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This summer, APSCUF is going behind the scenes to show you how faculty members and coaches continue to devote themselves to affordable, quality education even when class is not in session.

Eleanor Shevlin

Dr. Eleanor Shevlin, left, works with her Summer Undergraduate Research Institute student, Frederikia Wilson, on her history of African-Americans at West Chester University.

During the academic year, my work week runs from Monday through Sunday and entails a long list of tasks and duties that must be accomplished as well as a few that can carry over until the following week or beyond. In fact, this blog post is an example of a task that I very much wanted to complete in April but had to be postponed until semester was over due to more pressing responsibilities. Working from my e-calendar, scheduling software history, and written task-lists, the following recounts my work for the week of April 17. For the weekends, I have not included a blow-by-blow timeline but instead indicated the hours spent for each task.

Sunday:

  • Did curriculum and academic policy committee paperwork for change of MBA courses for graduate certificate program (2.5 hours)
  • Completed statement to accept nomination by executive committee of Modern Language Association for a three-year term on a specialist forum. (30 minutes)
  • Updated CV and wrote letter of interest for department’s graduate coordinator position (2.5 hours)
  • Graded four ENG 400 annotation, contextualization papers (2.5 hours)
  • Checked emails periodically throughout afternoon (see below)

Monday: Work from home in D.C.

  • 8:30 a.m. – As typical, I started my morning on April 18 with checking and responding to emails, spending 2.5 hours for the initial run through (emails cover a wide range, but many require responses; all are emails that came in after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday). The following offer a range that I receive and apply to this week:
    • students I am currently teaching
    • English majors interested in internships
    • other non-majors that I have previously taught
    • firms interested in securing interns
    • advisee questions
    • students interested in graduate publishing certificate
    • English majors seeking career help
    • business related to the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing
    • program review queries (in lieu of teaching a class, I serve as program review coordinator for the university; I am overseeing seven departments/programs for 2015–16, and in April I am also making contacting with the six programs that will undergo review in 2016-17).
    • emails related to East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in my role as president (none this week, though)
    • emails related to my department committee work (graduate advisory committee, executive committee, alumni and awards committee)
    • emails related to my university service (advising taskforce, university advisory assessment committee, ad hoc member of CAPC program review sub-committee, university advisory research council, Media & Culture)
  • 11 a.m. – Prepared document for SHARP
  • 11:30 a.m. – Reviewed 15 drafts of WRT 200 and 205 research papers with break at 1 p.m. for weekly PASSHE call regarding program review revisions (15 minutes).
  • 3:30–6:30 p.m. – Marked five ENG 400 annotation, contextualization papers
  • (check emails periodically throughout afternoon)
  • 8–9 p.m. – Prepared documents for ENG 400 University of Pennsylvania Rare Book visit and check emails
  • 9:30 p.m. – Left Washington, D.C., to drive up to West Chester
  • 12:30 a.m. – Arrived and re-read essay for ENG 400 course (30 minutes)

Tuesday:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Arrived at my office, checked out laptop for classes, and handled email
  • 7:50 a.m. – Made copies, arranged material for two WRT classes
  • 8:15 a.m. – Reviewed scheduling proposal materials for graduate committee meeting next day
  • 8:45 a.m. – Caught up on new mails (including reaching out to accepted students with requested information)
  • 9:15 a.m. – Assembled material for UPenn visit
  • 9:45 a.m. – Met with graduating major (not one of my advisees) to discuss career plans, review options, explain about Career Services
  • 10:20 a.m. – Returned to emails
  • 10:45 a.m.–2 p.m. – Taught WRT 205 (in Recitation) and WRT 200 (in Anderson)
  • 2 p.m. – Returned to office to drop off WRT 200 and 205 materials and pick up ENG 400 items and train tickets; met students at 2:40 p.m. at Bull lot to drive to Exton train
  • 3:15–9:45 p.m. – Took 3:24 p.m. from Exton to 30th Street Station. Arrived at UPenn rare book room at 4:30 p.m. I guided the 13 students in working with materials there until 6 p.m. We then took brief tour of Penn exhibit and had a working pizza dinner. Planned on taking an 8 p.m. or so train, but all trains very delayed; we arrived back at Exton much later than anticipated.
  • 10 p.m. – Returned to campus to handle emails, send ENG 400 students followup work (researched new info needed based on our Penn visit; scanned materials, sent thank-you note to UPenn), and review drafts of student cover letters and résumés for job and internship applications.
  • 12:30 p.m. – Leave for home

Wednesday:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Arrived at my office and handled email
  • 8 a.m. – Met with WRT 205 student to review her draft
  • 8:30 a.m. – Reviewed two more research drafts for later meeting
  • 9 a.m. – Initial meeting for Media & Culture interdisciplinary minor
  • 10 a.m. – Met with art professor Larry Wills to discuss his ART 315 course in terms of the graduate publishing certificate
  • 11 a.m. – Met with second WRT 205 student to review her draft
  • 11:40 a.m. – Checked email and gathered materials for graduate advisory committee (GAC) meeting
  • Noon – GAC meeting
  • 1:15 p.m. – Met with WRT 200 student to review her draft
  • 2 p.m. – Weekly meeting with grad assistant
  • 3 p.m. – Advising ceremony (received advising award)
  • 4 p.m. – Caught up on emails
  • 4:30 p.m. – Met with former microbiology/pre-med student about pursuing a literature minor or double-majoring
  • 5 p.m. – Met with student about internship
  • 5:30 p.m. – Caught up on emails, ordered books from PALCI, grade an ENG 400 annotation assignment.
  • 7 p.m. – Met with WRT 200 students to review drafts
  • 8 p.m. – Held phone conversation with prospective grad certificate publishing student
  • 8:30 p.m. – Reviewed more WRT 200 and WRT 205 drafts
  • 9:30 p.m. – Met with student interested in summer internship
  • 10 p.m. – Spoke by phone with WRT 200 student
  • 10:20 p.m. – Scanned new materials for ENG 503 summer course
  • 11–11:30 p.m. – Caught up in reading and responding to all emails

Thursday:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Arrived in office and began checking emails
  • 7:45 a.m. – Prepared editing materials and groups for WRT 200 class and exercises for WRT 205 class
  • 8:15 a.m. – Met with student about internship opportunities and requirements
  • 8:45 a.m. – Reviewed cover letter and résumé for a student’s internship application
  • 9:30 a.m. – Returned to reading and responding to emails
  • 10:15 a.m. – Met with WRT 200 student to review draft of research paper
  • 10:45 a.m.–2 p.m. – Taught WRT 205 (in Recitation) and WRT 200 (in Anderson)
  • 2 p.m. – Attended and participated in meeting for literature track
  • 3:20 p.m. – Attended and participated in department meeting
  • 4:20 p.m. – Attended Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony for our majors
  • 5:30 p.m. – Packed up and drove back to D.C.
  • 9-10:30 p.m. – Handled emails and responses and began reviewing drafts of ENG 400 contextual essays

Friday: Work from home in D.C.

  • 8:30 a.m. – Checked and responded to emails
  • 9:30 a.m. – Updated all program review materials for 2016-17 for upcoming meetings
  • 10:15 a.m. – Responded to 10 online requests for recommendations from various school districts for a graduating BSEd in English student (had written a three-page letter two weeks previously, so this letter often helped me speed up the process).
  • 11:30 a.m. – Checked and responded to emails
  • Noon – Reviewed two WRT 200 drafts
  • 1–3:30 p.m. – Wrote recommendation letter for student from spring 2013 to support her application to MS in Information and Library Sciences
  • 4:15–6:30 p.m. – Checked and responded to emails, including sending reminders via email, Twitter, and more regarding SHARP’s sponsorship of Folger’s Wonder of Will live-streaming event
  • 8:30–10 p.m.—Worked on developing 18th century historical map for ENG 400 project

Saturday:

  • Wrote a 1,300+ word post, “Scholarly Communication, Monetary Networks, and the Control of Knowledge” for Early Modern Online Bibliography, a scholarly blog I co-host/co-edit. (3.5 hours)
  • Worked with colleague from Penn State to devise panel and call for papers for the SHARP session at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 2017 conference. (1 hour)
  • Prepped for WRT 200/205 lessons on transforming a project from one completed using print medium to multimodal. (1 hour)
  • Worked on developing tools and instructions for using materials for website for ENG 400 seminar and completed related reading. (3.5 hours)
  • Checked email and responded throughout day and evening.

Dr. Eleanor Shevlin is an English professor at West Chester University.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 11:45

Contract update: Coaches negotiations

Coaches negotiations

Negotiators for APSCUF coaches and the State System met June 27. Click here to read today's press release.

The next coach session is slated for June 30.

Members, click here to sign up for text-message alerts about future contract news.

 

June 24 contract update

Negotiators for APSCUF and the State System met June 24. Click here to read Friday's press release.

The next faculty negotiations session is scheduled for July 19. The next coach session is slated for June 27.

Members, click here to sign up for text-message alerts about future contract news.

 

This summer, APSCUF is going behind the scenes to show you how faculty members and coaches continue to devote themselves to affordable, quality education even when class is not in session.

APSCUFlifeWellington062216I am the chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Shippensburg, and we pride ourselves on engaging our students outside the classroom. The walls of our hallway are filled with posters from students working on undergraduate research projects, and almost all of our faculty are involved with extracurricular activities.

Our department has a long programming team history – back to at least the mid-1980s. Every year, our students compete in local and regional competitions – everything from traditional academic competitions to hackathons, online competitions, and CS Games in Canada. Some years we are really good (We went to the World Finals of the ACM Programming Competition in 2003.), and some years we are not so good. Every year, it is a valuable experience for our students. To support our students in these competitions, our faculty run practices every week, during which we present a problem and the help the students figure out how to solve that problem. In addition, we coach competition strategies and skills for working with each other.

In recent years, our game development club has truly blossomed. Weekly meetings include 15 to 20 students who are all actively developing a variety of games. They have been accepted to present those games at MagFest and Too Many Games. We are very proud that they present as indie developers — not as a university club! Again, this means a faculty member is at that three-hour meeting every week coaching those students and helping with the development of those games.

About 10 years ago, our female students demanded we create an organization for them, and the result is WiCS-E. We meet once a week and build fun things. We have built a computer-controlled waterfall that the team has shown off at maker fairs, RobotFest in Baltimore, and the U.S. Science and Engineering Fair in Washington, D.C. When the students asked for this, I was skeptical. I had been a female engineer for decades and had never needed a group like this. However, over the years, I have watched our upper-division students mentor our freshmen, giving them support as they learn to succeed in a male-dominated field. The regular meetings and the travel are great bonding activities, and we have students who have said that they would not have persisted without this group.

In addition to the long-running extracurricular activities, we have a process that lets students create groups when an interest arises. Recently, we have had groups interested in hacker rank competitions, robotics, networks, security, and software engineering. Every time one of these groups is created, a faculty member commits to engaging in the subject, planning for and participating in weekly meetings, and supporting the students as they pursue the subject.

So, extracurricular activities require significant faculty time that isn’t contractual. Why do we bother? The easy answer is that the things students are learning in the extracurricular activities often reinforce what they are learning in class. For example, I may select a programming team problem that is similar to something we are doing in our introductory classes to give the students a deeper understanding of the class material. Similarly, a student developing a game is learning problem-solving and coding skills that will help in completing class work.

However, the benefit of extracurricular activities goes far beyond directly feeding back into the classroom. Every interaction I can have with a student is a teaching opportunity. Outside class, we get to know individual students in a different way than when we see them in class. We learn their individual strengths and weaknesses and have the opportunity to individually help them address those weaknesses. Because the environment is less formal than a classroom, we can mentor a student on nonacademic topics such as study skills, time management, roommate management, etc. That close faculty-student relationship allows us to support and strengthen our students in many ways that feed back into their academic success.

I am very proud of the way the faculty in my department engage in extracurricular activities. Our hallway is generally abuzz with activity, and the faculty commitment and dedication to those activities enriches our students’ academic experience beyond what we could do just in a classroom.

Dr. Carol Wellington is chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Shippensburg University.

Practice your pro-union discussion skills and learn about taking action for workers’ rights with a free training session at the state office.

Former West Chester APSCUF President Lisa Millhous, who underwent Common Sense Economics training with AFL-CIO, has volunteered to share that knowledge with APSCUF members 2–3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at APSCUF's Harrisburg building.

“I think it would be powerful to help faculty understand how we ended up in an environment that is working against our contract negotiations (and our students’ best interests),” Millhous said.

To reserve your spot at the Harrisburg session, email Lisa Demko at ldemko@apscuf.org.

Teaching is a mammoth part of faculty members’ — and coaches’ — jobs, but their work does not end when students leave the classroom or field. There’s preparation, advising, grading (lots and lots of grading), research, and more.

This summer, APSCUF is going behind the scenes to show you how faculty members and coaches continue to devote themselves to affordable, quality education even when class is not in session.

For our inaugural post, meet Christine Karpinski, an assistant professor of nutrition at West Chester University.

APSCUFlife-karpinski

I want to start off by saying that I love my job. I taught my first class in 1999 and immediately found my calling, after having worked outside of academia for 10 years. This blog post is in no way a complaint about my workload.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t exaggerate, and my stories are always short and to the point. So let me get to the point: I work an average of 60 to 70 hours per week during a semester. Oh, did I mention that the 60 to 70 hours includes Saturdays and Sundays? Anyone who doesn’t understand that faculty must work on weekends doesn’t understand what it takes to manage four courses per semester and an average of 120 students.

So let me explain how those hours add up. Let me start on the weekend, because that’s truly where it begins. I typically work for 10 hours each weekend. This entails grading weekly assignments and larger papers/projects. Then there are the emails (about 20 per day). I also need to prep for the upcoming week. I never teach the exact same material in any given semester, so I am constantly updating my notes, slide, handouts, etc. Oh, and then there are more emails.

In my current position, I teach four classes per semester, so I’m standing in front of a classroom full of students for 12 hours each week, but that’s the easiest part of my job. I advise about 60 students about their schedules and professional aspirations, which adds up to a minimum of 900 minutes each semester. Then there are my five office hours, when any student or advisee can pop in with questions or concerns. In between classes and office hours, I spend several hours a day organizing, grading, and answering emails. These hours also entail collaborating with fellow faculty on projects, scholarship, and service. My most time-consuming service is my work with the WCU athletes for more than six years: providing nutrition services. For the past few years, I have mentored a group of nutrition undergraduate students who are interested in working with athletes. Mentoring these students adds many more hours to my work with the athletes than if I had just done the work myself — but it’s important work. Lastly, I attend approximately three to four hours of department and committee meetings every week. My service on these committees at all levels varies week to week, but on average takes about three hours of my time. Outside of all of this is my scholarship — which often falls by the wayside during a semester.

All told, I work an average of 10 hours per day, 10 hours per weekend, and several evenings each week. What I’ve told you is the truth — and I find great satisfaction in every hour I give to my job.

By the way, I haven’t even discussed the innumerable hours I work each winter and summer (while off contract) to prepare for the next semester, and to continue with my writing, research, and service. But that’s for another day …

Christine Karpinski is a board-certified specialist in sports nutrition and an assistant professor in West Chester University’s department of nutrition.

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Harrisburg PA 17101
717-236-7486
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qualityeducation@apscuf.org
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