Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On to Year Two

It's that timeIt's tough to believe that a full year has gone by already. The fall semester starts in five days, so it's time to finish up syllabi and make sure the semester research plan is in order. I'm teaching two sections of my regular course (Abnormal Psychology) and a new course for me (Personality & Individual Differences; P-ID). I'm hoping that I'll find myself in a comfortable rhythm with Abnormal and that I'll be able to devote a bit more attention to P-ID. 

The latter is not only new, but intriguing. It's based on the question of "what makes people different?" Meaning that we can cover anything that differs between people, which is A LOT. In addition to the typical personality-related material (theory, testing), I've added content related to gender, body image, optimism, health, regulatory focus, and stress. Then students get to choose constructs that are not covered by the syllabus and present them to the class. The goal is to discuss as many areas of interest as possible, and also to contrast the P-ID approach with a within-person process approach. We'll see how this goes over with undergraduates. No Twitter and no tech tools this time. Though I look forward to using those with my Health Psychology class in the Spring :)

Also, progress. In addition to preparing for courses, there is the necessary "tenure track progress update" to make sure that I'm on target for demonstrating a positive trajectory. It's this piece that I find myself wondering about these days. I have another self-report due at the beginning of October, so I get to start building my case, rather than just summarizing what I've done this year. 

I met the goals I set for myself last year, which seems like a good start. I have real course evaluations and they're pretty good; I have more students participating in research and I'm moving from internal to external grant proposals. That's what I've got so far. More to come when I figure out the rest.

The fun stuff. But before I worry too much about my official paperwork, I'm taking a page out of Nyasha Junior's book and giving myself some off-the-official-record awards. For 2014-2015 (year one), I give myself the following:

10. Most internal grant proposals by a first-year faculty member
9. Best effort to use social media in the classroom (Twitter, "the dress")
8. Most enthusiastic about teaching research methods in every class
This morning's iced coffee.
7. Best attendance at first-year faculty mentoring events (100%, y'all)
6. Best smothering of automatic laughter in response to ridiculous comments
5. Best food at lab meetings
4. Best effort to teach through laryngitis during the first week of class
3. Most trips to the campus Starbucks for 50-cent coffee refills
2. Most recorded "no" responses (to requests for service) from a first-year faculty member
1. Least fearful of speaking up and getting involved (among junior faculty)

Thanks to Nyasha (@NyashaJunior) for this great idea, and to Kevin Gannon (@TheTatooedProf) for his fantastic and welcoming Academic New Year's Resolution post. 

This is your life moment of the week: We all could use a good year, so my goal is to focus on the positive :) And to take a damn vacation.

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