Like many, this week is back-to-school week for me. New classes, new preps, new students, new schedule. One of the great things about the academic life has to be the newness of a new term. Keeps things from getting boring. I've always gotten a two-day teaching schedule at UMD (this term I'm a Tuesday/Thursday guy), another perk, but one that results in long days.
Yesterday: no exception. Early lunch--UM-Dearborn's pattened box lunches--at a "freshpersons meet the faculty" event. Followed by robing and procession across campus for freshpersons convocation. Convocation's an odd throw-back of a ceremony where we teachers suit up in the robes and what-not. Faculty who are Michigan graduates recognize one another's hoods and give each other huzzahs. I think I'm the only person at my school whose doctorate is from U of Arizona, so I miss out on the "here here"s, but I take part each year nonetheless. At convocation, new students (fitiacs as well as transfers) here from the chancellor, the dean of admissions, and the president of the student body. A little bit of rah rah, a lot of welcome to higher ed, and always some interesting data on the new class. For example, this year we've got 915 first-years and 750 transfer students, which represents pretty agressive growth. Anyhow an ice cream social follows convocation.
And then some blessed downtime, during which I worked on an RSA conference proposal in my office. Early evening meeting-dinner with new students in our masters in liberal studies program. I teach in the program and serve on the program's advisory board, so this is another "must attend." About eleven hours on campus--I need to build my stamina for the long days.