Category Archives: College

Registering Students/Preparing Syllabi

Today I have been registering students. I still can’t understand why they haven’t created a system that will allow them to register online or at least over the phone. I only had to register a few but each one took 30 to 45 minutes because most of the classes are filled at this point.

I also prepared syllabi for tomorrow. No need to create it way in advance this time. I just changed the dates and added some new rules. Since many of the students at this university have behavioral issues, I have put in a few extra statements so I, nor my good students, have to deal with their nonsense. One of the rules is if I have to ask them to leave my classroom (kick out) twice for inappropriate behavior then I will withdraw them from the course. If I have to stop the class to address inappropriate behavior three times, then they will be withdrawn from the course.

I didn’t know about this rule until after the semester started last time so I didn’t have it in my syllabus. I know about it this semester and even cleared it with the chair. The chair told me to make sure I spelled out what I meant by disruptive behavior, etc…

No problem.

In retrospect, I only had one class that really got on my nerves and it had about four ring leaders (which is a lot for a class) and four flunkies who were minupulated by them. They drove me ‘nuts’ and I do not want to spend my nights complaining about them to my wife….hence the new rules. That class affected my entire attitude about this position. When it was coupled with the low expectations, performance and the apathetic attitudes of the other classes it became to much too handle. 

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Rarin’ to Go/Preparing for the Future

I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday break. My wife and I visited both of our families in Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. This is a first time in a long time that both of us have been in a professional career at the same time, so we really enjoyed traveling this year and not worrying about the cost.

I finished my Masters degree shortly after my wife graduated with her B.S. and then I worked a year before going for my Ph.D. She sacrificed a lot to stay in that city, with very little opportunity for her line of work, while I worked on my Ph.D. Near the end of my program she lost her position and was drastically underemployed for almost a year until we moved to our current location.

Over the break, I had plenty of time to gather perspective on my entire semester here at the college and I am ready to go. I realized that even though I am underpaid (not for the type of college, but for the degree and salaries at state or private universities) I am still working in the profession that I want to be in. I have addressed the issue of pay by continuing to apply to universities that will allow me to obtain the salary I want. My wife, who worked for five or six years as an accountant before becoming a teacher this year, is now studying for her CPA exam and will re-enter the field once the school year is over. By doing this we will both drastically increase our wages as well as find employment more suitable to our tastes.

I have never stopped looking for different universities and over the holidays numerous positions opened up. I applied to about 4 universities and have about 4 more applications that I am sending out this week. Luckily, I have the qualifications that most of them are requesting so I am very optimistic.

Both of us realized that the move here was a positive step us, even if it was far from our ideal. Now we are strong enough to make decisions based on what’s best for us and not ones based on survival. This semester and next few months will be used to prepare us to move forward…..

(A little heavy, but I had to get it off my chest….)

Sometimes I Forget I have a Ph.D.

You know I often forget that I have a Ph.D. and sometimes I don’t even pay attention to the fact that I am an assistant professor. Even though my students address me as doctor (occassionally) and professor (some prefer Mr. as if they are still in high school), I am sometimes ambivalent to my accomplishments.

However,  in class today I had a group giving their last presentation on the Uses and Gratifications Approach, which is often used in Mass Communication as a tool to understand how people use mass media. While they were presenting I had an epiphany. I remembered that as a doctoral student I had taken a class or seminar that dealt with the Uses and Gratifications Approach for an entire semester.

With only five of us as students and one professor, who was a pioneer in the field, we dissected, discussed and ballyhooed the Uses and Gratifications Approach twice a week, one and a half hour sessions or longer, for four mounths….

As my students discussed the theory (or approach) and as I realized that I was already intimately familiar with the information or it ‘rang a bell,” I realized, damn, I deserve my title of Assistant Professor. I have put in the time and in fact spent almost 5 years in a Mass Communication Ph.D. program learning how to be a researcher, writer and professor. While I was listening to their presentations I couldn’t help but think of all the research I conducted as a grad student, books and academic articles I’ve read, etc. I even taught at least 25 courses during my time as a doctoral student and candidate.

I often forget in my day to day activities, but I have to start remembering why I went after a Ph.D. and I need to make sure I keep putting it to use. For me that means research….

“Ya’ll are BullSh$tting, Let Me In!”

In class today I had a group of students giving their last round of presentations. When students are giving presentations I have a rule that if you come late, you cannot enter class until you hear the applause. So about 20 minutes into the presentation I hear a loud, “Ya’ll are BullSh$tting, Let me In!”

It was so loud I thought the person who said it was in the room. The group presenting stopped and looked around.

I asked the class, “Who said that?”

Everyone shook their heads.  I told the girl nearest the door to open it up. When she opened the door she asked the two standing outside (a male and female), “He wants to know who said that?” The guy, who obviously said it muttered, “I didn’t say anything.” I just told him, “—–, See me after class.” When I left the class (we also had professor evaluations today/more on that later) I said, “Come, walk with me.”

As we walked down the hall, I said, “I know what you said. It was so loud that I thought it was inside the room.” He immediately became apologetic and stated that he didn’t think that we could hear it and that he said it for the benefit of the girl that was standing out there with him. I said okay, but let him know he wouldn’t be allowed to return to class today and that he could return next week only if he apologizes to the class first. He apologized to me again and said he would apologize to the class on Monday…..

I am torn on whether or not I should have interrupted the presentation, but at the same time he went too far…

Also: As I was walking down the hall later a student stopped me and said, “Yeah, that was really loud.”

The Final Exam Train is Coming Early

I am arranging for three of my classes to take their final exam during their last class period. I am giving the other three classes a take home exam that they can turn in on their last day of class. I am streamlining the courses so I can be done about a week and a half early. Some of my classes have their final exam date scheduled on the last possible day. So to avoid having to grade until the last minute I am having them do it early.

I am trying to save myself from burnout….

Ahh!!! Sweet Relaxation..

The semester is almost over and all the heavy lifting is done. Last Thursday I was irritated that I didn’t have my normal day of reflection and goal setting on my birthday. Then early registration duties chained me to the school Friday, Monday and Tuesday even though students started to leave the college for their hometowns early last week. I only had one person come in for early registration and that was on Friday.

I still don’t understand why we are personally registering the students and why there is no online or at least telephone registration for the college.

But now I’m off until next Monday and I’m enjoying not having to deal with anything…. 

Slowly making progress: Academics

Recently I have been emphasizing my wish to increase my research output. Well, just as when I served in the army, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait. My main focus has been to make sure I do a little bit each day (except Sundays). So far I have all of my contract paperwork, etc., signed for the publishing of my book (academic research = probably no profit) and have sent off my second draft.  I am also working with a partner to shape up some of my writings on the graduate experience and pedagogical skills.

I have three research projects, two for my academic field and one totally non-academic that I am working on. I just keep hoping that if I continue to work on them each day, eventually I will finish. I have also revamped my routine for staying abreast in my field so I can continue to grow in the knowledge of my subject area. Let’s just say that I have to stay  marketable. I had a minor epiphany the other day and I realized that the more knowledge I consume the better I am able to churn out research and writings… So I am staying busy.