Friday, February 26, 2010

Independent Study

OK, yesterday's frazzled feeling has been largely resolved. Later today I'll head off to a small conference. I'm hoping it'll be fun.

Students here are registering for next year, and I've already tentatively agreed to two independent studies. In both cases they're good students for whom the IS would fill an important spot in their overall program, so on the one hand I feel good about doing them. On the other hand, my dept. chair advises me not to take on too many, and I don't want to overload myself. I have had independent studies before--some of them turned out great, others were frustrating and took way too much time.

What do you think, readers? What makes me you more or less willing to supervise an independent study? Are there keys to both student and prof having a good experience with one?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Annoying meeting yesterday ate up a lot of time. Grr. Must finish conference paper that I am giving this weekend, and finish something else that needs to be mailed by next week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Perils of Interlibrary Loan

My campus library is small and much of the collection is old. I have ordered new books which seem appropriate and necessary, but the library's budget is also small, so I have tried not to be too demanding on that score. In particular, I have tended to order things that I think will be useful for students, and have generally not ordered things that apply only, or primarily, to my research. This has put me often at the mercy of interlibrary loan services.

The ILL service has been fine in that it gets me the materials I want. The major problem is that I don't get them for very long. In the fall I ambitiously ordered six or eight books at once, then couldn't get to them immediately, and one by one they all went overdue, and my ILL privileges were revoked until I finally returned all the books.

Most recently I ordered just one book, which proved to be so dauntingly large that I put off looking at it for a few days. This was, of course, counterproductive, especially since once I started going through the book, I found it to be not only thick but dense; every chapter is full of ideas and information and requires some thought to grapple with. It has not lent itself well to skimming. The book is now overdue and I'm only a small portion of the way through it... sigh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Progress report

Though I have no service responsibilities yet, there's been a substantial increase in meetings in the last month. For one thing, we newbie profs had meetings in which we were introduced to the basics of governance and advising, since those will be new for us next year. Soon we'll have to indicate what committees we're interested in serving on, so I'm trying to figure that out: some of our committees sound like a ton of work, but also fairly interesting; one sounds like a lot of work which I would find immensely tedious; others may have lighter work loads, but also sound a bit dull.

For another, we had two hours of faculty meeting recently in which a seemingly innocuous proposal regarding a major had the potential to have huge repercussions for the college-wide curriculum, which had to be discussed in detail.

Finally, my department is very small and hardly ever has department meetings, but we need to have one soon to figure out how we are implementing some new requirements for majors. 

So overall, I am definitely getting introduced to the joys(?) of faculty governance and service.

In spite of that, I have made some progress on this semester's writing goals

#1: Interesting Opportunity application, is mostly done, awaiting feedback from a couple of colleagues.

#2: Started a draft of first conference paper; need to look over a few things I've read previously to help flesh this out.

#3: Have collected some stuff to read to inform this one.

So far, so good. It's nice to be able to carve out some time for writing.