Friday, January 9, 2015
Hiram is Baffled By His Own Committee.
We review adjunct hiring in our department once a year or so, making sure the part-timers are doing a good job. Oh, God, I don't mean we visit the instructors and offer help. No, that'd be too much work, and when I asked about it I was told it was "overkill."
So in a meeting yesterday, we filled in 5 new empty first year sections from a pool of about 8 part-timers who taught with us last term or at least in the past year. Two veterans got 2 sections each, and we had one section left over.
I know Part-Time Patricia, a funny and bright woman who is likable and quirky and just a delight. She has been here a couple of years, and she comes to the occasional department meeting. She's regaled me with stories from her world, freeway flying, and they stun me. But her attitude is fantastic, and I admit she seems smarter and more diligent about teaching undergrads than anyone else in the department, including me.
So, I said, "Let's give it to Patricia. She's dynamite."
The chair nodded, the Dean's office person tapped away, and then the vice chair pulled out some papers.
"I've got her evaluations here," she said. "They aren't very good. You can tell she's not a favorite with the students."
I was handed the papers first and THEY WERE PRINTED COPIES OF RATE MY PROFESSOR. They were mostly positive, but some angry kids had raked Patricia over the coals in the following examples: "She grades to [sic] hard," "I came late once and she made fun of me," "There's too much writing," "She won't let me email my essays," "I think she gives more help to the A students."
"What about the real evaluations," I said.
"Oh, they're about the same," the vice chair said.
"Do you have them?"
"Not with me, but I looked them over."
"Is there time to get them?"
The chair said, "No, let's just wrap this up."
I'd go on, but I just can't. The chair gave the class to someone else instead, someone I don't know.
I just slumped - I'm given to slumping.
The vice chair smiled, and we started to dismiss.
At the end it was just me and the Dean's office person.
"That's bad luck, huh?" the Dean's office person said.
"For everyone," I said.