It’s been a while…

1 01 2012

This blogging thing did not work out like I had hoped last year. I kept getting discouraged because I felt like no one was reading it (even though I kept telling myself that this is more for me and if people read it that is just an added bonus). I then realized that more than likely no one was reading it because I posted so in frequently.

So, I have decided to start 2012 off on the right foot with this blog…a new post on the 1st day of the new year! I regularly check my blogroll (although it needs updated) and I decided to start posting again after reading Dr. 27’s recent posts about resolutions. While I am not big on making personal resolutions, I do like to make science/career resolutions. Unfortunately, I don’t have time right now to make a list, but you can expect a post either later tonight or tomorrow with my resolutions for the year! Thanks for the idea, Dr. 27!


One more year

2 05 2011

My new contract arrived in my campus mailbox today! It is so exciting being able to sign it, turn it in, and know that I have a job for another year. It was only a one year contract, and as I found out today that is to be expected because we are a new college (within the university) and haven’t become fully accredited yet (not until June 2012). After we become accredited, we will then be eligible for longer contract terms. There was positive news in my contract…I received a 3.5% raise (or cost-of-living increase, however you want to look at it)!

Does anyone else have exciting stories to tell about their new contract?

Job Security

15 04 2011

The one year anniversary of my employment at my current position is just on the horizon (July 1). I am anxious to see what my new contract will look like. Will it be a one year or two year contract? Will there be a cost of living increase? These are just a couple of the questions to which I am excited to find the answer. We have a departmental faculty meeting today, so I may just ask when the new contracts will be coming out.
Would that be too forward to ask? I see no reason why I should get a new contract. No one has seem displeased with me so far. The students seem to really like me. They have spent a lot of money on starting up my lab.
Does anyone else get nervous when it is time for new contracts to come out?

Helping Students

14 04 2011

I love helping my students. However, I can’t for the life of me understand why so many students wait until the night before/day of an exam to START studying and come ask me questions. I received and e-mail last night at 10:30 asking for clarification on one of my slides…I ignored it and slept like a baby. It is so nice being on the other side!
My office has already been bombarded by a handful of students this morning, and I am sure it will pick up as the exam draws near. Luckily, one of their former professors, who moved elsewhere at the semester break, came back to give a few guest lectures for this exam. So the students are stressed out about her part more than mine (even though my material makes up about 45% of the exam with the rest being shared between 3 faculty members).
The students can smell the end of the semester and they are starting to get antsy…especially the 3rd year students, as this is their last semester of academic coursework. I am starting to get antsy as well because I only have 3 more lectures!!

Faculty Loads

23 03 2011

So today, I filled out my faculty load sheet for this academic year. My chair said that ideally he wants my load to be about 35-40% teaching, 10% service, and 50-55% research/scholarship. With this being my first year teaching, this was mainly a formality to see where I stand and what I have to look forward to in the future. It was all on an excel spreadsheet, so I just had to plug in my numbers and it calculated the percentages for me based on the total number of hours in the school year. It appears as though I only taught/prepared for teaching 21% of the time!
Now, those of us who knows what it takes to prepare for a lecture…that number is ridiculously LOW! Even my chair said that in actuality it is probably somewhere around 45-50%, especially since these were all new preps. Regardless, he said these numbers don’t really mean anything to him or our dean, they are just something at which the people on the university level can look, and to see where we need to adjust our faculty loads for next semester to bring our numbers in-line with our goal.
During my little talk this morning we also talked about my course load for the Fall and how we can boost my teaching hours. It looks like I will having a few more lectures as well as Co-Coordinating one of the courses in which I will be teaching (co-coordinating gets you an extra boost in the way that the hours are counted). Needless to say, it looks like next year is going to get a little more intense, but I am ready. What type of faculty load to you all carry?
We also talked about my professional development (i.e. going to meetings for FREE)! This is a HUGE perk of my job, and I love it! The college will generally send us to one professional meeting a year, and maybe one or two more depending on whether or not you are presenting anything at that meeting. So far we have several meetings lined up for me to go over the next several years; ACS, ICAAC, AAPS, and PITTCON.
Needless to say, things are starting to get exciting around here!

Stay tuned for more big news coming soon…

Spring Break and Pi

14 03 2011

Ahhh, Spring Break is finally here! Oh wait, I don’t really get a spring break. It is nice to not have the students around the building, but most (those that didn’t take vacation) of the faculty are still around hanging out in our offices doing some “work.” It will be a most enjoyable week.

I was making my daily rounds to various blogs, and came across the post from Gerty-Z that got me to thinking about my experiences during my interviews. I posted this in the comments:

I am a male, and was on the academic job market last year. I had two on-site interviews, and during both I was asked about my family situation. It didn’t bother me to answer because my wife is not a scientist and would have no problem finding a job in any city in her line of work. At the job I ending up taking (at a private institution), they actually invited my family to come to the interview with me. It was within driving distance, so it wouldn’t really cost them anything extra. They did this because family is very important to our university and college. They wanted to make sure my spouse found the city and amenities to her liking as well.

We actually just had another candidate come up and interview for a position last week. She has a family, and her husband actually came up here with her to the interview. He is a non-scientist as well, so he was mainly coming to check out the area and see what job opportunities he would have.

That being said, I came into the interview expecting to be asked this question, because every blog I read said they would ask (legal or not). I’ve always wondered how they get away with this when it is clearly illegal. Now, if someone puts the information out there for the world to see in there cover letter, that is their problem.

So, what are your thoughts on this issue?

Happy Pi Day everyone!!

A Great Experience

4 03 2011

My seminar at my undergraduate alma mater yesterday when great! It was so nice being able to share my experience in graduate school and how I became interested in teaching with a group of undergrads and my old professors. Now that I am thinking about it, this was the first time I have ever really shared about my experience in graduate school in its entirety, and it was amazingly therapeutic.
You see, for the most part graduate school was a rather nice experience, but there were times when I just wanted to give up and call it quits. My work sometimes seemed so repetitive and then of course there were the times when nothing would work for months on end. I guess I never really vented those thoughts and frustrations openly in the past.
I told the group from the get-go that I was going to open and honest with them, and I was. I think they really responded and appreciated that aspect of my talk. I feel as though my old professors did as well. They thanked me afterwards because they said the students need to know exactly what they are getting in to with graduate school as many of them (including myself) did not.
I am glad that it went well, but now it is over and I must prep for my next lecture…have fun everyone!