Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just Busy, That's All

I still love you people, I swear.  I'm just busy.  Like, BUSY.

When I was planning out my classes for my Master's degree, and planning out my tenure notebook, I realized that with just a little tweaking, I could get them to coincide.  I could be finishing my Master's in Higher Education Administration at the same time I was being evaluated for tenure.  (1) That would look great to the folks evaluating me for tenure, I would think, and (2) in the event that I don't get tenure and instead get a terminal contract, it will look good on a resume for another job search.

The tweaking would consist of doubling up on courses for two semesters.  That shouldn't be a big deal.  Taking one course by itself was kindof a breeze.  There was alot to read, sure, so I read before bed at night.  A few comments on the discussion board, a paper here and there, it wasn't that big of a deal to work into my normal schedule.

That professor was teaching another class, so I decided to continue with her.  Also, my advisor was teaching a class - both online and on campus.  She tried to talk me into the on-campus section, but my mom already watches my kid one to two days a week as it is, so wanting her to babysit - and do bedtime stuff - an additional night a week would be alot to ask.  Especially since the same class by the same professor would also be offered online.

I registered for one class and waitlisted the other class.  Meanwhile, I found out my overload class didn't make, so I'm not teaching an extra class myself this semester.  I thought it would be the perfect semester to give the "doubling up" a try when I was moved from the waitlist into the second class.

Oh. My. Gawd.

The professor from last semester is still great.  The class is organized in much the same way.  There is alot of reading - the class is on resource management in higher ed, so that's expected - but it's not anything that's too unreasonable.

The advisor's class is the class from hell.  It's interesting - which is about it's only redeeming value.  Her discussion board assignments aren't just "discuss topic x".  They are things like this:

Eddy makes the point that institutional fit is the critical concern for those involved in a leadership search. That means not only understanding the instutional culture and mission, but finding out the multideminsional ways a new leader might approach institutional goals or challenges.

For this assignment, you're going to construct another table. It's purpose is to develop interview questions for a presidential search based on the literature (leadership research).

1. Find an ad for a president position at some college or university. Again, the Chronicle is your best source. As soon as you determine which position you're going to use, post it here -- a "got it" post. For example, "I'm using the search for a President at Moberly Area Community College in Moberly Missouri." There should be no overlap -- in other words, no two people should use the same presidential search.

Do a little leg work and find out the basics about the institution. Ipeds can't be beat as a source of basic information! You might look for their strategic plan online or cruise their web site.

2. Column one should list an aspect of effective leadership and be a reference to a source. For example, Birmbaum says that constituencies must support the president for a president to be effective. Specifically, he names trustees, faculty, and administrators. Each of these constituencies might represent a separate box in your table (e.g., "Birmbaum (1992) Trustee support as a measure of public interests or community support"). Don't just use Birmbaum! Be sure to think about what the other sources are saying about effective leadership.

3. Column two should bullet the specifics about the institution that are relevant to the aspect of effective leadership. For example, at community colleges trustees are often locally elected so a president with a history of forming relationship in local areas with local employers will be important. By contrast, trustees at regional colleges are often appointed by the governor, so a president with a history of forming relationships in government and philanthrophy will be important. Column two should list specifics from the institution and the institutional context!

4. Column three should name the question (not always in question format) you'll ask given the the first two columns. For example, "Describe your experience forming partnerships with regional employers around program planning" for a community college search with lots of vocational programs. You may ask more than one question in this box, but no more than three. If you need more than three, break it apart into different rows.
5. Column four should name expected answers given the other columns. What ideally would the candidate say in response to the question?

6. Conclude by making some general comments. What important points rise to the top for you when thinking about effective leadership?

That's what I worked on last week while grading 120 essay exam questions, preparing for my Division Chair interview, and discussing the high tuition/high aid model in the other class.  This week's assignment is:

This week we go to the heart of the difference between leadership in business or military and college or universities. Traditionally universities have been faculty lead and faculty governed. Faculty not only contribute to conversations around decision-making, they often cast the deciding vote. When a faculty takes a vote of "no confidence," boards often fire presidents. Faculty support is critical to leadership effectiveness.

Read the assigned chapter and articles then construct an argument using the Toulmin framework about faculty governance and the degree to which faculty should govern at a modern college or university. So, you'll need a claim, because clauses (based on the data -- assigned readings or other sources), a qualifier (the degree to which your claim is true) and a rebuttal -- name the counter arguments

I have to give 4 lab exams (and by give I mean: write, set up, monitor for cheating, take down, repeat three more times, grade them all) and get ready for my road trip with a toddler at the end of the week.  Meanwhile I'll have yet another assignment to work on immediately after getting home, and a paper, both of which are due three days after my vacation.  When the exams are supposed to be graded.

So basically the "doubling up" idea?  Was a bad one.

Which is why you haven't seen me around these parts lately.  It would just be me complaining about the havoc my hormones are wrecking on my body, so it's probably good that I've been quiet!

1 comment:

Esperanza said...

Oh MommieV, I'm SOOOO sorry. I took double classes both summers when I was working. The first summer I had my ectopic pregnancy and was an emotional and physical wreck. The second summer I'd just had my daughter, but still thought it was a good idea to take two classes (I figured better to do it then than when I was back at work). It was SOOOOO hard. I can't imagine doing it while working. Hang in there, you can get it done. Just take it one assignment at a time.