Let it be said that summer colds suck.
Spare me the lecture on how it’s not yet summer, that it’s not even halfway into spring. The point is that it’s beautiful outside and I’ve got just enough of a cold to take the edge off.
Yet the end of the semester slows for no one, and the last few days have had me at various timely tasks, some more salutary than others, that have sucked up my days like one of those little algae-eating aquarium fishes.
slorp. slorp. slorp.
Salutary: I always dread completing my annual faculty record (my “brag sheet” of accomplishments throughout the past academic year), but in the end it never takes as long as I think it will, and it’s a healthy reflective practice. I’m always interested to see which of the goals I’d laid out for myself last year I’ve managed to accomplish, and which are still dangling, undone. (I swear that this summer is the one I’ll find time in to write up that paper…)
Salutary, too: I spent several hours yesterday and another hour today reviewing applications for the Honors Program Assistant position that will be vacated at the end of next month. Though, as anyone who knows her knows, no one can replace my current assistant, I now have higher hopes of finding a solid successor.
Salutary, too? You bet!: Two evenings ago we fêted our senior students graduating with Distinction as a University Scholar…and I actually managed to make it all the way through bestowal of the Distinction certificates, all the way through bestowal of our new award for Honors Program Citizenship, and 95% of the way through my statement on behalf of this year’s Scholarly Excellence awardee before crying. A new record! It’s truly been a wonderful experience to grow alongside this particular group of students these past four years. They are, after all, “my class,” the students who entered the program at the time when I was taking over as its director. I will miss them much.
Hmmm…now that I think about it, not much I’ve done the past several days has seemed purposeless or void.
Certainly not my colleague Samuel’s 478 students’ workshop on diversity, equity, and inclusion, which took place earlier this afternoon. These students adopted a somewhat narrower focus than students in most past iterations of the course, choosing to bring in experts to speak specifically on local racial inequities as manifested in the public educational system and food justice communities. Moreover, this was the first and only of so-far-eight 478 workshops, five run by my students and three by Samuel’s, to feature outside speakers. It made for some solid presentations, but it also raises the question: is this the intention of the activity? Do we short-change the students if we do not insist that they are the architects of the ideas shared in the workshop? Do we deny them authentic engagement with important questions surrounding diversity and equity should we allow them to rely on trained voices to carry the chorus? Ought we not ask that they, however inexpertly, sing along themselves? What, ultimately, do we expect our students to learn from this exercise? I have no definitive answer to these questions; I only wish to keep them in mind as I move forward in assigning this activity in future versions of this course.
Little remains between me and the end of the semester; my MATH 280 students are working through their third of three take-home exams, and my own 478 students are busy at planning their own workshop, to be run this coming Tuesday morning on the last day of finals. I’ve got one more meeting with my math students, and only a smattering of official meetings or events. Beyond, summer lies languorously, plump with juicy joys ranging from writing up my analysis of our WAC/WID requirements to the summer’s WNC Postcolonial Reading Group’s consideration of Taiye Selasi’s Ghana must go.
For now, too, a bit of rest. I’m going to go and nurse this edge-dulling cold. If you need me, I’ll likely be lying under a cat or two.