Friday, December 19, 2014
December 19, 2014: Semester Recaps: Three Other Reflections
[The Fall 2014 semester is coming to a close, and as usual I wanted to end the semester with some reflections on my courses and other conversations, leading up to a weekend post on some anticipations of spring (and not just the season; although, yes). I’d love to hear some of your Fall 2014 reflections in comments!]
Three other quick thoughts on aspects of my fall semester (not including the De Lange conference, about which see this week’s series of posts!):
1) I Have A Lot to Learn about Canada: My two book talks in Toronto went incredibly well, largely due to the very gracious hosts at each site. And they left me with numerous aspects of Canadian history and identity into which I need to look further, both for the many ways they interestingly parallel U.S. histories and identities and for many provocative differences. To name one interesting such duality: Canada has its own Chinese Exclusion Act (1923), one that parallels the U.S. law in most respects; but because Canada only became fully independent from England in the late 20th century, many of its overall histories of immigration, citizenship, and related legal and social issues are hugely distinct from those of the U.S. I look forward to learning more!
2) Strategic Planning Matters: Sure, I knew in an abstract way that FSU’s Strategic Planning process, on which I had the chance to work this fall as part of the Academic Values Working Group, represented a significant series of conversations and documents. But here’s an example of a far more tangible product of my Working Group’s efforts than I was expecting: we decided to make support for faculty work (both research and service) one of the values we believe FSU should embody, and so recommended specific and substantive improvements to the university’s release-time policies to provide such support. We’ll see whether and how that becomes part of the overall Strategic Plan—but our own conversations and statements (which are on the record) represent an important contribution in any case, it seems to me.
3) My Colleagues Rock: Like the lesson about public school teachers I highlighted in yesterday’s post, this is something I’ve known for a long time. But this fall I felt it anew, for lots of reasons but I’ll highlight this one: two of my FSU English Studies colleagues, Joe Moser and Frank Mabee, were on sabbatical, pursuing their own next projects and enjoying some well-deserved rejuventation time. I hope they’ve been great semesters for both (maybe they’ll share some details in comments!), but I’ve missed them greatly, and I’ll sure be glad to have them back come January.
Spring plans this weekend,
PS. What stands out from your semester or fall?