Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New school year, new faculty member

Wow. I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. Needless to say it has been busy around here.

Classes begin today at Texas State University. There are several new faculty members this year, including myself. The past two weeks have been spent learning a new course management system, various training and orientation sessions and other meetings. We had a faculty party last Thursday. Yesterday was the convocation/campus-wide faculty meeting with the president of the university. From there, we headed to a college faculty meeting with the dean. After that, it was the faculty meeting for the school of journalism and our new director. Then a meeting for us newbies with our departmental admin and academic advisor, going over important procedures.

In between all this stuff, I've had to take care of stuff, like getting a parking sticker and faculty ID card. Then there is all the piddling little things, like prepping for classes, planning out the semester, and developing syllabi. I am teaching three courses (four classes total) this semester. Even with the Intro class I've been teaching for a year, we've switched texts, so I have a total of three preps. Luckily my first classes aren't until tomorrow, as I don't have my first day lectures/materials ready yet.

Through it all, there is weird feeling of transition. I am back on campus, but this time as a teacher, not a student or as a student who is teaching. I get all the perks of faculty that I didn't get as a teacher when I was still a student. One of these is my office. I know it's small and windowless. Others have complained, but I am just thrilled to have my own office, one I don't have to share with five other people, one where I can hang my own photos on the walls.

Then there is the parking situation. As a student, I had to park way off campus and take a bus in. This added 20 minutes to my commute. Even when I was teaching, I was still a student. I would walk out of the classroom, cross the street, and wait for the bus with my students. They always thought it was weird. I didn't like it much either. This year, I have coveted faculty/red parking, complete with an access card so I can get through the gates and park next to our building. Evidently the faculty that complains about parking have not been a student on the campus. Of course, having 8 a.m. classes not only saves me from the traffic, it gives me the primo parking spaces.

The strangest part of the transition is what to call other faculty members. For two years they were my teachers and I called them Dr. Weill, Dr. Peirce, Dr. Niekamp, Dr. Rao, and so on. Now they are my colleagues and as such, the protocol is Sue, Kate, Ray and Sandy. It feels a bit funny and isn't easy to transition. Maybe I'll just call them "hey you" for awhile. :-)

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