h1

Undergraduate Research

September 26, 2009

The director of Undergraduate Research [I’m surprised this position isn’t another non-academic Dean] does not have an advanced degree. Instead, the director has a spouse who is a VP.

h1

D’oh Tenure

September 24, 2009

Other tenure-track professors and some tenured professors told me what I was saying about the new handbook, the one that was effective before it was completed, while faculty and the administration wrangled over words and details, was false but out of them, I was the only one who had read it. Tenure changes:

  • a might-happen raise of 4% of your salary at the time of tenure/promotion: for me, that would’ve equaled an extra $1600/year [in the old handbook, the raise was far more]
  • a “financial exigency” could lead to instructors at any rank, in any department being let go
  • one paid sabbatical year; subsequent sabbaticals, which must be at least 6 years from the last one, are unpaid though your benefits are maintained but if you do not work a full year after the sabbatical, you owe D’oh for the premiums it paid on your behalf. And that reimbursement must be “immediate.”
h1

Discovery

June 15, 2009

At a professional development conference this week, I have discovered that the kind of department testing I advocated and said there was no reason students shouldn’t be able to do is regularly given to high school students. Why don’t we do something similar? Because “most” of the students wouldn’t pass. And Dr. DSN didn’t want to be bothered with the flak it would allegedly cause. Instead of seeing that as a sign of problems in our courses or in the student population, it was seen as almost ridiculous to expect college students to think on their feet—or their ass, as in this case. So what was the fear? That we wouldn’t as a department be able to defend our choice to actually challenge students and make them learn skills that are taken for granted for any college graduate? It’s offensive to find that [some] high school courses are more rigorous than our department’s exit exam.

h1

Last Meeting

May 6, 2009

Dr. NMT hijacked the end of our last department meeting of the year, cutting off and drowning out the old chair, one new co-chair, and a few others. He ranted, raved, rampaged, yelled. I don’t know how it or he ended—I left to check my email and came back only when everyone else, looking a little dazed, was leaving the conference room. Dr. NMT gave me an odd look, part satisfied so-there smirk, part slit-eyed I’ll-get-you-later.

The new co-chairs were appalled. No one got much done after that. Within an hour, almost the whole department left for the day.

h1

Contracts

May 4, 2009

Tenured faculty got one kind of contract letter, non-tenured faculty another. Tenured faculty still have jobs for the next academic year but may get an unspecified pay cut at some point next year. Non-tenured faculty contracts say that no jobs are guaranteed—even if you sign your contract, you may have no job in August; you may start the fall semester and be released; you may have no job in spring semester; you may start spring semester and not finish. Salary cuts are not just possible but looking probable for all faculty.

According to a local lawyer, all the contracts are legal. AAUP verbally reports that the contracts meet their most basic guidelines. We are waiting for their written report-analysis.

h1

The Wrong House

April 26, 2009

President Wrong’s house, bought by D’oh with some level of input from her, the owner “donating” half of the purchase priceĀ  and valued at about $1 million.

5630 Bancroft

5630 Bancroft

According to he board, the purchase of this house is not up for discussion. According to Pres. Wrong, she had input but the board made the final decision, thought it was a good “investment.”

It’s big. The back yard is lovely. I especially like the chairs set closer to the bayou—perfect for late drinks.

5630 Bancroft: view from Bayou St. John

5630 Bancroft: view from Bayou St. John

h1

Blood Drawn

April 22, 2009

A program in my division was cut today. Two professors, both of whom I like, were told today that they will not be getting contracts and their program, which both worked hard to create and promote, will be eliminated. It’s my job to cut all mentions of the program from the draft of next year’s catalogue.

Ouch.