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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Less than spectacular productivity...

I got to the office much later than I planned--in fact, I barely got here in time to talk to Cathy before she had to leave, and that conversation turned out to be more complex than I anticipated. She was more hesitant to waive the comp requirements for the student I spoke to yesterday, but she'll meet with the student on Monday to read a sample of her writing--and she said that even if we waive the comp requirements, she'd want the student to take a literature elective as one of her humanities requirements. I actually don't think the student needs any humanities courses: I think they're covered by the courses she can transfer back from Oberlin. But the student was fine with that as a compromise--so now I'm just hoping that when Cathy sees this young woman's writing, she agrees that waiving the comp requirements makes good sense.

We also had a talk about fall scheduling. Unlike Bruce, Cathy doesn't want to do much work on it now, as she wants to "hide" a bunch of sections to try to get other sections to fill, and we don't want to assign "hidden" sections until there are enough students to fill those, too. Interesting difference in leadership styles: Bruce was more reactive (do the assigning, then "level" sections or cancel and reboot); Cathy is more proactive (fill sections first, then gradually open more as we see what we actually need). This does mean that the two weeks starting August 14 are likely to be pretty frantic--all the more reason for me to get as much semester prep done as possible before I leave town in two weeks--but I think Cathy's methods may ultimately work better, as we'll have fewer domino chains of consequences from canceling sections.

And this is a perfect moment for the mantra "we'll see." It will all be, um, let's say interesting.

I read both of the essays from the students fulfilling incompletes. The one I was worried about still had a little in it that I'm pretty sure came from somewhere other than the student's brain, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt (and Turnitin didn't raise any flags about it); she just squeaked out a B. I'm waiting for one last bit from the other student; she was supposed to drop it by today (which is part of why I came in), but turns out she couldn't make it. I told her to drop it off before Monday. I already calculated her grade, actually, so I don't really need the assignment: with or without it, her grade calculates as a B+. I'm debating whether to boost her marks somewhere to give her an A, just because I know she's capable of earning one. I'll figure that out on Monday and submit the change of grade for her at that point.

That will be four grade changes in one semester: that's a record for me, and more than I hope to do again, but c'est la guerre.

I also fiddled around a little with handouts for fall, but I spent a lot of time on a thing about SF--defining science, science fiction, blathering on about what genres are and what SF is and blah blah blah--when I suddenly thought, "I've written some of this before; I know I have. Where might it be?" It is, not surprisingly, in the "course description" part of the syllabus. What I have there is not as lengthy (and still probably too wordy), but it covers the bases. I originally was going to simply dump the handout I was working on, but I've retitled it "lecture notes" and I'll rework it so I can refer to it when I talk to the class the first few days. I hope I also remember to write a note to myself to write things on the board. It really does help students keep track of what I'm saying. I could do a Power Point presentation (antiquated delivery system, as far as my students are concerned): that would have the advantage of being something I could post on the Blackboard page so students could refer back to it--but it also would take a lot more time to create (though creating it would be fun: I like that design process way more than I ought to). Well, something to think about.

What I didn't do was work on any of the handouts for the 101s--and there will be a whole lot more of those than there are for SF (though even the SF students will groan at the number of handouts--and their length). I may shove the whole bunch of folders into one of my tote bags to take home with me so I have them to refer to as I work tomorrow.

I do plan to work from home tomorrow; I'm not interested in coming in to campus again, even though it is easier to get into work mode here. I have to be back on Monday to work with Cathy on whatever preliminary sorting through we do on the adjunct schedules (she'll work on them when she's upstate, though I wish she'd rely on me more instead of doing everything herself). And I assume that, whenever I wrap things up with Cathy, I'll come back upstairs to crank away at my own stuff, even if it's just to have printouts ready to send off to Printing and Publications, so I don't use up all the department's copier toner and add to the wear and tear on the machines. We're supposed to send big jobs to Printing in any event--but it's hard to do that without sufficient lead time, and right now, I don't know how many copies of anything to get, as I have no idea how many students I'll have in any of my classes. (Right now, three in one 101, four in the other, and nine in SF.)

But that's all down the road. For now, I'm going to figure out what, if anything, I want to take home--and then head out to do some life maintenance stuff. Nothing urgent, but it will be good to get it taken care of.

Posting from home tomorrow, is my guess. Thanks for hanging around over the summer, faithful readers. I'll try to continue to keep you amused (or whatever you are).

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