February 11, 2016

Task force

So far this year, I have been posting every three days, but this week just got so hectic! I had submitted a proposal for an Independent Study that I never heard back from, and then, four weeks into the semester, it showed up on my schedule. I'd made a shell of a class, but since I hadn't heard back, I figured it wasn't approved and didn't do much of the prep work. So I spent a lot of this past week scrambling to get a few weeks of material together.

We also had a huge meeting last week with the Dean of our college - it was late in the afternoon, and I had to pick up Noah from daycare, so I asked one of my colleagues to send me a text if it was anything important. Turns out, it was: we are going to get our own Languages department within the College. (Right now, we are part of the Communication department, which is a strange combination - we have similar goals, but very different needs as far as teaching and administration.) So the Dean gave his proposal, explained his vision a little, and told everyone that we could choose to stay in our current department, or we could move to the new department. He said he'd be putting together a task force to work on forming the new department, but that he was hopeful about what this could bring to the College as well as to the University as a whole.

Yesterday, the phone rang in my office, and I looked at the caller ID: it was from the Dean. Not the Dean's office. Him. Personally. This is kind of a BFD ... there are about eight or ten people between us who could relay a message. But he called me. Directly. And asked me to represent non-Hispanic languages on his Department Formation Committee.

I kept my cool on the phone, but after, I did a little happy dance in my office. There are a lot of people in this department, and he asked me. I had met with him late last semester while we were nominating department heads for our current Communication department, and he asked what my goals were at this school. I told him entirely honestly: I want to see languages grow to where we have our own standalone department, and I want to be as involved in administration as I can - I'd love to be the coordinator of the French program. I don't have a PhD, but I know my job and I love both teaching and supervising, and that's what I'd love to do long-term.

Maybe he called other people first and they said no. Doesn't matter. I'd like to think he remembered our chat and wants to see what I can bring to this new department.

This semester, things feel different. I'm not the newest faculty member anymore, and I've taught enough courses/enough students to generally understand what to expect each semester. It's getting easier, and I've established myself to my department head (and to my Dean) as a determined and tenacious go-getter who has great ideas and big plans. It's been a rocky couple of years working here, but I'm finally hitting my stride and figuring out what I can do to make this a great job for me.

Even beyond the work itself getting easier, I think a lot of things are getting easier/better at work because my confidence is on the rise. When I am very big, I am fairly quiet. I do my work and I do it well, but I don't stick my neck out too much. But now, just like back in 2010 and in California, I am more outgoing and I am more vocal. I get myself out there. I make myself seen. I stand up for myself - and for our program.

This is such an incredible feeling. I love this assertiveness just as much as I love the smaller clothes.

Maybe even a little more.