Monday, March 20, 2006

2-Year Teaching Schedule - Woohoo!

I just got a note from the Scheduling Gods and I am SOOOOO excited about my teaching schedule for the next two years for my upper division courses.

1. I'm teaching a course in the area of my dissertation Fall 2006.
2. I'll be teaching a course that I just proposed and that just got passed as a general education course that counts for the diversity requirement that is about queer theory and literature. (Of course, I've not really designed the syllabus for this yet, so this will take a lot of work.)
3. I have been given the feminist theory course! That another of my colleagues has taught since I've been here! She had asked in passing if I'd be interested in teaching it, and I said sure, but I didn't realize she meant that it would really happen! I am so excited! Yay! Yay me! (Of course, this means designing a new course.)
4. Another course in postmodern and contemporary fiction.

Dr. Crazy thanks the Scheduling Gods for their consideration of her intellectual needs, and she is very excited to discuss how these courses develop on the blog in the coming months and years.

Edited to add:
A lot of people expressed surprise that we plan so far ahead in my department. I was going to explain all of this in comments, but then I thought that I didn't want to have that long of a comment and for this stuff to be buried in comments. So here's the deal with this 2-year schedule thing:

Part of the reason for this is because we're trying to make sure that the schedule is balanced in such a way that we don't have the problem of courses not making their enrollments. The idea is to have a plan that actually takes into account the courses that people want to teach and to try to make sure that they get to teach them.

But really, I think the point is that even though I've got a 4-4 load, I'm in a really humane department.

1. I teach the same writing courses every fall and spring, 2 sections of the same course, and I can pick and choose when I teach them. Thus, even though it is a chore for me to teach writing, it is made less painful because I'm accommodated by my department in these logistical ways. The same has tended to be true for my literature classes as well.

2. Every fall I teach the survey and every spring I teach intro to lit. I pretty much no longer have to do prep for these courses (unless I tweak or change them, as I do sometimes, but just on a day here or there), and this means that they're just totally a pleasure to teach. The only work really is in grading because I've got my schtick for the classroom down. I can't tell you how great that is, in part because it means that I can experiment in class a bit more and listen to the students more.

3. The upper-division courses are regarded by those who schedule as our reward for those other three "service" classes each semester and so every effort is made to make sure we get to teach them. And they really are a reward - I've never had to teach an upper division class that wasn't of my own invention and that wasn't directly related to my scholarly interests.

Finally, my class sizes are small (partly because the classrooms won't fit more people because they didn't plan for the school to have very many students, so if you're on a campus visit to a school like this, look for very small classrooms because it will mean that you will have a smaller # of students). Writing classes are now capped at 22. Generally I have between 25 and 30 in my service lit classes. And generally my upper division courses end up between 15 and 20. In other words, I teach fewer students than some of my friends working at liberal arts colleges (who also don't have TAs) and with only a 3-3 load.

If you're thinking about teaching at a regional comprehensive university, the gig I have is really a plum gig. Yes, it's still a 4-4 load. Yes, there are challenges to teaching the kind of students that this kind of university attracts. But really: it's not all that bad. And yes, I know what I will be teaching for the next two years. Oh, and I think part of the reason they make these sorts of plans is because they want to trap people here and because generally people never leave the department once hired, so it's not like making long-term plans is a waste of time/energy :)


AAYOR said...

I am AMAZED that you know this stuff 2 years out. We arent finished with the FALL 2006 schedule and students start registering, like, tomorrow. Hope this makes work life much more rewarding, Crazy. Now if you could just get a guarantee of the time slots that you want....

Margo, darling said...

What a great load! I don't think I'll ever get to teach anything even remotely close to my disseration, and literature courses seem to be a thing of the past for me now, alas.

But Dr. C, I sure do teach a lot of queer theory, so when it's time to work on syllabi, I'm happy to help. If you're interested drop me an e-mail (I think I still have the e-mail function enabled on my blog) and I'll send you what I've got, as well as tips on what totally works and what does not. It's a fun class, but a total mind-blower for both you and the students.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Wow. I couldn't imagine knowing so far in advance.

helenesch said...

I thought we were ahead of the game having to put our course requests in during the fall for the following academic year. But 2 years in advance?!? Sounds like you got some great classes, though...

Dena Marie said...

Yeah... I'm with everyone else so far... I only know ONE of my courses for the fall, and that's only because I'm teaching a special course that I had to get dibs on computer lab space to teach. Otherwise, I wouldn't know ANY of my fall schedule for a while yet.

Your courses do sound awesome though. You go, dynamo! And congrats on continued success with the Chemist. Despite recent (and comical) dud-dates, I too may have found a good one recently... a cop. (Wait a minute... is that a good or bad thing? Not sure.)

--Dena Marie

Konibono said...

Sounds like a great schedule. Get ready for some work, though, huh?

Dr. Crazy said...

That's awesome that you've perhaps found a non-dud Dena! You'll have to keep me (us) posted!

Re: the 2-year schedule, I've posted an addendum to the post to explain it a bit further. After typing up part of it here, it felt long for a comment, and also I didn't want it to be buried in comments.

Bardiac said...

My sense teaching at one is that the other faculty at regional comprehensives know we're all working hard and try to be decent to each other.

Planning two years ahead is GREAT! My department does that vaguely for some things (graduate classes and senior seminars), and about a year ahead for everything else.

We also have a scheduling committee that handles things, and boy does that committee do handstands to try to accomodate people!

gingajoy said...

ooooh. lucky lucky lucky! those courses sound fantastic. one day maybe i'll get to teach something related to my research interests;-)

Shaun Huston said...

The Division asks for schedules a year in advance (more or less), but within the department we have a standard rotation that we follow pretty closely. There are some basic courses that have to be distributed amongst the members of the department, but we pretty well work that out collectively. Once those basics are set, we each have almost total freedom over our individual schedules. I can't imagine turning these choices over to a committee or some "third party." Right now the Dean is asserting authority over class schedules, canceling courses and, in some cases, reassigning faculty. This isn't normal, but is related to budgets and posturing during contract negotiations. Still, it has been unnerving to have someone other than the department and individual faculty exercise control over schedules.