Tuesday, February 28, 2012

With honors

It seems as though in every term I hit a point at which I'm so busy taking care of what I need to do that I no longer have time to take care of those things I simply want to do (like update this here blog).

I've hit that point.

I'm busy.

I'm busy enough that by the time I've got time to tend to this site, I've got no energy. When I've energy, I've got no time.


Well, in a rare intersection, I've both...fleetingly.

Story: An hour and a half ago I got out of the first meeting of the faculty I've requested to teach the Honors sections of our first-year liberal studies colloquium in Fall 2012. (My thanks to my wonderfully proactive colleague Darlene for organizing and convening this meeting!) Darlene (Health and Wellness), Samuel (Literature), Noella (Computer Science), and Quentin (Psychology) will join me in offering this course to our Honors students next term.

I have to admit to a not small amount of terror at the outset of this meeting: I'm new to Honors, I'm relatively new to teaching first-year colloquia (last year's Ethnomathematics course was my first of that kind), and I'm certainly new to this quasi-administrative functionarihood with which I've found myself vested. I was worried that we'd find no agreement on form, no agreement on function, no agreement on anything.

In retrospect, of course, I must admit my foolishness: I'd underestimated the flexibility and resilience of my colleagues, who are superior to me (it must be said) in recognizing the potential we face.

In summary: we hope to design five discipline-specific-yet-common-in-purpose first-year seminars which will challenge enrollees to meet three learning outcomes common to all first-year courses, four learning outcomes peculiar to writing-intensive courses, and all expectations we hold for students taking part in the Honors program. Further, we hope to design these courses around the common theme of "Metamorphosis."


You betcha.

Easily doable?

Not a chance.

Therein is the challenge and the excitement.

Our conversation led us through skepticism, speculation, and proposition of structure.

I'm less terrified than I was two and a half hours ago...now we have a plan, and at least the vaguest of ideas for common texts, events, and experiences.

I'm less terrified.

I'm working with four folks who, in Noella's colorful terms, "can sell swampland."

It's going to be a good term, this.

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