25.7.05

A GRIPE I CAN EMPATHIZE WITH. The anonymous northeastern community college dean deals with some faculty pooh-bahs as the enrollment counts come in and some courses don't make.
Inevitably, that entails changing some faculty teaching schedules. Oh, the hue and cry! How could you possibly have me come in on Tuesdays? I never come in on Tuesdays! (Unspoken, but desired, answer: yeah, full-time jobs are like that.) You’re taking my course away from me! (what do you mean, your course?) Given how many of our classes are staffed by adjuncts, sometimes we have to base decisions on when the better adjuncts are likely to be available (and their schedules can get pretty idiosyncratic). That creates the odd dynamic of moving a full professor’s schedule around to make room for an adjunct. I can justify it on the grounds that it’s best for the students (and, for what we pay the adjuncts, we’re lucky if they show up at all), but the tenured types have long memories. I get accused of autocratic tendencies, since I didn’t run the decision by a committee first.
Setting up committees for special projects brings its own set of joys as well. Consider your rural normal school that has morphed into an exurban mid-major with lots of dual-career couples and one career in the metropolitan area. (I put in the special projects stipulation for a reason: the "Committees of the University" listing is thicker than the Amtrak timetable as well as more likely to be observed. People can use the schedule to mark up or mark off on those committees.) To be sure, one of the reasons universities don't pay as much as LaSalle Street is that a faculty member does not have to get on the 7 am semi-fast Monday through Friday; all the same, when a commuting colleague gives "doesn't want to drive here" as primary reason for preferring one day rather than another ... The 15 minute bicycle riders maintain home offices for a reason; longer commutes -- or daycare schedules -- ought not be trump cards for scheduling meetings.

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