I was so sure that today was going to be a cluster fuck of epic proportions that I tried to reschedule this afternoon's doctor's appointment. We finished before 1:00. Amazing. As we realized we were nearing the bottom of the stack and weren't losing our minds, we started to try to figure out why it was so much easier this time than last. Factor 1: we were able to give people 3-day schedules, which actually we could have done last time, but somehow a rumor that 3-day schedules were a thing of the past had become fact in our minds (or in my mind anyway). Now that we know 3-day schedules are OK--even for people only teaching one online course (or two hybrids)--that made life infinitely simpler.
The other reason is great for scheduling but more problematic for the department as a whole: six people retired--and word has already come down that even Bruce won't be able to get more lines. In the past he's worked miracles and gotten the administration to agree to more full-time lines even when they've been saying "no way, no how," but them days is past. In fact, some time back I got access to a huge online bank of applications from potential adjuncts; turns out (as I may have mentioned) that, since I was on sabbatical, I wasn't responsible for reviewing any of them--but the other members of P&B are, and I think they're having (or already had) at least one meeting after the end of term to talk about new hires.
On the other hand, we had way more adjuncts than there were classes this summer, and enrollment was so pitifully low that a lot of the classes have been canceled and people who were originally given a class now get nothing. Fall may be more of the same. I anticipate that Bruce and I will be pretty frantic in August--but I don't have to worry my pretty little head about that this red-hot moment.
Tomorrow, Sabrina and I will come back in to check through everything carefully, make sure we didn't make any huge mistakes or forget any steps. One thing that will be interesting is that we gave a schedule to a full professor, grousing about the fact that she didn't submit a preference form--but it turns out that she didn't submit the form because she'll be on sabbatical in the spring, so now we have some very nice courses to distribute to people who may have less than lovely schedules.
Oh, and the problematic professor called Bruce today; they had a long and apparently somewhat difficult conversation (hard for her to realize that the rotation of courses trumps seniority--in fact, that's why we have the rotation rule, is so senior faculty can't "own" a course that people lower down the ranks would like to teach)--but the upshot was that she has provisional approval for one of the electives she wanted; she just has to provide the documentation of her qualifications to Bruce--and the scheduling committee is now out of the picture.
I don't recall if I mentioned that another professor also wanted a course for which we didn't have evidence of qualifications. I wrote to him about it, and we got a beautiful response from him today, demonstrating that he is qualified--and the course in question is Nature in Lit. He got it.
Part of why he got it is that the time when P&B traditionally has met had to change because of a conflict in Bruce's meeting schedule. If P&B had met at its traditional time, I'd have been able to go to P&B and then teach Nature in Lit--but now P&B meets when the class is scheduled. Bruce would have moved the class for me, which is sweet, but I'll be teaching another elective that I like--right at the moment I can't remember if it's Modern Poetry or American Short Story--and I'm delighted that Nature in Lit will go to someone who genuinely is qualified to teach it and who has wanted to teach it since he was hired. Wins all around.
I notice that I'm still avoiding work on my own classes for fall, or cleaning out my files (writing e-mails and blog posts instead), but eventually, I'll get to that, and get back to the last piece of the sabbatical project. Mostly, I'm just delighted that I have this little bit of "down" time before I head out to the doctor's appointment and then into the City for dinner with Paul. Today is turning out to be much less frantic and flurried than I was anticipating--and that is a truly pleasant surprise.