Saturday, August 26, 2006


Well, week #1 went pretty well. We didn't have Monday classes last week, so I saw two of my classes twice and one class once (it's MWF, but F is lab and I didn't have one this week). The semester is going to be tough- the F lab class is for all intents and purposes a new class. The other two are not too bad, but one has a lot of homework and writing, so requires a lot of attention. So, teaching-wise it was a good week. The title of the post comes from the news I got yesterday:

Dr. Dear N. I regret to inform you that the National Science Foundation is unable to support your proposal referenced above.

What a bummer- this is one of the proposals I worked on early last semester (that helped to prevent me from finishing that unmentionable paper). This was the second year we submitted this proposal and we waited the full six months for the decision. Our suspicion was that we were in the "maybe" category awaiting the program's budget to come through. It seems that is the case, because the reviews were dated mid-May, but they didn't make the decision until this week. It's so disappointing (as I'm sure many of you know!) The reviews were good, the panel gave us between high & medium priority, but in the end we didn't get it. The thing that frustrates me most about it is that I don't get any formal credit toward tenure for any "failed" proposals. All I need are publications, so I am not evaluated on grants- of course if we had gotten this one (and the $1 million that would have come with it) they would certainly find a way to count it. So, the bottom line is that I am still short a publication AND I didn't get the $. The other proposal I worked on in spring was also turned down, but we have already revised and submitted it elsewhere. I'm sure we will also revise this one and try for third time next year, but I was really hoping to get it this time.

To end on a less depressing note- here's a good student story. My 100-level class is only open to first- and second-year students. I always have juniors and seniors wanting to force-add, but only seniors graduating in the current semester are allowed to get in that way. My class is usually full, but this time I had two spaces in one lab section, so I had a bunch of students coming to see me after the first class. One had emailed ahead of time, so I took his slip, then I took one other person who had asked me right before class. Everyone else was out of luck and there were no December-graduating seniors this time. After class, apparently one student went to the department office, told our administrative assistant that she was a graduating senior and wanted to add the class. Later, this student left me a voicemail to ask if anything was going on with her request. Rather than calling her cell phone (as she asked) I replied with this email:

Hi [Student]: I got your message. [Secretary] is confirming your class standing before you can be force-added. Once the class is full (as it is now) ONLY seniors graduating in December are allowed to force-add. If [secretary] confirms that you are graduating in December, then she will force-add you. I don't recall talking to you after class yesterday- if you had said you were graduating in December, I would have told you that it is not a problem. Good luck, Dr. N.

I never got a reply, but her MOTHER called the department office! During that conversation with our administrative assistant, she confirmed that her daughter is graduating in MAY, but other classes don't work with her schedule.

I find it hilarious/ridiculous that a college student's mother is calling the department- give me a break! Is this a Miami thing? Or does this happen everywhere? I would have been mortified if my mother had called anyone at my college!


Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Sorry about the NSF thing - that really stinks.

As for the mother calling, I've only heard of parents calling when their children fail a class (particularly at very expensive schools). But to get them INTO a class? Bizarre.

Arbitrista (formerly Publius) said...

That sucks about the NSF.