So, as of 9:00 this morning ... I am in fact the interim English department chair for next year!
I had totally psyched myself up that I wasn't going to get it, and I had re-read nicoleandmaggie's comment from yesterday to put myself in the right frame of mind to hear the news. But lo and behold, what the head of school wanted to tell me was that the decision had been entirely unanimous, that everyone in the department and administration wanted me for the job. So all right then!
It turns out that I'm pleased about this -- quietly but definitely pleased. I certainly wasn't sure that this would be the case, and it may well not remain the case for the entire year, but it is at least true for today.
The Head of School is going to call my dear friend and former colleague (DFAFC) tonight and offer her the sabbatical replacement job, but of course sans the department head role. So this morning the Head and I chatted about what courses and additional roles DFAFC should be offered. And I must say that I liked being consulted about all of this. Figuring out coverage of all of the different courses and other responsibilities is a big ol' puzzle every year, I know, and I'm a little scared about whether I can figure out that puzzle well, but it turns out I'm really pleased to get the opportunity.
I don't know whether I'm so pleased just because I have a desperate need to be recognized and praised or because I have a legitimate interest in department chair-ship, but I'm not going to worry about that parsing that and am just going to go with enjoying it.
Three things that will be on the docket for me and other folks to figure out in the near future:
- To what extent is the current Department Chair included in this spring's decisions that affect next year? The Head asked me that this morning and then immediately said, "Let's both think about this and come back together and talk about it." I see some potential trouble here with the current Chair feeling left out of things, but I very much appreciate that the Head stressed, "We want you to have agency. YOU will be department chair next year, so the decisions that affect next year need to be yours." One could certainly look at a one-year interim chair position as simply a place holder, as one whose only responsibility is maintaining the status quo, and she was very clear that this is not the way she sees the position.
- One of the first decisions that will have to be worked out, either with or without the current Chair, is the big puzzle of coverage for classes for next year, which will be complicated by the fact that we'll be short by a couple of sections, as we were this year. The way that we managed it this year is to hire two people for one course each, neither of which has worked out beautifully for different reasons. So staffing will be the first challenge. I wish I were going to start with an easier task, but oh well.
- Something that the Head and I didn't talk about (and perhaps she doesn't even know about it): Department Chair wants us to redo our senior courses, which I'm all in favor of ... but I don't really agree with the proposals she's made about those changes. I've mostly kept a low profile in these discussions because I was following my "hey, I'm not the chair, and I don't teach seniors; why agitate myself to no end?" philosophy, but now I have a real stake in this. Any changes that we make will go to the Curriculum Committee next year, which means I'll be shepherding them through, but Chair wants to have the whole proposal and its attendant paperwork put together by this spring. So now I have to navigate through this spring and try to work out a proposal that we can all live with. This will be a challenge!