I. It’s been spring here for awhile, apparently, which was meant snow, rain, wind, gray skies, cold temperatures. But certain things are inevitable rites of the season: the semester is almost over. With the bad weather, students haven’t yet begun to stop showing up for classes to play in the sun. I guess this counts as one negative (the November-ish weather) and one positive (butts in seats), weighing out to a wash.

II. Student evaluation packets infested mailboxes a few weeks ago, begging to be infected upon our student population. I think ours are more annoying than others, since they have to be administered by another professor. And because the eval coordinators don’t actually coordinate who does whose. Thus a frenzy of emails circulates among the professors, each edition begging for a swap no one really wants to make.

III. As a sum of I and II, the product can be clearly interpreted as the near end of my run at my PA state school. Not a moment too soon, I’d say. This week, the university shut down applications because the incoming freshman class will already be the biggest in school history. This week, the state system announced the probability of faculty furloughs and retrenchments, since the 50% state funding cut will apparently have a negative affect on individual school’s ability to, um, keep the lights on. This week, the union filed a grievance against the system because the notification of potential furloughs and retrenchments didn’t follow the contract (which apparently means the notice should have announced specific furloughs and retrenchments instead of offering just a heads up). The union’s take: the system is just trying to strike fear in the hearts of professors since contract negotiations are currently underway. The union is afraid some professors might be swayed into retirement or job switches based on news like this.

My take:

A) I have a new job. Thank goodness I don’t have to stick around and watch all this b.s. materialize.

B) Student evals. Hmmm. Passive resitance, methinks. I ain’t playing. No email tag. No grovelling. No pretending that the info in the evals actually means something to someone leaving. Or really, that much to people sticking around.

C) Two weeks. And outta there. Nice.

D) Better start packing up the office.

E) I think the system AND the union are playing dirty politics, going round and round, not focusing on the very real financial crisis in the state budget. Just posturing, clacking antlers, going through the motions of trying to intimidate the other party.

F) Record enrollments and reducing numbers of faculty. Fits nicely with the school marketing schlock: “Beyond expectations.”

Mount St. Helens: beyond expectations.

Charlie Sheen: beyond expectations.

Bernie Madoff: beyond expectations.

Pittsburgh Pirates: beyond expectations.

Two weeks…