Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Meetings and Food

It's been a banner week for meetings and food here in the Math Department.

Last night I had dinner with another candidate (that would be my third candidate meal this job season).

Today I've already been to two meetings.

The first one had no food; I was running it. One of the main topics of the meeting was "When I look at the overall grade distribution for all sections of the course, the mode should not be an F." This was a controversial position. Ironically, the instructor who was most vocal about our poorly-prepared students and how little they know and how we should fail them all is the same person whose mode was an A and whose median was a B. This instructor wants very much to be liked by the students.

Second meeting was a presentation by a Big Name Textbook Author about how to improve the success rate in the course that we teach out of his book. One of the author's tips seemed to improve success rate possibly at the cost of reducing the measurement potential of the assessments. (Read: Two class periods before the exam give the students a practice exam that is the same as the real exam except with the numbers changed, go over the practice exam the class before the test, and allow the students to bring a crib sheet into the real exam.) This meeting had food (box lunches from Panera; I had extra dessert). The book reps who were chaperoning the author were writing snarky notes back and forth to each other during the presentation.

This afternoon there are colloquium cookies.

My job may not pay well, but it's doing a pretty good job of keeping me fed this week.