Sometimes when I am out and about on campus, e.g., on the way to a meeting, I walk past this sculpture, "Crouching Figure," and feel a beat of empathic identification in the thought that Crouching Figure is on the way to a meeting, too.
I changed offices this week, moved from the smaller, windowless interior office that is standard issue for junior faculty in my department to the larger, windowed outer office pictured here. This is one among the incentives for taking on responsibilities as Director of the First-Year Writing Program--a role I formally stepped into earlier this month. The larger office is warranted because it is spacious enough for meetings with small groups of 3-4 people, or that's the main rationale for the up-sized office, I'm told.
There's quite a bit of new work that comes with being WPA, and I have been daily trying both to tick items off a long task-list I'm keeping in Astrid for now and to keep short-term priorities in clear view. In the mix: (anti)textbook decisions, curricular fine- and coarse-tuning, drilling down on outcomes that read to too many--me included--as over-general goals, getting publishers to say anything-more? about their pricing and margins, scrounging for budget, setting up online spaces (e.g., Wordpress and Mediawiki installs), scheduling for fall, prepping a summer materials PDF for new GA cohort, and on and on. I'm not sure how the size of this FYWP compares, but I'd guess it is larger than most with 140+ sections per year, more than 3000 students per year, and an instructional staff of more than 50.
Along with all of the challenges, the transition into this role is generative in that it is pushing me to re-think my research agenda, reconsider my teaching philosophy, formalize an administrative philosophy and plan (almost certainly rooted in chreods and chreodologies), and reflect on what worked well in my graduate education. I have every indication so far that EMU is a hospitable place for tending to the strength and solidity of the first-year experience and Gen. Ed. There are many smart, supportive people involved, which always helps.
I have half-kidded on Twitter that in addition to Writing Program Administrator, WPA means Writing Program Atavist and Writing Program Adhocrat: atavist for throwback tendencies (returning to my own TA training, unearthing relic teaching influences, leafing through the 1936 Sears catalogs as Jim Corder did, and finding it fixed, stale: "We mustn't try to live forever with only the knowledge we now have."), adhocrat for the gut-trusting making up of this thing as we go, leaning hard on practical wisdom and the proceed-as-way-opens Quaker maxim LWP has always been fond of. I've ordered a few other books about contemporary WPA thinking, but right now this is where I'm at.
Time once again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em - 10th annual. We're using Fibonacci scoring this year (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21). Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the savviest pickers of all time. There's little time for rocking back and forth in your chair out of trepidation and anxiety (well, okay, but make it quick). Sign up! Free, free, FREE to you: join this year's group on Yahoo!, Netanoia (ID#71855). If you have questions, elbow me gently in the sternum with an email at dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, arch-frienemies, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, colleagues, former classmates, bracketologists, bracket-oriented ontologists, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Pride-ish stakes: reputations are made (and decomposed) right here.
Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Netanoia (ID# 71855)
"Regret your picks all you want."
Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 17, and five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March 21.
05/25 01:00 PM/@derekmueller: derekmueller: @DSpanglishlover At my retirement folks might be whispering, "That damned blogging went on for a whole lot longer than it should've." Link via Twitter / derekmueller
05/23 09:15 AM/@derekmueller: Opening up our web analytics for dynamic, public display via Open.Michigan Blog
05/19 12:00 PM/@derekmueller: KBS 2014: Attitudes Toward Technology/Technology's Attitudes via KB Journal