Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scheduling a Life...

What a pipe deam THAT is. It is crazy how busy I am right now. I was so sure my life would settle down a bit once I earned tenure...and I started this dumb blog as a way to remind myself to 1) have a life and 2) keep track of the stuff I'd need to put in my dossier for the next level of review. Sick, as I was, of producing that time-consuming annual index of my academic life--I wanted a more causal format for tracking stuff I thought I might forget. (I'm finally at the point where I realize I need to fold, and actually begin a formal running index, after all.) Meanwhile, here's a bit of what my so-called life looks like right now:
  • Museum: yesterday we held the closing reception for the museum exhibit. It was preceded by a panel discussion about careers in a particular specialization within anthropology and I thought it went really, really well. So I'm pleased about that, and the museum is swimming in snacks that interns and students can nibble over the next week.
  • Search Committee (department): yesterday we also said goodbye to our first job candidate. This individual's flight arrived on Wednesday evening after an unfortunate fog-induced delay. Great personality...that's one thing I think the committee did well--look for decent human beings to join our department, regardless of the other things they might/might not bring to the table re: their research and teaching--because, let us not forget--ph.ds who are qualified--but also arrogant, selfish, pouty, or overcome by a sense of entitlement--are a dime a dozen. Who wants to hire (and work with) someone like that? There is lots of dues paying involved in getting and keeping most jobs. We need someone with a good sense of humor. All our candidates seem to have that in spades. I've given myself the assignment of picking them up at the airport, and another colleague is doing all the airport drop-offs. In between that time, others are doing a good job of pitching in to get the candidates toured around. So far, the search is progressing smoothly. Two more candidates next week, then a final meeting the Monday after. This has been my first experience chairing a search that has progressed this far (of course, I chaired this search last year when it was cut and *thought* I knew how much work this was, but I was absolutely clueless how much time it takes to get all these people scheduled and on the calendars of equally busy chairs, deans, etc., etc.). I'm happy to have done it because I didn't want to trust this search process to someone who didn't feel really, really, really dedicated to filling the position, and I also wanted to have the experience under my belt. Don't think I'll be doing it again for a long time. First: chances are really slim that we'll get any more tenure lines for a while. Second: if we do, I won't be champing at the bit to relieve someone else of this particular task.
  • Search Committee (interdisciplinary program): these interviews and talks are done. This search was great to serve on, in part because I got to know my fellow search comm. members really well, but also because the talks and interviews gave me a new idea for my own research (which is so on the back, back, burner this month, although I did manage to turn in a quick and dirty grant proposal for some summer funding).
  • Search Committee (assoc. dean): these interviews start next week. We have 4 people on the short list (all internal candidates, all with very different personalities and quals). The chair of this committee managed to fit all the interviews in Friday to Friday, with deliberations and recommendation to the dean immediately following(hallelujah)!!. 3 cheers to her.
  • Commencement: Immediately after this set of deliberations, I am off to commencement where I'll be marshaling again. I actually LOVE this job (much to my surprise). I think it's the ritual and the wearing of the regalia (I'm wearing my late FIL's colors this year, in his honor, and so is TH--his college's commencement is the next day) and the pleasure of seeing the MA and undergrad students and their families.
  • Teaching: Well, my grad seminar was all women and it was fantabulous to have that particular demographic. There was no terrain into which we could not easily venture. The seminar wasn't particularly feminist in orientation, far from it, but no one felt compelled to worry about offending anyone else with their commentary, gendered or not. One more seminar night where they present some research ideas that emerged from the class. I had them do their evaluations last week so that THIS week we can have a party. (I'm probably the only person in my dept. who pays attention to that particular proscription.) Re: my other other class--we are a bit behind. That's my fault and due in large part to having to go out of town when my FIL passed away. I solved the problem by shaving off a unit (I hate to do this kind of thing, but I feel like I'd be screwing the students by shoving an entire chapter down their throats in a single day). Two more lecture days (one of which is mostly review) and then the final. I've smartened up over the many years I've been teaching this course and tried to grade 50 or so essays (just a portion of the exam, but still lots of work) in the brief amount of time before grades are due. I now give them two assignments during the last weeks of class that are related to kinship and this allows them to earn the same number of "essay" points. I then add this as "extra credit" to the exam. This alleviates the burden of reading undergrad essays while trying to enjoy the holidays. I don't mind reading grad papers because there are never more than 15 of those coming my way.
  • Retirement Party: along with two colleagues, I'm on the retirement party commitee for a colleague. So far, I'm amazed I've managed to get the room scheduled, the catering menu ordered, the invitation designed (I solicited photos from the retiree, told our office manager what I hoped it would like, then paid him--he is also a graphic designer--to design the thing. He did a great job), and then--inbetween our first candidate's job talk and interview--I emailed it to the campus print shop and voila! Friday I mailed hardcopies to all the emeriti folks in our department and to colleagues of his in other departments. It will be fun (not to mention *easy*) to just show up and enjoy the food and drink (versus having to host this in my or another colleague's home). He wanted his party on campus, or we'd likely have done it the other way around, but I am SO okay with forking up dough versus time right now. Plus MP2 arrives at the airport right at the close of this party, so I'm "free" of clean up duty this way.
  • Holiday Party: Since I have no big chunks of time right now, I've been prepping for our annual holiday party a bit at a time. Last weekend the Christmas tree went up and I strung the lights. This weekend, I'll hang ornaments and decorate the mains rooms of the house, pull out the serving dishes and linens, etc. Next weekend I'll clean and shove all the debris of our real life into MP1's room (i.e. the storage room), and start buying food and hors d'hoevres and coffee and dessert, etc., etc. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
  • And now I need to quit blogging and get together a few things for the reception that follow's MP1's graduate recital, which is today at 5. She's so happy to be getting this over with. We're all way too busy and stressed. Time to move to the ends of the earth where people don't have to schedule a life...(or don't accidently leave their Prius running in the parking lot [thank god it ran on the battery] for 3 hours because they were in such a rush to get from one obligation to another that they didn't actually TURN THE CAR OFF! That's another 'thing' about the quietness of the Prius and the on/off button versus traditional, keyed ignition. If you accidentally hit it twice, why you've turned it back on! I've never done this in all the months I've owned it, so it's about my stress, not some flaw of the car).
  • ETA: Can't forget the tenure file that must be read by Monday morning just before I pick up Candidate # 2, so I can get back to campus for that tenure & promotion meeting. The fun never ends!
Next semester ought to be easier, more civilized, something????

1 comment:

the cheerful pessimist said...

We just got the invite for Jay's thing - it looks great! Applause all around. I might stop by for a bit, but I have to take the H to SF to see her uncle and aunt and grandfather. The B will stick around...