So it’s week 6 of my semester, and this means that the first major assignments are coming in (2 courses had papers come in last week, 2 courses had major assignments come in this week) and so the GRADING has arrived.
Also re: teaching, I’m really “in” my courses now, which is requiring more prep, which isn’t bad, but it is work.
And then there’s the grant shit, though I made the decision over the weekend not to apply for the Very Competitive National Thing for I know I won’t get it at this point in the project (because of the Very Competitive part of it) but thinking that I would apply for it forced me to do the work that I needed to do, so by week’s end I’ll be submitting two internal grant (or “award”) applications, and I’ll submit my abstract for Awesome International Conference in Italy to which I’ve been strongly encouraged to submit an abstract.
In addition, the service part of things is ramping up – for the committee that I’m chairing (for yes, I am spearheading getting an actual viable program-level assessment plan in place, because I’m a masochist), for curriculum (because it turns out that now that I’m no longer actually serving on curriculum-related things I’m just taking the initiative to make broad sweeping proposals for the department to consider), and for university-wide stuff (like going to a meeting with our president and provost to talk about the future direction of the college).
In other words, it’s Tuesday and I am feeling tired.
Tired is not necessarily bad. However, tired is made terrible by the casual sexism of my department, which I had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand because of the very thin walls that divide our offices. I’m not comfortable saying more than that in this forum, but dude, the casual sexism really makes me less inclined to do all of the work that I do. And it also makes me wish that I hadn’t overheard what I overheard because it filled me with inarticulate rage, and inarticulate rage really makes me disinclined to grade, or to do committee work, or to complete lengthy applications for money that frankly I think faculty should just be able to expect as support for their work.
On a positive note, my favorite part of the fall semester is finding out how much money I’ll be granted for conference travel in the academic year, partly because, yay, money, but also because that support means so much to me being able to do work not only on research but also that is so important to energizing my teaching.
On another positive note, I really adore the accessibility of our “new” president, and the fact that he really appears to want to listen to faculty. His detractors say that’s all a show. Personally? Even if it’s fake (though I don’t think that it is) I prefer fake deference to lack of access or outright hostility. Further, I prefer that this guy sets up equal opportunity situations for all faculty to have access to him as opposed to limiting access to him to “those faculty who go to basketball games.” I like him as a leader, and I like the direction in which he seems to be steering us. And I like that he knows who I am and that I’ve had more contact with him in one year than I had with our previous president in 9 years. I also fantasize about having a little doll of him sitting on my office shelf to motivate me, much like “Elf on a Shelf” motivates children to be good for Santa. Which, sure, is weird, but I feel like it would be awesome. I may need to take a picture of him and cut out the head and put it on Ken doll or similar. (Again, I know I’m super-weird. But this would make me happy and remind me of the bigger picture when I hear my department colleagues saying things that make me all stabby.)
As an aside, I think good administrators are crucial to the work of a university. I actually am not one of those faculty members who is all “down with administration!” Dude: I long for administration and staff to take care of all of the shit that takes me away from the work that I think faculty members really should do (teaching, research, faculty governance, service to the profession). I mean, sure, back in the time when that was more the case I wouldn’t have been able to be in the professoriate because of my sex and because of my class origins. But let’s just ignore that reality for a minute. Administrators who make my job easier? Staff to take care of the administrativia of the work of professing? Yep, that’s what I would really enjoy. I recognize that this isn’t going to happen exactly, but even a little of this as an alternative to the downsourcing of those jobs to faculty would go a long way toward improving my morale and thus the work that I do for students as a teacher and for my discipline as a scholar.
On that note, I’m gonna go knit and watch television until a bedtime that won’t make me wake up at 3 AM.