I've been doing some department head stuff all summer -- mostly course placements for new international students and keeping an eye on course registrations, which were tricky for the senior courses -- but things have gotten real this past week, moving from behind-the-scenes work to more public work.
On Friday we had a department Technology Day, which the "real" department head, Dr. B, had blithely scheduled and then promptly left on sabbatical so that it was up to me to plan it. It wasn't a big deal, honestly; the biggest pain in the butt was providing lunch and food for a happy hour afterward, when I keep swearing to myself that I will stop taking on jobs that require me to feed people. But it was the first public thing I was doing as English department head, and I was nervous beforehand ... but at the beginning of that week I decided to make my anxious personality type work for me. So I made "to do" lists and crossed things off and double-checked things, and the result was that everything went off swimmingly. (My therapist likes to remind me that obsessive people do tend to get a lot accomplished.) There was one thing on the agenda that we didn't get to because the publisher screwed up, but that wasn't my fault and no one even noticed (it was the last item), and I felt fine. I had some social anxiety about the happy hour afterward at a colleague's house, because folks started letting me know that they couldn't stay for it, and I immediately felt like a loser host even though it was clearly not about me at all, but in the end, it was lovely -- just the two new hires and the host and me, and I think the new folks really appreciated a low-key social opportunity and the chance to get to know each other (since they hadn't met before that day). So it's all good.
It's true that Co-Author seems not to be talking to me -- there was one instance in which she asked a question about how to do something, and I showed her and was rebuffed ("I'm not on that page, WN"), so I showed one of the new folks, and then Co-Author promptly asked that new person to show her how to do it -- but we're emailing in a perfectly polite way, so I don't even really care. And again I have to remind myself that not everything is all about me; Co-Author is the oldest or second oldest department member and is definitely the most tech-obtuse, and I'm sure a day devoted to technology was a stressful day for her.
Next week I'll lead my first department meeting, which I think will be fine; I've been working on the agenda tonight and realizing that there's plenty to do -- for some reason, running out of things to do is one of my biggest fears, which I think is unfounded.
But here's the kicker: I was just looking through material that the Academic Dean sent to all of the department heads, and guess how many of the department's twelve full- and part-time faculty members are up for evaluation this year?
You give up?
Try SEVEN! That's right -- seven of the twelve. So I'll have goal meetings in September and two class observations and write-ups of those observations and evaluation meetings in May for each of them. And Co-Author is one of those seven; sigh. And then for the remaining four members (not counting me), I'll do a single class observation and an individual meeting with each.
Plus there are two curriculum proposals that I wrote last spring and will be responsible for shepherding through the curriculum committee this fall.
I am pretty confident that I'm going to more than earn my course release for being department chair this year! Fortunately, other than Co-Author, everyone is lovely and supportive and is clearly eager to make things work smoothly in the department, so I think I'm in a pretty fortunate position, all told.