Sunday, September 10, 2006

Catching Up

OK- I've been neglecting my blog. I have lots I've wanted to tell you, but haven't felt justified in spending the time doing it with that cursed paper still hanging over my head. However, I felt it was time to fill you in on the last week or so.

Post-Birthday Wrap Up
My birthday fell on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so that was really nice- no teaching that day or the day before or after, either! We went out to lunch (as a family), then H and I went to see Little Miss Sunshine that night. At my request, H had bought me a bunch of DVDs: X-Files Seasons 1, 2, & 3; Star Trek TNG Season 3. I've been enjoying these on the treadmill! My mom sent some nice jewelry and some bath & body products from Boots (she was in London over the summer and I LOVE Boots). I still need to write thank-you notes!

Teaching
Classes are going fine so far. I am teaching every day, so that is hectic. I get tired of colleagues (who already have tenure) complaining about having to come in an additional day for meetings. Um- some of us have to be here EVERY day for teaching, so shut the f--- up!

I am doing one thing differently in my 100-level class this time. I have always had students turn in a SHORT writing assignment each class to earn in-class points (and check attendance). There are 90 students and I have always gone through the sheets myself. This semester, I am delegating to my TA to do it. This is really nice to free up that time (that I shouldn't have been using anyway), but I am not learning their names as well as I usually do. I feel kind of bad about that, but really felt it was better to start delegating a bit (I am very bad about this- as the control freak that I am!)

I don't know my T/Th students well, yet, either. I have met with them a whole 5 times so far (because of the bizarre Miami practice of Monday/Tuesday Exchange Day- there was no T class last week). Thursday I had a guest speaker, so that's only four classes! I guess we can catch up this week.

Research
I am feeling more and more bitter/frustrated about failed proposals and how it all relates to tenure. I have no tenure requirements for external funding, but there is pressure from university administrators to bring in money. The biggest pressure is from myself, because I need money to get any sort of research going (aside from using free data and having no RA, which severely limits things). As a result, I have been a PI or co-PI on at least one federal grant proposal every year I have been here. As you can imagine, that has taken a lot of TIME. This time has diminished the amount of time left to work on papers (especially during semesters that I teach 3 classes). I should just manage to have enough papers accepted to get tenure, but feel that the appearance of just "squeaking by" is very misleading about the way I've spent my time here. I know other departments and other universities where SUBMITTED proposals count as a peer-reviewed paper. Even if each of my proposals counted as a HALF a paper, I would be looking pretty good. Even if I had criteria, like saying "all NSF panel reviews good or better will count" I would be fine. Unfortunately, I don't have any senior faculty advocating for me on this. I get a "thanks for your hard work" from my chair, but that's it. So-I am struggling to finish that paper by my self-imposed deadline, plus putting together another one with some colleagues to submit to a journal special issue (so there's a REAL deadline!)

Etc.
OK- I better go get breakfast for D and grade some papers (from one of my two classes that has no TA). I'd love to hear if anyone has similar frustrations with the research stuff. I know you are all in a range of places- from R1 to community colleges, so it would be interesting to hear what your expectations are. I'll keep you posted on my various deadlines! BTW- D is enjoying first grade and riding the bus. Maybe I'll do another self-destructing picture at some point! I think she is really learning a lot and having lots of fun, too.

1 comment:

Dr. Delaney Kirk said...

I find a seating chart helpful. I let the students pick their own seats and then have them sign the chart. They are then to sit in the same seats all semester. I have the seating chart typed up (first names in larger font) so I can glance at it easily on the podium. I use this for attendance and to call on students using their names. Your assistant could use to put papers in order to hand back also. Hope this helps.