Friday, August 14, 2009

Bad things come in threes

If you have ever wondered whether this is true or an old wives' tale, I can confirm that it is true. Bad things do, indeed, comes in threes. I thought the three things I was dealing with were (1) hiring a new professor to replace Professor R, who left in December and whose replacement was fired halfway through spring semester, (2) hiring a new faculty member to replace Professor Q, the former department chair, and (3) hiring a visiting professor to substitute for Professor P, who is taking a year's leave of absence.


Once all three positions were filled (Monday, August 3rd), I spent most of last week juggling the teaching schedule, getting the new faculty assigned courses in their areas of expertise, and trying to arrange classes so that Professor O, the only person other than the now-departed Professor Q who has taught a particular course, could teach that class. Pulling that off involved changing the time the course was taught, which meant I had to look at the class schedule of each student in the class to find a time that would fit every student's schedule. But I did it. And Friday I submitted the revised teaching schedule for Mechanical Engineering to the registrar's office.

On Monday (August 10th) Professor O resigned, effective immediately.

Professor O, who has been at the university for 18 years, is going to the same school where Professor Q will be teaching. This institution, which is in a large Southern state, made Professor O an offer "impossible to turn down." (Presumably Professor Q received the same sort of offer.)

Is loyalty, like chivalry, dead? Why do some people not feel obligated to honor their commitments?

Chaos reigned for a day or two. While I'm not back at square one, I am indisputably short a faculty member...and classes start on August 26th. I have a headache of epic proportions, and I can feel the grey hairs sprouting. Rapidly.

But this morning, I saw this cute little chipmunk just outside the engineering building, and he put a smile on my face.

And today, finally, I had an uninterrupted hour to complete my move into the chair's office---a week and a day after I moved my books in there.