Tuesday, August 21, 2012

So far, so good

Halfway through the second day, and the semester's chugging along nicely.

The first meeting of my Complex Variables class came off without a hitch yesterday. I've got a relatively small group (15 students), comprising math, physics, and engineering majors. We had a lively first class, in which, after a brief review of operations on and properties of real numbers, we encountered the basic definition of a complex number. Tomorrow will tell if the structure I've designed for this course will work out well. I'm doing a sort of "flipped Moore method," wherein the students will be presenting only certain of the problems they're assigned, while they'll be submitting written solutions to them all. From the second problem set on, they'll be required to submit their solutions in LaTeX, and I'll be giving them all the option of taking part in the study my colleague Beatrice and I have put together for this coming year's Conference on College Composition and Communication (viva, Las Vegas!). Our goal will be to understand the effect that using LaTeX has on students' composition processes.

Meanwhile, I'm busy settling into the Honors office and meeting with Honors students as they drop in. I'm beginning to realize that much of this job entails putting out the dozens of little range fires that pop up on an almost hourly basis. (Welcome to administration, I suppose...?) It's not often the same thing twice, so far, so there's enough variety to make the job interesting. Moreover, the students are fantastic. I'm particularly enjoying meeting majors from departments very far removed from my own (Accounting, Health and Wellness Promotion, etc.).

It's going smoothly. Things are settling quickly enough that I'm already starting to look ahead to my next round of trips. First I'm off to Texas A&M International University in Laredo, where I'll be leading a day and a half of faculty development workshops centering on writing in the disciplines. Next, it's up the mountain to the Wildacres Retreat Center for my fifth Carolinas Writing Program Administrators fall conference (love those people!). Finally, a week later I'm off to my first North Carolina English Teachers Association conference (featuring my first official book signing!). I've got a couple more weeks to get ready, but need to get on it, especially for that first trip.

Speaking of which, let me get back to it...

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