e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu

6/10/2014

i'll have my usual

I like the quiet of the summer. The picture window in my office has an even greener view than usual and the hallways and nearby honors student lounge, the latter like a dorm room from September until April, have little traffic. The Writing Center down the hall is only open for a half day. Our program's two computer classrooms only offer a few sections of composition. It might get loud on days when faculty come in to read placement essays (every other Monday give or take) but other than that, it's the sound of my keyboard, maybe a spotify playlist.

(Inexplicably, I began to suffer migraines during a quiet May-June, in 2009. I had my worst relapse about a week ago. Maybe I like the peace but the peace doesn't like me.)

I mostly like the summer's imbalance too, how I never quite find a routine. I mostly work on campus on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and stay home to write on Tuesdays and Fridays, though that fluctuates as needed. I prioritize, do program/administrative things that must be done (placement, placement appeals, scheduling, decisions about classrooms and curriculum, communicate with the dean's office, monitor enrollments), set the agenda for the coming academic year (professional development sessions, speakers we plan to invite, curriculum revision in light of our new gen ed program), and then work on the studio program we hope to launch in 2015 to replace our soon-to-be-abolished "basic writing" program: compiling data, writing a fuller rationale, developing sample syllabi, figuring out what resources we'd need to pull it off as we hope.

And then the writing. Working on two book chapters, both collaboratively written, both with friends/colleagues in the Middle East. The privilege of tenure: not worrying about how promotion&tenure will judge collaboration. Working on some additional basic writing research that's connected directly to the administrative stuff we're doing in our program and that's the basis of both a presentation next month (WPA conference) and hopefully next year (4Cs conference). And a "basic writing" syllabus for the Fall that's also connected to that research and will perhaps be the last time the course is offered. Somehow it's all somewhat coherent--the syllabus connects to the research connects to the program administration. But it's all out of balance. I work randomly--I need a break from the writing and work on something else for a few days. Screw routines.

Much happening. Did I mention I like the quiet? And I like the paradox too: the peaceful surface. Underneath, lots and lots of stuff happening. The usual summer.

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