Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A victim of his own competence

Life is most definitely not fair

I write this in praise of my curriculum chair, who, as far as I am concerned, is in the running for the greatest boss ever. He is concerned about the instructors, and he is also concerned about the students that we serve. For several years, he has directed the developmental English curriculum at this community college, and under his leadership, we have developed, and are continuing to develop, a unified curriculum plan that will help students to advance from one level to another in a way that the students’ learning is meaningful to the students’ goals – whether that goal is an associate degree in culinary arts, or a transfer to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree and possibly something beyond.

John (sorry, I couldn’t come up with a blog nickname) has been an awesome supervisor. He has been the sort of boss that, I am told, most employees dream of. He allows us underlings to come up with ideas, and when we have something good, he gives us credit. Several times, his term as curriculum chair has come to an end (according to policy, we should have a new chair every two years), but we keep re-electing him.

The problem has been compounded because John is hugely computer-savvy. In addition to being the English curriculum chair for the department, he has been put in charge of the department Web site. And he’s been doing a good job at that as well.

Unfortunately, all of these demands on his time have meant that he hasn’t been able to do all that he should do. This term, as of late Tuesday, he hasn’t posted the beginning-of-term memo that should have been posted Monday (if not before).

I’m part-time faculty (also known as “adjunct”), so I’m not in danger. If I were full-time faculty and pointing out that John is overburdened, I might be in danger of being recruited to take over some of his duties.

But then, since Pat’s work has been cut, I have been considering applying for a full-time position. There would be trade-offs. Friday faculty meetings that are optional for part-time faculty are mandatory for full-time faculty. If there’s a faculty meeting on the weekend before a race, we can’t get there early.

If I became full-time faculty and then relieved John of some of his computer duties, that would be good for John. But I also don’t want to let go of the freedoms I have as a part-time instructor. But as hard as John has worked, he deserves a break. And really, Pat and I do need the money that we can get if I go full-time.

So maybe I give up my freedom on Fridays, and I make myself vulnerable to becoming either curriculum chair or departmental Website manager. And I commit myself to attending meetings on Fridays.

Still, if only there were two of John, that would be the best way for the department to proceed.

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