Friday, January 12, 2007


Professional Day Address, with Captions

Welcome back.

I hope you enjoyed that month off with pay. I haven't had one of those since 1994.

Let's start by acknowledging our new colleague, Prof. X.

For those keeping score at home, that's three retirements, one replacement.

And also welcome back Profs. A and B from sabbatical leave.

What is this word 'sabbatical'? What is its meaning?

As the President acknowledged this morning, the college faces another difficult year.

You're sick of hearing it, I'm sick of saying it, but it's still true.

We'll be expecting each department to refer to the plans it submitted in its annual report last Fall, and to carry those plans to fruition this Spring.

Betcha didn't think I read those! Gotcha!

As you've probably heard by now

Gotta love the rumor mill

we're considering some changes to the academic calendar for next year, to better line up our offerings with local expectations about vacations.

Yeah, I know, classes before Labor Day are half-empty.

I've asked the department chairs to lead discussions about the impact that shifting the calendar would have, to see if there are any complications we'd need to work around.

Don't say you weren't included...

I've also asked the chairs

They love it when I do that

to get back to me in a few weeks with requests for funding for any major activities you're planning on for the Spring, so we can get the budgets in line in advance.

Hope springs eternal...

As you know, we have a reaccreditation visit in the not-too-distant future

here it comes...

which means that we'll need to be up to speed in every department, in terms of outcomes assessment.

I'm looking at you, Prof. K...

It's not enough anymore just to do the assessments and gather the data;

though it wouldn't physically kill you to start, Prof. K...

now we have to show that we're making curricular and teaching decisions based on that data.

I've already lost them.

In other words, show that we're using what we've found to improve what we're doing.

I shoulda worn a flak jacket

Because if we don't do thoughtful assessments, we'll wind up with thoughtless, standardized ones from the outside.

No stipends for you!

We'll also be revisiting our Honors program this Spring

because I am a masochist

so if you have any ideas on how to improve that, please tell me or your chair.

not holding my breath...

Just to follow up on some points raised at the Fall meeting

thank God my secretary takes good notes

I'm pleased to report that all classrooms have been equipped with (name the equipment)

bringing us kicking and screaming into the 1990's

We've also expanded our outreach into local high schools

you'd think we would have thought of that before...

with particular help from departments B and C

mention the names, mention the names...



what are your concerns?


Do most colleges do these professional days before each semester? We don't. Are we missing anything?
I seriously doubt it.
The captioned posts are my favorite posts! Thanks again.
Just to remark: your adjuncts, even those you rehired for the Spring, got a month off without pay.
"I haven't had one of those since 1994."

You're doing better than most. I haven't had one of those since '79 when I was a senior in high school.
A concise yet thorough guide to academic leadership. Genius!
pylcyytOh dude:

This is very funny. I recently ran into you on my blog, re. the faculty-administration divide, and believe me, I am more sympathetic than you know, having run one of the major committees at Zenith -- the one dedicated to curriculum. My job that year was to get departments to use the schedule in such a way that almost all our classes were not taught between 11 and 2 on Tuesday and Thursday (or T, Tr, as our schedule calls it.) I won't describe it to you -- hell, maybe I'll even blog about it, but - I don't have to, right!

blog on! I'll be linking you the next time I get down to it.

This sounds like a college meeting at an R1, except I've found that the faculty add the captions, rather than the dean.
During my "month off with pay," I have been pretty busy with all the professional work and course prep that I have no time to accomplish during the regular semester. I still have a book review to write. Last summer's article submission that needs revising will have to wait until next summer.
Exactly: my "month off with pay" has been a vacation, too, with two new classes to prep and a couple major publishing deadlines to meet. Life's a breeze during that month off with pay.
Well, during my month off *without* pay, when I would have loved to have been able to write a review, or edit a previously written manuscript, or start a new one, I was working as a temporary shipping clerk for UPS, and when I was laid off from that job I got another temp job with the city cleaning up after the New Year's day parade. You know, sweeping up trash -- but maybe I can spin it as service on my vita. And for the remainder of the time, I went around to my various friends and borrowed money.
I had many of those "months off without pay" before landing a tenure-track job. It is a long road to tenure. Much of the unpaid professional work that tenured faculty do is invisible to administrators.
My "month off with pay" lasted only 9 days (15 if you count weekends and holidays). On two of those days I dropped off 18 separate jobs (mostly for the labs I "coordinate") to be sure all first-week materials were ready when classes started.

We only have a "professional day" before the start of fall semester, and we always sit in clusters so we can fill in the gaps. Wish we weren't so behind the times that we aren't texting them to each other!

PS - why does Google's blogger think that "texting" is not a word?
Whoa, there's a road?
Can't we all just get along? Seriously, I would like it if we could all just complain about our lot--tenured folks, untenured folks, adjuncts, administrators, doc students, etc.... We all have our shitty experiences linked to our positions...
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