My sabbatical/leave is now officially over. The winter quarter began last week, but today was the first day that I actually had to admit that I’m not on leave any more. It’s sooooo depressing! Getting paid to read, think, and write without actually having to interact with anyone else has been wonderful. Now it’s back to the grind. Oh well.

First, I had to finish up several letters of recommendation. I am finally done with all of the letters that I’ve agreed to write so far. So, I’m glad that I have accomplished that.

Second, I distributed a memo to the members of a committee that I’m chairing. We’ll be reviewing our department’s policies and procedures and creating a set of by-laws, though I want to call the final document our “Policies and Procedures” rather than by-laws. I’ll have to schedule a committee meeting at some point soon, but that can wait a while.

Next, I participated in my department’s seven-year review. Since I’m on the review committees for two departments later this term, I was glad to see how it’s supposed (or not supposed) to work. And my involvement was really limited: all I did was attend an open meeting with the outside reviewer.

And then I went to my first faculty senate meeting since June. When I left the June meeting, I told a couple of my colleagues that I would see them in six months. Now those six months have passed. The meeting was as tedious as usual. Several speakers kept telling us that, since there wasn’t much on the agenda, they would go ahead and tell us about x, y, or z, which meant that each speaker actually spoke longer than usual. So, for a meeting with a short agenda, we had a longer than usual meeting. On the one hand, I love being involved and knowing what’s going on. And I do really feel obliged to participate in faculty governance and service. On the other hand, these meetings are tedious and I can’t help but wonder why we spend so much of the time discussing minutia. But ultimately all I have to do is sit and listen, so there’s not that much to complain about.

Now that I’m back at work, the important question is: what did I accomplish?

I didn’t get as much writing done as I had hoped, but I did accomplish quite a lot:

  • three conference proposals researched, written, and accepted for the coming months; two of these will really help me make progress on the book project
  • basic research for the book project to help me organize it and figure out exactly what I’m doing
  • one chapter almost finished
  • some of the prep work for the committee I’m chairing on policies and procedures
  • some serious consideration of my teaching and how I want to change parts of it when I get back into the classroom
  • some of the background work for another committee I’m on to start a series of teaching colloquia in my department
  • a lot of reading for my GLBT Lit course next quarter
  • intial research on a future project on Larry Kramer and contemporary gay literature
  • some pleasure reading

I’m sure there are things I’m leaving off the list, but even just these things are a lot for 10 weeks. So, I think it’s been a success. But next time, I’m taking a whole year off and I’m going to spend it someplace else. I dream of a year in Sitges, Spain, but I’d certainly “settle” for New York or London!

I still have 10 weeks until I start teaching again — I”m just doing service this quarter, which includes faculty senate, the senate’s professional relations committee, the university curriculum committee, ucc’s review committee, 2 departmental reviews, my department’s administrative committee, chairing the policies and procedures committee, conducting the evaluation of our chair, the promotion and tenure review committee (reviewing non-tenured faculty’s progress), the HTC committee, serving as a colleague’s tenure advocate, and maybe taking over as the book review editor for a journal.

And that’s all just this quarter, though I should admit that I wouldn’t really have it any other way — I believe in and, in the final analysis, actually enjoy committee and governance work. As a friend recently mentioned, we eighteenth centuryists are born administrators!

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