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Whine, whine, whine (or An introduction to my triennial review)

As I’ve noted recently, I am up for my triennial salary review this year. I get to write a lot of different things for the review, including statements on teaching, scholarship, service, and diversity. Since I’m writing anyway, it makes sense to use those writings as my musings. Putting them in musing form also means that I’m more likely to edit them again, which is probably good for all those involved [1].

Today’s musing is my introduction to the review, which is intended to provide context. As you can tell, I’m a bit whiny.

Every aspect of this review period is colored by my experience as chair during these past three years. During this time: We quadrupled our number of majors. That growth is unprecedented at the College and the College was not, and is not, prepared to handle it. But there was much more. One tenured member of the department moved to senior faculty status and one tenured member was recruited to a position at another institution. We hired three new tenure-line faculty. We were forced to make significant changes to our computing infrastructure, including the loss of our email system (we had a separate, and more powerful, email system for the past twenty-plus years). We were forced to transfer supervision of MathLAN to ITS, after more than twenty years of it being run by John Stone for both Math/Stats and CS. We created a new joint program BA/MS program with the University of Iowa. We ran a departmental affinity reunion to celebrate Henry Walker’s transition to SFS. We dealt with the interpersonal and intercultural issues that arose as part of our growth. And we responded to the large number of new initiatives that came with the introduction of a new Dean: Global Grinnell, Research Opportunities for All, expanded departmental writing goals, and more.

I spent inordinate amounts of time fighting for resources we desperately needed (not just faculty, but also funds and space; it is, for example, frustrating to have to feed four times as many people at graduation breakfast without receiving any change in your food budget), dealing with the various large initiatives described above, and advising students (both my own advisees and students who needed general advice about the major or other issues related to computer science and reasonably considered the chair the person to contact). As Jerod has noted in our conversations, worrying about these issues keeps you up at night as chair. At the same time, I was teaching significantly more students than other faculty. (See the teaching responsibilities above and the data you should have from OASIR [3].)

All of these responsibilities meant my other work suffered. Most significantly, I did not have the time I needed to grade homework with the regularity that students deserve. At times, I could not spend the time I usually do preparing classes; I’d have time set aside, but yet another request or question would come from an administrator, or a bunch of students would need advice, or some emergency would come up, or something else would interfere.

I know that you must follow the percentages in the salary review rubric. But I hope that you will take into account the absurdly high administrative load and stress the College placed upon me during this three-year period.

Stay tuned for my other statements or data, as appropriate.

[1] Editing means that I make things clearer. It means that my department chair has less work to do. And it should mean that the Faculty Budget Committee has less writing to sludge [2] through.

[2] Is sludge a verb? It feels like it should be.

[3] Do I really believe that they have data from OASIR? I believe that they should have data from OASIR. And I know that OASIR will provide the data when asked. However, my experience has been that not all Faculty Salary Committees ask for those data.

Version 1.0 of 2017-10-29.