The Faculty Meeting

We had a faculty meeting today to learn the state of affairs of our department. The university is bankrupt and the administration is trying to cut corners everywhere. Like most large organizations, they are penny wise and pound foolish. They cut the minor things while letting the large expenditures continue needlessly. This is not only evident to me, but to my Hungarian colleagues who are just as helpless to do anything about it. Government at its worst, the country does not matter. We are still fighting to maintain a department at all, the university wants to combine departments, thus lessening staff at the same time. Our American Studies major has been reduced to a concentration within the English Department as of this September with the advent of the Bologna Plan instituted within 44 countries. We were informed that the perception of the public as well as the administration is that we are just another glorified language school without any other purpose. Therefore, we must do whatever is in our power to change that perception. We are after all, a program to teach about American culture, history, and literature in the English language, not a language school. The options for my colleague and I are limited since neither of us speak Hungarian, but we will brainstorm what we can do in the English press. The other unfortunate news was that our teaching load will increase starting next semester. Although I am one course short this semester, due to the new programs, it behooves me to have to add yet additional courses. Needless to say, the lower the rung on the ladder, the harder hit one becomes. We lectors will have to teach 14 hours a week, the associate professors 12 hours a week, while the professors have 8 hours a week. Now, I do understand that this is the same way in the States, but it is lop-sided. Those at the bottom need the extra time to do the work to move up the ladder. With an added burden of extra classes, this does not give them that luxury to fit in the needed research and writing to be upwardly mobile. The real shocker was that one of our classes would be a lecture and could conceivably be up to 150 students or more. This lecture will be divided between my colleague and myself, but there are 300 new students this semester. In reality, the scales of equity could be unfavorably tipped by the time offering of the course. One of us could have 200 students, while the other has 100. There is no way we will require papers due for this course with that many students. Added to this course, we will have six other courses to teach at a higher level than freshmen. This is going to have a dramatic impact on the quality time I am able to spend with my students. Next semester looks like this. American Culture Survey lecture American Culture Tutorial Language Practice IV – A cultural themed based class Ethnicities in the US II Critical Thinking Gay Films in the US On top of all of this, I am supervising six teaching thesis students and two Masters thesis students. I will be praying for summer break starting in March.