Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Academic update

So what has been going on in academic life since April? April is, as I have mentioned, a bit of a dead season, and it didn't get better when half of the students couldn't get back to Cambridge because of a dumb volcano in Iceland! I had to cancel a class, and it all felt weird.

Morag went on study leave, and we had a lengthy induction session on what I had to do and when and how, and which of the zillions of admin people were doing what. By now I have a significantly better knowledge of the Faculty. Morag was anxious about leaving it all to me. She thinks the world will stop if she isn't around. Well, it hasn't, although it has been close sometimes. Allocating thesis marking is like making a jigsaw puzzle of 20 thousand pieces with most of the picture either sea or sky.

There have been some heated meetings around the undergrad degree. Cambridge has UK's best undergrad degree in Education, therefore someone up there decided it should be discontinued. I thought for a long time that it was a joke until it became serious. The trouble is that the rules change every day. Hours would be spent in meetings, good (and occasionally bad) decisions made, and two days later it would all become irrelevant because someone up there had decided differently. It's very frustrating. After months of discussions we still don't know.

There have also been some deliberations because we are going to have a new Head of Faculty. I will miss Mike, he has been so supportive in every possible way. You know what you have, but not what you are getting. I was asked whether I was going to apply. I said I was just about getting set with my chair job. To myself, I said I'd probably not have applied for my present job if I knew how much admin it implied. On the other hand, I definitely have learned to enjoy the admin. It's just as much fun as you make it. Well, most of the time. I managed a crisis meeting of the Undergrad Committee quite elegantly.

I hosted the end-of-year party for our masters students. I think everybody enjoyed it.

I survived another round of essay and exam marking. The supervisions are almost finished. It's almost vacation... um, research period. My second year in Cambridge is over.

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