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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gnats

I feel as if my head is surrounded by clouds of gnats: trying to keep track of what's going on is proving just about as challenging as it can get. Bruce and I hacked through the underbrush for most of the day, and I have to say, the problem with him having things in his head is that he doesn't meticulously keep track of what's where, what's been done, that everything is recorded in all the places where it needs to go. We must have assigned five or six courses only to find out he'd canceled them some time ago. In at least three instances, we were told that a faculty member had declined classes--but wherever it had been written down for Bruce, he lost track of it. (I wasn't being paranoid about the possibility that he'd forget he'd said I could have the SF class.) He even said at one point that he "likes mess." (I refrained from comment about the evidence of that in his personal life.) A lot of what I was doing was trying to make sure things were clear--all the records matching and that we could actually, literally see what had been assigned and to whom. At some point, he was working in red pen, which makes it harder to see any subsequent changes, especially when a course has changed hands three or four times....

On top of that, seminar hours stuff is turning into a maelstrom: the administration has done precisely nothing to even let students know that the mentoring/advising option exists, never mind giving students a way to indicate their interest and availability. Within a few hours, another member of the committee and I had come up with jazzy fliers (his jazzier than mine) to replace the turgid text that someone in admissions had ground out, and I created an interest/availability form--but we now need the administration to set up a link that can be accessed by e-mail, through the NCC home page, through the "Portal" (the central log-in site), so we have a way to electronically gather the information. We are under this contractual obligation to fulfill hours as if they'll happen starting with the first day of classes--but nothing has been done so we can start fulfilling them.

I probably should stop there. It's a hairball of epic proportions, and I don't imagine anyone really wants to see each individual hair teased out of the mess. I saw Paul briefly this morning: his reaction to the madness was to kick it right back to the administration. We're here in our offices, dutifully ready to meet with students: we're fulfilling our contractual obligation; it isn't our fault that there are no students for us to see. I've often had the "sometimes you have to drop the football" response to impossible situations of this type, but in this case, I have a feeling somehow it would backfire in truly unpleasant ways. That said, a member of our union leadership intimated that even if we make a brilliant success of the seminar hours, the administration is still going to be gunning for us to have a fifth class.

Please please please please let me have enough money in my retirement fund that I can take an early retirement option with the next contract and get out of here before that happens.

In any event, I will be back in on Monday--albeit without Bruce--cleaning up the last of the mess, which will mean being on the phone with Bruce, making frantic notes. At this point, plans to do any photocopying are on hold, as both the departmental copy machines are down, and we don't know when the repair guy will show up. Plan B--Kinkos--is already in place, but before I get to that, I have to quadruple check to be sure I have printed the latest version of all handouts so I'm sure I'm photocopying the correct thing.

Now, I'm going to noodle around with handouts for a bit--and it looks like I'm not going to make it to tango class, dammit: this is what happens when I get on a roll....


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