end of the day Wednesday (as in right now), I am done for the week. Wednesday is also meeting day and today was the first departmental meeting of the season. We meet as a department two times a month and the other weeks we have various committee meetings scheduled.

Today we tackled next year's teaching schedule. I'm curious how much input you all get in deciding on the courses you teach? Having never been in a teaching environment before it is all new to me. Last year what I figured out was that all decisions were made in private with the Department Head [DH] and there was a lot of "what do you want to teach?" as opposed to "here's what you will be teaching." While this is very nice it does make for shortages in some key courses. So today we tried to tackle it as a [somewhat large] group. All core courses, across all programs, were projected and we negotiated who should teach what. Keep in mind we always fall way short of covering our minimum number of courses - due to buy-out and administrative duties - but we were trying to get the core courses taught by full-time faculty and not farm it out to adjuncts.

I think we did a fairly decent job. Everyone behaved and took responsibility. Not everyone was happy but no one seemed particularly upset. We fell way short of meeting our need but there seems no way out of this other than raising the required number of courses taught for each faculty, which to some extent we did in a recent meeting when we decided that no one could buy out of teaching altogether. The discussion also brought up some critical issues that are occurring in one of the programs and I think it became evident that what happens in one program affects us all.

So, as it stands now, I will be teaching the same two master's level courses I've been teaching since I got there (and love) as well as picking up an additional undergraduate course (teaching one section in the Fall and another in the Spring) that is exactly in my area of expertise and research. It also looks like my schedule will allow me to go to the dojo two nights a week instead of one, so I'm a pretty happy camper.

I have much more to say on the start of my classes this term but that will need to wait for another post. The only bad news today is that my Ipod has just up and died.

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