Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You have got to be kidding me, part II

So I just opened up the merit forms to have my first look at them. I mean, I won't get merit pay, but I have to go through the work of submitting the forms.

Forgive me if I appear naive, but I was a bit shaken: There are no points awarded for things that have taken up the bulk of my time since I began this job. Including DIRECTING AND GROWING THE PROGRAM!!!!!!!!! How is that possible? I have spent dozens - dozens - of hours on this. It is what I was hired to do - believe me, I'm not doing it as a lark. I have done so much work revising the bloody calendar entries and adding new curriculum - brand new courses, which have to be entirely laid out, including all readings, learning outcomes, assessment, etc. That process involves many meetings, and consultations with other department members and chairs and librarians, and writing courses from scratch, and learning how to speak in the particular language of these things. As well as writing lengthy rationales for each course and even each small change.

And all of that means nothing in terms of my "merit" as a faculty member? What the hell? I guess I just expected it to count for something. It has taken plenty of hours away from the research that actually does count for everything, according to this. How demoralizing. I hate this place.

On top of that, my home - which is the one thing I really love about Scary City - might be sold and the new owners move into my unit. And I would have to leave, and to find a new place to live in an INSANE real estate and rental market. After moving how many times? over the last year and a half? And in my life?

Oh Scary City, why did I ever think this was a good idea?


heu mihi said...

Oh, Hilaire! I'm sorry. You need to get out of there.

In an absurd attempt to find the bright side, I'd add that after this job you'll always appreciate how good future jobs are!

As for why you thought that this was a good idea--well, it's a tenure-track job, and given the way that we're indoctrinated in grad school and after, those things are *really* hard to turn down. Don't blame yourself for this wretched situation; that school sounds truly horrific.

Maude Lebowski said...

i'm right there with heu mihi. your uni sounds as whacked out as GCU (apparently they are giving scholarship awards to poets who do no scholarship--WTF?--apparently a "distinguished dissertation" is really a group of poems one wrote 10 years ago with a little intro about one's process and 8 pages of "scholarship")--sorry didn't mean to take over with that.

my point is, how could you have known when you took the job that it was not going to have potential? like heu mihi said, we're so indoctrinated to believe that any scrap we are given MUST be a good thing--MUST have some potential to it that we're fools to pass it up--especially if you're an adult (i, apparently am not an adult according to various sources for not going this route).

i know it's not really that meaningful to hear right now, but one day your uni (whether this one or another) will realize what the rest of us realize--that you totally kick fucking ass baby!!

squadratomagico said...

Wow. This place sounds incredibly exploitative. At OPU "service" as a program or department chair doesn't actually count for much, but at least they have the decency to pay lip service to it on the forms.

I feel so completely and totally confident that you will be able to get out of there, and flee to a place that treats its employees with some measure of decency. You will.

Earnest English said...

Hilaire, I'm so sorry. Of course I totally agree with those above: we are totally conditioned to believe that we are lucky to get a t-t job and so can't refuse one. You probably have already learned amazing things that will really help you at that next job that is going to rock -- or at least not make you want to vomit.

Could this merit pay form be protested? Could you include a letter that says something about how those with substantial admin duties will never get merit pay and so this means that people will not want to do admin because it's not rewarded properly? Certainly this university is not for you, but you might be able to help those who come after you. This sounds like something that needs to be made into an issue. Activism in the academy! Go girl! Though I totally don't blame you if you don't want to deal with it.

NO SELLING OF HILAIRE'S HOME! I hope that the current owners get some kind of windfall so they decide against selling. There's nothing worse than feeling your own rug come out from beneath you. I'm sending you powerful home vibes northward.

(Why is my word verification word rbowel? Are they trying to say something?)

Hilaire said...

Thanks, all, for your awesome support and outrage on my behalf.

I should clarify that in fact there is room for me to put on the form that I have been doing "program advising" or chairing or whatever. But the amount of work I've put into curriculum development is a whole other thing. That doesn't come automatically with program-running. MOst people don't do this much of this kind of work because they already have established programs(at least here) - They're just tinkering, and in fact, it's often not really the chair's responsibility to do the curricular tinkering. At least not alone. It comes because I'm growing the program from a minor toward a major. Hell, I've already increased the course offerings in the program by 25%! Plus made it actually viable for students to TAKE the minor - before, the requirements were impossible to meet with the one faculty member. So I am doing something that was mandated - from on high, in fact - by this university, making it a more attractive place for many, and yet that doesn't get recognized. Grrr.

Thanks, Earnet, for your thoughts on the house. I will be sure to be home to tell all potential buyers that the place is a not-soundprrofed dump! ;)

Hilaire said...

Oh, and Earnest - that is a great idea. You are allowed to include a letter explaining extenuating circumstances (i.e. bowing and scraping if you're not productive), and I maay do that - include a letter explaining what I have been doing with my time! Take that, Dean!!!!!!!

Marcelle Proust said...

Do you have a Memorandum of Understanding, or whatever your uni would call it, that lays out the expectations for your position? If you were hired to do admin/program development work, then you should be judged by the standards for that job--but this is only enforceable if you have it in writing somewhere. It's still useful to write the letter explaining what you have been doing and why it is necessary, because that's your side of the Understanding. They might be well-meaning but clueless & willing to clean up their act; but I'd prep for the job market in case they're not. Readers take note: if you have a conversation with chair/dean/whomever about responsibilities, but nothing written, then *you* write a dated memo to chair/dean/whomever summing up the conversation: "This is what I understand I am to do, and it will be judged in this or that way in a tenure decision; it was good talking to you and I'll get right on it." Lay the paper trail. Sorry, Hilaire, about hijacking your comments, but this may save someone else. As a former chair of mine once said: "Marcelle, document it if you take a whiz."

What Now? said...

Crappy news all the way around -- I'm so sorry, Hilaire!

Hilaire said...

Thanks, WN. :)

Marcelle, I don't have this in writing - which is stupid of me, because I should know better. I always tell my students about how important it is to get things in writing. But you are so right with this advice - yes! And it is a great idea to do post-meeting writeups. My Dean actually suggested that recently, after I met with him and we talked about the tenure process...because I'm in a larger unit and faculty where there are very few people who can evaluate the kind of work I do (a whole other story), he suggested that we do up a written agreement about getitng representation from another faculty at, say, 40% of the committee that will evaluate me. So he's amenable to that - I should think about ways to do something about that with this.