Friday, May 29, 2009

Who is in charge here, anyway?

Like lots of academic institutions, we're having some financial "issues" due to the downturn of the stock market.

It's interesting to see how the response is unfolding. So far it's consisted of the president and dean asking for a institution wide 10% budget cut and not filling sabbatical leaves with replacements, and several warnings that bigger things are to come.

What I don't understand is that during strategic planning, the faculty are regularly consulted to figure out what to spend more money on, but when the crunch is on, we're not asked where we think cuts can be made without sacrificing the program.

It's definitely revealing who is in charge. It's not the faculty or students, that's for sure. It's not the president or dean, either. The trustees are definitely the ones calling the shots. And while they're very experienced in business matters, academia isn't a business.

I wonder what it's like at other institutions--who calls the shots?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The John:women ratio

I teach at a relatively small college, with less than 100 faculty members. We monitor the progress of women on the faculty by the John to women ratio--somehow we have way too many faculty members named John. In fact, they recently took a picture of all the Johns (10% of the faculty!)

The good news is: the women are gaining; we're up to twice as many women as Johns.

The bad news is: the reason we're gaining is because the Johns are retiring!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Moving forward

Some people make New Year's Resolutions in January, but June 1 seems better for me. The school year is done, and campus will soon be quiet. It's a good time for reflection...and with warmer weather and food from the CSA starting to arrive, I'd have a fighting chance at keeping the standard New Year's resolutions.

But beyond the stereotypical "lose the last 10 baby lbs and exercise more", I have another way I want to move excuses.

I will be better prepared for excuses.
I will not complain about all the things I have to excuses.
I will get to know my students as individuals, even if I'm vastly excuses.

Excuses just make me look less confident. I need to own my performance, and do the best I can.

Will someone please explain to me... I can still be insanely busy even though the semester is done?
...why my two "it always works" experiments aren't working? one appeases the E. coli so they'll behave again?
...why faculty can't follow directions? I got another set of receipts with a hard copy of a report, instead of an electronic report and the receipts going to the business office...
...why there is only one more week before my eldest child is out of school for the summer? There are no daycamps in town this summer, so I think we'll be piecemealing something together...

Monday, May 11, 2009

I don't know which is sadder...

A student getting the "After reading this entire exam, write one six point question and provide an answer" question incorrect, or needing a calculator to figure out how many points a student lost on the final...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I am such a nerd...

I'm all excited about writing my final. I'm tying it to Swine Flu, and will be able to integrate a number of topics into the question....I love being able to do themes like this. I am such a would be faster to write normal questions, but this is a lot more interesting!

Friday, May 1, 2009

If you give a professor a key...

If you give a professor your lab key after class, she’ll remember she forgot to turn any of them in.
So after picking the rest up from her office, she’ll bring them to the storeroom.
On the way she’ll spy her overnight cultures in the growth chamber.
After dropping off the keys, she’ll get the cultures and bring them to her lab.
She’ll discover thetabletop centrifuge is missing.
After hunting down the centrifuge in someone else’s teaching lab, she’ll carry it back to her lab.
The inserts are missing, so she’ll search for them.
She finds them in the cold room, and also sees a plate from one of her students.
She’s curious to see if the Blue Fluorescent Protein really fluoresces blue, so she’ll shine the UV light on them. Nothing.
Upon returning to the lab, she discovers she forgot the inserts…back to the light box.
At the lightbox, she also spies a catalog, and remembers she needs to order some things for summer research.
After starting the centrifuge, she sits down at the computer to order some supplies.
Students come to ask about their grades. One of them says how much they enjoyed the blue fluorescent protein project…and she’ll remember the samples in the centrifuge.
She’ll go to the lab and discover her colleague locked it.
She’ll discover she’s wearing the evil “no pocket” pants and can’t find her keys.
So chances are, she’ll ask you for a key.