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Another (not-quite) triennial salary review (#1168)

Topics/tags: Salary reviews, long, things I had to write

It’s time, once again, for my triennial salary review [1]. Michelle asks me why I bother spending more than minimal effort filling out the forms and writing the essays. The last few years suggest that she is right. After the necessary zero percent raise in 2020, I got a raise that was both below the Cost-of-Living Adjustment and below the average Grinnell raise in 2021, in spite of having a merit score of 4.5 out of 5 and in spite of the College’s endowment growing substantially. Of course, almost everyone at Grinnell got a below-COLA increase, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain [2].

Arguably, filling out the form and writing the essays is an opportunity to reflect on the past few years and to look ahead. But these were not a great few years; I’m not sure that I want to look back. And the thing I’m most looking forward to is senior faculty status.

Still, I want to make sure that my CV is up to date, and I’d prefer not to be penalized for failing to do this required task. So here goes.

I suppose I should warn you that this exercise is likely to frustrate me. You knew that, didn’t you? Oh well. I’ll see you again after the essays and their commentaries.

Surprisingly, we are not asked to provide an opening context statement. Perhaps it’s not surprising. Perhaps it’s a reminder that too few of our processes admit a broader context.

So what is the first question? Here goes?

If you believe there are end-of-course evaluation results that need to be clarified, please explain.

I wasn’t expecting to have to respond to this question. My end-of-course-evaluation (EOCE) scores are generally high. Most students learn a lot from me and appreciate the way I teach, despite my many flaws (lack of organization and belated grading being foremost among them). But ratings for the Fall 2017 sections of CSC-301, Analysis of Algorithms, and the CSC-321/322 software design conglomerate were surprisingly low. That is, while I usually have at least 90% of my students agree or strongly agree to the statements The instructor helped me to understand the subject matter and I learned a lot in this course, my 300-level courses were mostly at about 60%.

Then I looked a bit closer at the broader context. My explanation follows.

I had forgotten that my EOCEs in my 300-level courses in 2017–18 were low, but it appears they were. Because of understaffing in the department, I was teaching a 4.5-course load in Fall 2017 (CSC-321 and CSC-322 together met for six hours per week; after the courses were passed on to other faculty the teaching credit moved from 1.0 to 1.5), and most of my courses were over-enrolled (321 and 322 were supposed to be capped at 20, if I recall correctly, and enrolled approximately 30; CSC-151 already had a high cap at 32, and I was teaching two sections of 33 and 37). I was also advising an inordinate number of students (57 in Fall 2017). If I recall the data we received at the time correctly, no one in the prior decade had advised more than forty. Given that workload, I find it unsurprising that some of my ratings were low.

Should I go back and look at the End of Course Evaluations for more details? Nah. It’s not worth my time.

Why did I teach such an overload? Because I cared (and still care) for our students and our curriculum. However, if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that I can no longer make such sacrifices.

The next question up is the most important.

In 1-2 paragraphs describe your most significant teaching, athletic coaching, or library instructional accomplishment(s) during this review period. If possible, phrase your discussion in terms of impact on students and/or campus learning community.

I always find it hard to fit my answer in the two paragraphs permitted. Oh well. Here goes.

The most important change I made to my teaching over the past few years was a move to mastery grading, a variant of specifications grading, in CSC-151, Functional Problem Solving. It is a change I made following the lead of my colleague, Peter-Michael Osera. In this model, we assess students on whether they have achieved the core components of the course and whether they can apply them in new contexts. Both are tied directly to the learning goals of the course. Small problems allow us to check student mastery of the learning goals; larger assignments allow us to see how they apply them. By allowing students to re-do or replace anything that does not meet the specifications, we grade students on the knowledge that they demonstrate by the end of the term, rather than the time at which they demonstrate it. At the end of the semester, I can confidently state that the students have earned the grades they have and can demonstrate the reasons why to others. The model encourages a growth mindset in students, helping them understand that even if they don’t master something quickly, we have confidence that they can master it later. This model is particularly important for CSC-151 because students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, with some having had many more opportunities to pick up computing concepts before College. It does, however, require extra effort to write problems and make-up problems and to give students feedback that lets them improve their larger application assignments. I wrote approximately ninety separate problems for the Fall-2 2020 section of CSC-151 and wrote or rewrote almost ninety more for the Spring-1 2021 section, problems that my colleague, Nicole Eikmeier was able to use as is in the Spring-2 section.

During this time frame, I also developed a new version of CSC-151 that focuses on the Digital Humanities, which included developing a dozen or more new laboratories (as well as corresponding assignments and code libraries) and reworking about twenty or so more. The Digital Humanities focus permits us to explore computing from a different perspective and, we hope, makes it attractive to a different group of students. I taught CSC/PSY/TEC-232, Human-Computer Interaction for the first time. I also taught a new Tutorial focusing on Grinnell’s approach to liberal education. I had hoped to tie to the fiftieth anniversary of Tutorial and the Individually Advised Curriculum; unfortunately, planning for those anniversaries appears to have been lost in the pandemic. Finally, like all faculty, I had the difficulty of converting fourteen-week semester-long courses to seven-week, term-long courses. Since most of my classes are workshop-style courses with planned activities, that conversion was particularly difficult.

Whoo! Two paragraphs. I’m impressed with myself at staying within limits. I hope that you are, too [3].

We follow the prior question with one that is almost as important.

In one to two paragraphs provide your teaching, athletic coaching, or library instructional goals for the next review period.

Can I make snarky comments about the switch from 1-2 [4] to one to two? Nah. A foolish consistency and all that [5].

My primary teaching goal for the next review period is to incorporate mastery grading and/or specifications grading in all of my courses. Having seen the power of that style of grading, particularly in encouraging students to continue to try, and how it adjusts to the events that regularly happen in students’ lives, I would like to use it uniformly. I am working on doing so in CSC-301, Analysis of Algorithms, although I must admit that it is more challenging in an upper-division course.

We had a long-standing image-based version of CSC-151, Functional Problem Solving that focused on image making, relying on the GNU Image-Manipulation Program for the image-making infrastructure; we moved away from it because the infrastructure was fragile. Having seen students’ enthusiasm for the portions of CSC-151 that focus on image making, whether in the Data Science offering or the Digital Humanities offering, I see power in the centrality of images. Nationwide, image-making has also shown to be a topic for introductory CS that helps encourage those traditionally underrepresented in the field to both try the course and to persist. During the next review period, I hope to develop a new image-based version of CSC-151, one without the GNU Image Manipulation Program. I may also collaborate with Peter-Michael Osera on an audio version of the course. In both cases, I expect to consider ways we can keep the course accessible.

I kept it to two paragraphs again. Yay me! I’m also keeping my ambitions in check. Are there other things I’d like to do? I’d like to teach CSC-207 again. I’d like to teach CSC-301 again. At some point, I’d like to think about making Computing for Social Good the focus of one of our courses. Maybe CSC-151. Maybe CSC-207. But there’s only so much time. A year ago, I would have told you that I planned to teach a course on computing ethics. Again, there’s only so much time. I’ll leave that to other members of the department.

Next up are three questions that don’t apply to me. I include them here for the sake of completeness [6].

If your contract includes significant professional responsibilities instead of a 5-course teaching load, please provide this information. Note that details of the position are not required.

In 1-2 paragraphs describe your most significant accomplishments in this role during the review period. If possible, phrase your discussion in terms of specific impact on the college community or advancement of the college mission.

If applicable, in one to two paragraphs provide goals for the next review period that are related to this professional responsibility.

And then we move on to scholarship.

In one to two paragraphs, discuss the impact of your scholarship. In the case of multi-authored scholarship, describe your contribution.

A paper with Janet Davis, Developing soft and technical skills through multi-semester, remotely-mentored, community-based service projects, won an outstanding paper award at the 50th Annual SIGCSE Technical Symposium, designated second best in the experience reports track (out of 526 papers submitted to three different tracks). That paper reports work that Janet initiated and that I continued. I wrote the first draft of the paper, Janet then revised it significantly, and we both polished it. SIGCSE Technical Symposium papers are reviewed in an anonymous form and become part of the archival literature for the discipline.

My primary work over these past few years has been on investigating the efficacy of non-traditional approaches to teaching computer science on middle-school students’ interest and self-efficacy in computing. That has involved working with research students on developing curricula and conducting week-long summer code camps, relying on topics like crafts, data science for social good, and digital humanities. We published two papers and presented a few talks and posters on this area during the review period.

Hmmm. I haven’t mentioned my other collaboratively authored work, which is mostly Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, panels, and the like. Oh well. I’m sticking to two paragraphs.

There’s also the looking ahead portion.

In one to two paragraphs provide your scholarly goals for the next review period.

For the non-traditional-paths project to continue, we would need to move to a much bigger scope, a scope that is likely beyond one that will work in rural Iowa. It would require broader collaborations, some grants, a lot more of those 60-hour summer weeks. I’m not up to that task. So I’m thinking smaller.

For the next review period, I will be continuing an earlier project, the Mathematical Image Synthesis Toolkit (MIST), which provides a novel approach to the computational construction of non-representational interactive images and animations. The project involves theory (how we conceptualize images and animations), implementation (the image-making software), and user studies (how others make images with the software). I hope to produce a small text to promote the underlying theory of the project along with a public release of the software.

Finally, we move on to service.

If any of the committees you served on during the review period did anything unusually time-consuming for that committee, please describe it. You can assume that the Faculty Salary Committee is aware of the normal duties of each committee.

It’s fascinating that they don’t ask us to describe our broader kinds of service, and that they assume that the service is all internal. I wish someone would review the relationship between the rubric and the forms.

Briefly describe any service activities that are not reflected elsewhere. This can include recruiting, informal committees, and substantial departmental or institutional service. Please note approximate time commitment per month.

Hmmm. No paragraph limits this time. That’s probably a bad idea when they have to deal with people like me. And I suppose that I should have read this in advance of starting to write my service report; I assumed it would be another Describe your service accomplishments in one paragraph of less type of prompt. Oh well. I’d only drafted the Department Chair portion of it. Now I can write the rest.

In the past four years, I served the department, the College, and my discipline in a variety of ways. Among other things, (a) I served as department chair for one year; (b) I served as back-up department chair for three years; (c) I performed my usual range of department service; (d) I performed my usual range of institutional service; (e) I performed my usual range of disciplinary service; (f) I served leadership roles for two professional organizations; (g) I served leadership roles for four major conferences in CS education; and (h) I served leadership roles for three major diversity in CS conferences

a. I served as Department Chair in 2020–2021, one of the most complex years of the department. We remained significantly understaffed, with by far the highest ratio of majors to regular faculty in the college (approximately 17:1 with 60 majors per class year, six tenure-line faculty, and one permanent senior lecturer). Chairing the department during a pandemic involved a host of adjustments as well as running interference for my faculty. I also had to represent the department as ITS repeatedly instituted new policies without considering the impact on a department that creates software as part of its curriculum [7]. I also wrote the response to our external review, drafted a departmental policies and procedures document called for by that review, redeveloped the Department’s Web site after ITS took the old one down and failed to make a complete backup, attempted to keep that site up to date, chaired an interim review, and chaired a search. And then there were the normal departmental chair responsibilities, responsibilities that are high enough for our understaffed department that it is taking two faculty members to do them this year (along with three others who are running the five faculty reviews this year), and they are still significantly behind. I suppose that it’s no surprise that that level of workload contributed to my heart attack. I did not keep close track of the time, but it was generally 10–20 hours per week, about 50–90 hours per month.

b. 2017–2020 were Jerod Weinman’s first three years as Department Chair. Jerod regularly turned to me for advice, support, and, on occasion, a bit of extra work. Among other things, I was asked to help coordinate a variety of department events. In Spring 2020, Dean Harris asked me to return from leave to support the department during the chaos of the transition to online learning, particularly with regards to some student concerns raised in that transition. The backup chair work took approximately ten hours per month, on average.

c. I don’t tend to keep track of the extra work I do in the department; it’s part of the job. Perhaps my Review Chair will be able to suggest a few things of particular import. From my perspective, the work I do to support diversity and inclusion in the department is the most important of such work; I discuss that in the diversity statement. Ignoring hiring and reviews, department work is generally about five hours per week when I’m not chairing.

d. I have nothing specific to add.

e. Like most professionals at my stage, I serve the discipline in many ways. I review papers for conferences. I participate in grant review panels for the National Science Foundation (three or four last spring alone). I review scholarship applications for conferences that focus on diversity. I review departments. I participate in the AP CSP Principles reading. I’ve done all of that during this review period. I even got to do my first remote department review and my first online readings. It’s hard to come up with a monthly average. Reviews of scholarship applications are perhaps between four and eight hours of work. Grant review panels are typically scheduled for two-and-a-half days and require an additional two-and-a-half days of reading in preparation for the meeting. Department reviews are generally a day of preparation, two or three days at the institution, and a day afterward working on the report. The AP reading is about 60 hours when I’m a table leader and 30–40 hours when I’m a remote reader.

f. During the review period, I served as Vice-Chair for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (ACM SIGCAS) and as the primary mailing list moderator for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (ACM SIGCSE). SIGCAS took about an hour per week, although I also had a few weekend-long meetings to attend. As moderator, I spent about two to three hours each week moderating messages, responding to email, managing memberships, and working on longer-term plans.

g. I served as an Associate Program Chair (APC) for the ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education in all four years of the review period. As an APC, I am responsible for coordinating discussion amongst reviewers, encouraging reviewers to provide more/better feedback to authors, and summarizing the reviews, usually for eight or nine papers. In this period, I was also asked to provide some sample APC materials for SIGCSE to share with newer APCs. Each year, serving as APC takes between 20 and 40 hours. I also served as one of the Student Volunteers Chairs for the 2018 and 2019 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposia. In that role, I was responsible for maintaining and updating the software used to assign volunteers, attracting and managing the volunteers, assigning volunteers to shifts, and such. The first year took me about 100 hours before the conference and about 40 hours at the conference. The second year took 70 or so before the conference and about 40 at the conference.

h. Details about my service to the ACM/CMD-IT Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference can be found in my statement of contributions to diversity. Serving as Scholarships Chair took about 40–60 hours of work for Tapia 2019 and a similar amount for Tapia 2020. I also spent about 20 hours as an unofficial help desk coordinator for Tapia 2020. Since spring 2021, I’ve spent about ten hours per week as part of the Tapia 2021 Infrastructure Committee.

Are those times right? I’m not sure. But we were told to approximate. And I don’t log my life [8]. But, um, I do seem to spend a lot of time on service. Fortunately, most of it is valuable. At least I think it’s valuable.

As you can tell, I was not all that brief. However, I do a lot of service. I think I was appropriately brief in each description. Does it matter that I wasn’t brief, other than that the Salary Committee has more to read? Unfortunately, Interfolio wouldn’t let me enter it all in the field on the form; it appears I exceeded the hidden limit for brief. Fortunately, moving the rant about being Chair to the prior section solved the problem.

Sadly, there’s no looking ahead paragraph for service. I had hoped to write one. I guess nothing prevents me from doing so, if only for you.

I anticipate focusing most of my service efforts on issues related to broadening participation in computing, primarily through my service to CMD-IT (the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT) and the ACM/CMD-IT Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. I will also continue to serve SIGCSE in whatever ways seem most appropriate. (This year, I am serving as one of the Evaluations Chairs.)

I hope to never again serve as Department Chair.

Whoops. That’s two paragraphs. But one paragraph is short and the other is a one-sentence paragraph. We’ll count it as one paragraph with a strange blank line in the middle.

Teaching. Scholarship. Service. The big three [10]. Are we done yet? Nope! There’s an optional question.

If the above have missed any significant activities during the review period, you may describe them here.

Was there anything else significant? Nope, I don’t think so. Oh, wait! I took Ralph’s class on creative nonfiction. That was quite significant to me [11]. It’s probably not significant to the Faculty Salary Committee.

Speaking of writing, have missed feels wrong to me, even if Grammarly doesn’t critique. Perhaps just missed. Or If you have missed. Or If your responses above have missed. Or perhaps even a broader rewrite.

Here you may describe any other significant activities during the review period.

We’re still not done. There’s room for optional statements! However, they are not on the main form, so it will take a moment for me to look them up. Let’s see … there are two statements. I’ve still not received an answer as to how the Faculty Salary Committee will use them. Oh well, I’m still going to think about them.

Let’s give each its own section.

Statement of Contributions to Diversity

Describe activities that support diversity on campus, such as mentoring and advising faculty or students, special recruitment efforts, submitting grants or proposals, or involvement in co-curricular programs.

I’m interested to see that they only seem to care about diversity on campus. I’m interested in broader issues of diversity. And, after reading a recent piece by John McWhorter, I also find myself wondering whether we are employing our historically broad interpretation of diversity or a much narrower one. Oh well, let’s just see what comes out when I write freely.

For much of my career, diversifying the group of people who do computer science has been a top priority. I’ve done so by employing curricular strategies shown to accommodate a broader variety of people (e.g., active learning, choosing course themes that expand ideas of what computing can be), by encouraging students from groups underrepresented in computing, and by acknowledging the broader problems in computing. My work is acknowledged in the recent CS department external review.

One key place in which enrollment pressures negatively impact faculty workload is in outreach, retention, and inclusion initiatives. While all three of these areas are foundational priorities for the department, and while all faculty contribute to these initiatives, one faculty member (Sam Rebelsky) takes on the lion’s share of the workload. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students within and outside the Computer Science department unanimously pointed out Sam’s outsize contributions in these areas[.] (p. 4)

Much of my effort has gone toward finding ways to support student travel to both the ACM/CMD-IT Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference (Tapia), the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), and the Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas Regional Celebration of Women in Computing (MINK-WIC). I fundraise from alumni. I encourage students to apply for scholarships. I look for pockets of money on campus that might help students attend. I run the department scholarship program using the funds I obtain. I help prepare students for the conferences. For MINK-WIC, I drive them to the conference. When I attend the conferences, I support them while at the conferences. Why do I focus on these areas? Because I regularly hear from students that attending the conferences has an outsize impact not only on their willingness to persist in computing but also on their enthusiasm for helping others. This year, Nicole Eikmeier has graciously taken on many of the responsibilities for Hopper.

Last year, I applied for a small grant from the STARS Ignite Program to support students attending Tapia in 2022. Affiliating with STARS has also meant that our students could participate in STARS activities at Tapia 2021.

Beyond CS, I served as a Grinnell Science Project (GSP) co-director for the Fall 2017 GSP cohort.

However, I believe my responsibility to broaden participation in computing goes beyond Grinnell. These days, I do most of my work by participating in accessibility communities and emphasizing accessibility in the SIGCSE community, and by my leadership roles associated with the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.

After many years of reviewing student scholarship applications for the ACM/CMD-IT Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference (as well as for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing), I was invited to serve as one of the Scholarship Chairs for Tapia 2019 and again for Tapia 2020. For Tapia 2020, which unexpectedly moved online, I ended up being the unofficial Help Desk Manager. My success in that position led the conference to create a new position of Outreach Coordinator for me for Tapia 2021 and to invite me to the conference Infrastructure Committee (the General Chair, the Program Chair, the Deputy Chair, the Accessibility Chairs, the lead CMD-IT staff, and me). During spring and summer 2021, I participated in weekly meetings and did related work. I hope to continue serving Tapia in the years to come.

Damn. That simultaneously feels like too much and not enough. Do I want to dig out the Program Chair’s comments on why she wanted me as Outreach Coordinator and such? Nah. Am I tooting my own horn a bit too much? Perhaps. Okay, maybe it’s the right amount.

On to the final section. Can you guess what it is?

Statement of Contributions to Student Research

This one doesn’t even have instructions.

I asked how the Faculty Salary Committee was going to use this and the prior statement. I didn’t get a clear response. Mostly it’s just We asked this in Sedona, so we’re asking it in Interfolio. As I noted earlier, I expect that contributions to diversity (broadly defined, I hope) will eventually become part of our salary rubric. But this? As far as I know, contributions to student research relate much more to our ability to take year-long sabbaticals [12]. They have little to do with our salary rubric, other than that supporting MAPs counts. However, the Salary Committee can take MAP info directly from the list of courses they receive. So why write this? Maybe so that I have it in place for the next (potentially last) sabbatical application.

I have done my best to provide students with opportunities to engage in research and research-like opportunities, both in my courses and in summer MAPs and independents. In CSC-301, I include a component in which students read and implement an algorithm from the primary literature. This year, I hope to make it an algorithm with implications about implicit bias. CSC-321 and CSC-322 (now CSC-324 and CSC-326) include a significant project component. And the new (to me) CSC/PSY/TEC-232 provides students with experience in most stages of a user study.

I continue to believe that full-time summer work is the best experience for all students, particularly students from groups underrepresented in the field and students who lack confidence in their abilities. Hence, I have traditionally tried to provide as many summer opportunities as I can. However, I have received many signs that others feel differently and that this model has fallen out of favor. I do not know what this means for the future, and I hope that this year and next will bring added clarity.

Isn’t that a positive ending note? But it’s true. The only people who seem to think it’s a good idea that I take lots of students are the students themselves and a selected set of colleagues. But those in power? Nope. And I’m sick of fighting about it [16].

Did you enjoy reading all of that? I didn’t particularly enjoy writing it. My goal for this year was to worry less and to be less frustrated. But it’s hard to do so while writing about multiple years that involve not only persistent lack of support but also regular micro and macroaggressions. Oh well. Let’s pretend that it was cathartic to write everything. In truth, only a few parts made me angry. And I suppose there was some catharsis in getting some of it out. Perhaps I’ll add one more complaint.

When we discussed the prioritization of risk management in ITS policies, and I mentioned that there were other risks, such as risks to people, I never imagined that I was talking about myself, at least not in the way it turned out.

Yeah, that does feel better. Perhaps I’ll even avoid sending that directly to someone.

Is anything left? Always. I’ll muse about the joys of Interfolio separately. That reminds me. I need to make sure that I get all of my activities entered in Interfolio. Joy.

There’s also one final question. Should I request a meeting with the Dean after I get my review? The used to be the norm before Mike arrived. Then it became the responsibility of the Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. But the CTLA Director is not our supervisor. The Dean is. Don’t you want your supervisor to know about you? Doesn’t your supervisor want to know about the faculty? But what would my review tell our Dean? Mostly that I’m a curmudgeon. They’ll hear that from other sources.

Postscript: The last time I did this, I went through the salary rubric and tried to assign a score to myself. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to do so again. Let’s see.

For teaching, I have some low scores. But I think they are explainable. I definitely hit B. Advising an especially large number of students per semester, during the semesters in which the faculty member taught. Hey, I even hit it during semesters in which I was on leave [18]. C. Teaching classes outside of core competencies, especially service courses like tutorial and statistics. Check. I taught Tutorial. Potentially, HCI counts here, too. D. Teaching independent studies, guided readings, for-credit internships, and Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs). Check. But doesn’t everyone? E. Teaching courses that may diversify the curriculum and/or courses that are distinctive in their innovative character. Such courses may include but are not limited to digital liberal arts, community-based learning, or course[-]embedded travel. I developed a new Digital Humanities CSC-151. CSC-321 and CSC-322 involve community-based learning. Should I go back and make that explicit in my statement? Nah. I’ll leave it to my Review Chair.

I can’t get a 5. I don’t have high outliers [19]. Perhaps a 4. Good peer evaluations, self-description of teaching as it appears in the Faculty Activities Report and 2 or more additional factors that the College values. I have at least four additional factors that the College values.

On to scholarship. Again, I don’t think I deserve a 5. My work is not seminal [20]. But it did get an award. If I count correctly, I published four refereed, anonymously reviewed [20], conference papers, one of which got an award. There were some posters, panels, and BoFs. I’d hope that’s enough for a 4.

And then there’s service. I do a lot of service. I’d like to say I deserve a 5. But the criteria suggest otherwise. The evidence shows that the candidate discharged the duties of a demanding elected or appointed office within the institution in an outstanding and highly effective manner or in some cases multiple level 4 activities. I suppose we could say that I did that as Chair, but it was only for one year. It would be insulting to say that I deserve less than a 4 for service.

Hmmmm …. 4 for teaching. 4 for scholarship. 4 for service. It appears that I’m uniform. What if the Faculty Salary Committee is feeling generous, or my Review Chair is particularly persuasive, and I earn a 5 for service? Let’s see … .45 x 4 + .25 x 4 + .3 x 5 = 4.30. That rounds up to a 4.5. I wonder if that’s what happened last time? As I said, I’m fairly uniform in both what I do and how I do it.

Either a 4 or a 4.5 seems reasonable. I’ve done a lot in the period, and a lot well, but I have room for growth.

I just wish we had combat pay.

Postscript: This plus the CV plus the Interfolio garbage represents more than nine hours of work [21]. Another day of my life down the drain. Michelle’s right. It’s probably not worth the effort.

Postscript: After spending three hours fighting with Interfolio [22], I decided to add one more thing to that final open-ended section. Here goes.

I believe I have covered everything in the comments above and in my CV. After too much time fighting with Interfolio, I cannot be sure that the data there are complete or completely correct. But it’s not worth either my time or yours for me to make things perfect. You should get enough of a sense of my value to the College, or lack thereof, from the comments and the CV.

[1] It was scheduled for last year but delayed by the pandemic. Hence, this is arguably a quadrennial salary review.

[2] Or perhaps we should all complain. It’s not pleasant to feel undervalued by the institution. More precisely, our institution should not undervalue us.

[3] That is, I hope that you’re either impressed with yourself or impressed with me.

[4] Agh! It’s a hyphen, not an en-dash!

[5] Emerson’s A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds is one of the phrases I live by.

[6] Or for completeness’ sake.

[7] Additional details about frustrations with ITS elided from the public version.

[8] There was a time that I logged my life. I don’t do so any more.

[9] Someday soon, there will likely be a fourth: IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) [10].

[10] I don’t recall where or with whom I was discussing this acronym. The government added Accessibility at the end of DEI. I like rearranging the letters for a better acronym. (At least no one used DIE.) AIDE is also not bad.

[11] It may be difficult to tell from this musing, but The Craft of Creative Nonfiction significantly affected how I approach and reflect on my writing.

[12] In order to qualify for a full-year sabbatical, a faculty member must contribute at an appropriate level to our opportunities for all interested students to do research program [14].

[14] Feel free to insert your own snarky note about the disconnect between the College’s supposed commitment to this program and its failure to provide enough CS faculty to support such opportunities for CS majors. Or you could ask me to write the long rant on what’s happened with the research opportunities program [15].

[15] The last conversation I’ve had about it suggested that it’s more about providing opportunities in courses, rather than the full-semester (and preferably full-summer) opportunities that are more impactful. But if it’s focused on opportunities in 300-level courses, what happens to the faculty who don’t teach 300-level courses. As I said, I could rant and ramble bout many problematic aspects of the program.

[16] That brings up the latest challenge for Sam’s attempt to pull back. We’ve been told we can no longer take volunteer summer research students [17]. I don’t agree with all of the rationales, but I accept many of them. What’s the challenge? Will I be able to avoid asking the obvious questions?

Since we can no longer take volunteers, is the College going to increase the number of summer students it will support for each faculty member?

Since student equity is an issue, are we planning to increase the stipend for summer research students to match national norms, or at least to match current pay scales at Grinnell?

Now that I’ve written them down, I think I can avoid asking them at the next meeting in which this comes up. At least I hope I can.

[17] I debated about the hyphen in summer research. What are summer research students? Are the students who are doing summer research, which would suggest the hyphen? Are they research students during the summer, which would suggest avoiding the hyphen? Or is summer research a common enough phrase that the hyphen is unnecessary? The whole matter complicated by the addition of the adjective volunteer. I suppose I could write volunteer, summer, research students. Perhaps one of my more grammatically informed sons, students, or colleagues will enlighten me.

[18] Never again. That is, I will not permit a significant overload of advisees while on leave. Perhaps I should say that I’ll take none while on leave. I wonder how the College would adjust to that?

[19] I’m still waiting to hear how they are determining outliers. It’s a reasonable question. There aren’t all that many statistical tests.

[20] Blind review is an inappropriate term. Here’s a nice explanation as to why. Don’t use it. Complain when you see Interfolio (and others) use it.

[21] Once I finished with Interfolio, it was closer to eleven.

[22] As I noted, we’ll see more about that in a future musing.

Version 1.0 released 2021-10-23.

Version 1.1 of 2021-10-23.