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Monday, August 22, 2016

And so it begins...

Today was my first day working with Bruce on adjunct schedules. We will easily finish tomorrow; we only have about 30 classes to dispose of, and probably almost twice that number of adjuncts. Bruce has, of course, already put contingency plans in place for the full-time faculty whose schedules are in danger--and enrollment is behaving very oddly: sections that were frighteningly low suddenly fill; others sit at the same low number of registrants day after day. Even within a certain time block, how the sections fill is strange. Normally, the assumption is that students are picking professors who have friendly ratings on Rate My Professor, or those whose former students rave about how wonderful they are--but that doesn't seem to be the case this time. Two of my most popular colleagues have sections that are insanely low; some colleagues whom I know are not well thought of have sections that are suddenly close to filled.


So, even though Bruce and I will be done with the preliminary scheduling tomorrow, I'll probably come in more days than not, just to make sure that "I'm ready early" thing doesn't evaporate. I'm still not sure how many copies of things to make: the SF class is taking off (27 students--only 4 female, possibly 5, but the name is in a language unfamiliar to me, and not counting two female senior observers); one of the 102s is in good shape, the other still languishing at 10. But at least I can go through the syllabi and make sure I have the right handouts ready in the right order--or know when to put in an order for future handouts. (I'll try to use Printing and Publications as much as possible, to help conserve the departments toner budget.) Speaking of copies, I realized belatedly that I wanted color copies of a handout, and I didn't want to put a rush on the order with P&P (since they get too much of that at this time of semester anyway)--so I ordered them online through Staples. Surprisingly inexpensive and easy. Insert "thumbs up" emoji here.

The only somewhat down note is that I still haven't gotten the final paper from that student who was fulfilling her incomplete. I've sent her several e-mails--all of which have gone unanswered--and left a message for her with her boyfriend, using the only phone number I have for her, and still no word. I did briefly consider sending her a letter as a final warning, but on further consideration, I've decided I've prodded her as much as I intend to. If she wants to complete the course, she can contact me. If I haven't heard from her by the end of the fall semester, the Incomplete automatically converts to an F. That's actually the grade she "earned," but I had high hopes when she was trying diligently to rework those papers. Ah well. She may yet come through on it, but the hope is fading rapidly.

On a much brighter note, I don't remember if I mentioned, but a former student has appeared on my SF roster. She was in my Fiction Writing class the first time I taught it, wrote the most lovely, nearly perfect soap-bubble of a story--and her mother stopped me as I was walking back to the office to tell me I'd saved her daughter's life: this young woman has struggled with depression, had given up writing--even though it was one thing she truly loved--and found great encouragement in taking up the pen again. She withdrew from the course, and I believe she transferred to another SUNY campus, so a little piece of me is concerned that she's back--but mostly I'm just delighted to have her in my class. If she's struggling again, I hope I can again be useful somehow.

On that note, I'll sign off for today. I'll probably post tomorrow, maybe most of this week, in fact. Classes start a week from Thursday, and that's when the usual Monday through Thursday blog posts will resume--though I may miss an occasional Thursday, in order to get into the City in time for tango class, with these dancers as my instructors (and, actually, in the studio where this was filmed):

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