01 October 2007

celebrate, coordinate, and celts

Golly, it's October already and I've not blogged in more than a week. It seems as if each week is busier and crazier than the one before.

Last week was taken up with all the ordinary school stuff - including catching up on lots of grading (80 quizzes, 200 homeworks) after having been sick and falling behind. Wednesday included a Core Advisory Board meeting. On Thursday we had a tenure review meeting for one of my colleagues and then a really nice departmental dinner out at a tavern in honor of a retiring colleague who has ongoing health problems. Friday was our bi-weekly faculty meeting for those of us teaching Doubles courses in the Core.

Last week also included Laurel's birthday. On Wednesday evening my parents took us all out to eat to celebrate. Thursday, after she was done school, I took Claire shopping for Laurel - she picked out a nice silver necklace and earrings. Saturday we spent the whole day up in Bethlehem at the Celtic Classic music festival, which is always a lot of fun and how we've celebrated Laurel's birthday almost every year. Claire especially seems to enjoy Irish and Scottish traditional music and keeps begging for Irish dance lessons. On Sunday, Laurel's sister Robin and her husband came to town and took us out to an Indian restaurant to celebrate Robin and Laurel's birthdays, which are only a couple of days apart.

There were also several church events this past weekend. Friday night was a dinner and meeting for our parish's small group leaders, which involved a great discussion about a book we'd all read together, along with a lot of good conversation, fellowship, pizza, and beer. Sunday Laurel helps with music for the liturgy and in the evening there was the first monthly dinner for college students involved with our church. They seem like a really great bunch of students and I look forward to getting to know them better.

In the midst of all this busy week, the Dean of Arts and Sciences showed up at my office to offer me a position coordinating a new initiative for freshman as part of the Provost's "Freshman Year Institute" - and gave me until today to respond.

Briefly, the goal is to find ways to bring pairs of professors together with small groups of 6 to 8 freshmen in order to spend time together, engage in good conversation, and draw students into some of the kinds of interests and research that professors pursue but might not always make it into freshman classes. It's a great opportunity (which I've accepted) and, I hope, will help further develop our campus intellectual culture.

And that, folks, is a recap of the past week.