Service to the English Department

When I left the Community Writing Center, and returned to full-time teaching, I dedicated myself to serving my home department by providing the administrative and organizational skills that I had developed during my tenure at the CWC.   The English department is the second largest department on campus, and probably the most active one, which means that so much is going on at all times that it can become a very messy environment within which to communicate and to belong. I wanted to serve by bringing some structure and systems to the department that would increase fairness, honor contributions, and improve sharing of information.

Just prior to my departure from the CWC, the English department was tasked with submitting a Zero-Based Budget Proposal as part of a two-department pilot that would lead to the entire college turning to such budgeting processes. This is no small task, and as one of the few faculty members who had budget experience, I was asked to lead the project. This was in the same year that I was leading the recovery of the CWC after the 2008 budget crisis and also preparing it for transition to the new director. This was an intense process that required a complete re-examination of all elements of English department activities and their costs. My role on the committee moved from chair, to lead investigator, lead budget developer, and lead writer of the proposal. I learned a lot from the experience.

The following year, I led the development of a travel funding process that would allow our large department to prioritize travel requests in an equitable and purposeful manner. This highly contentious process was ultimately approved by the department, but then not used when travel funding appeared to open up again. The document may possibly be resurrected now that travel requests are being processed at the department and school levels.

The next year, I turned my attention to our unwieldy course offerings after the Scheduling office drew our attention to an ineffective clustering of courses around days and times that faculty preferred to teach.   This applied to both our composition and non-composition course offerings. Working with the English department administration, I analyzed the scheduling and enrollment of all English courses over the previous three years. I made recommendations to the Associate Dean regarding the number of courses that should be offered each semester, and a two-year rotating schedule of courses so that all students could complete an English major within two years at both the Redwood and South City campuses. This proposal was then approved by the department and has served as the organizational system for our course offerings since. I also established an on-line system of schedule requests that has reduced the amount of checking and re-checking for the coordinator and faculty.

When I became English Coordinator the following year, in addition to facilitating the staffing of ENGL courses and providing training for adjunct faculty, I looked at our department’s internal communication systems among both full-time faculty and adjunct faculty, and how we communicated our department’s presence on the college website. I took on the task of re-doing the department’s website, and also led the revision of the department mission statement. I also created a departmental intranet website through which we could archive our policy documents, course curriculum outlines, meeting minutes, committee objectives and outcomes and course resources. This resource then led to the creation of a Canvas site for adjunct faculty that contained course resources for the entire composition sequence of courses that I created along with Justin Jory the next year. This Canvas site has since become a hub of activity for all composition curriculum matters.

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