Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Committee assignment

I have received my first committee assignment. And it came the same week that I have two grants due and that my lasers finally arrived. I would much rather be playing with my lasers. I have been waiting 4 months for them. Next on my list would be writing the grants - money will buy more lasers.

I downloaded the committee assignment last night - after glancing at it, I really don't want to do it now. The committee I'm on is the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or some such lengthy title. Essentially, every time any department wants to change their curriculum, they have to ask us. That is the reality. The description of the committee was a little different. It said that we discussed how to change the undergrad curriculum to modernize it. As an undergrad and a grad student, I was involved in such discussions, and I really enjoyed seeing them implemented. So, I thought I would enjoy being part of a committee that was "progressive".

This committee - not progressive. It reads paperwork. The people who submit the paperwork - they are the progressive ones. The committee actually is anti-progressive.

So, as I said, my first assignment came last night. I have to read about 100 pages of proposed changes that another department wants to make to their curriculum. Not minor changes either - additions of about 5 classes, deletions of about 3 classes, addition of a minor and addition of an interdisciplinary minor. They grouped the whole thing together into a single submission, so I (and another committee member) have to evaluate it as a package. We can approve sections, but still, if they had submitted it in parts, then the work could be split up.

The entertaining part - until last night, I had never heard of this department or this major. I had to look up the discipline on the web to find out what the field was. I guess I have learned something already, though not exactly what I had intended to.

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