The First Three Weeks of Full-Time Professor Life

In this blog section, I am going to be as honest as possible. I want anyone who is reading who may be considering becoming a professor or who is also new to being a professor will get a sense of what they are getting into/they are not alone. I hope I do not offend anyone, that is not my intention. We each have our own things that get under or skin and excite us. Happy reading everyone.

Full-Time Professor Life

Here I am, sitting in my office on a Friday afternoon. I am just trying to take stock of what has happened over the last three weeks. There have been some really good things and some bad things. I will express these things below. However, regardless of the good and bad, it has been a learning experience and I am sure it will continue to be one.

If you have ever adjuncted, which is what I was doing previously, you know, you come for class and then leave. You have no extra responsibilities. Some schools do require their adjuncts to hold office hours but others do not. Full-Time Professor Life entails a lot more. I have a unique position because I am teaching both photography and art history. I am in charge of developing an art appreciation class that anyone can teach if need be. I also take care of making sure the darkroom and lighting studio are fully operational. In addition to these things, I am now the department person for the Distance Education Council. On my own, I have decided to help the Title V coordinator with developing diversity training. I am going to be on a focus group to get discussions started and I may sound record my experiences with diversity. This should be fun. Diversity is something I am interested in as I have been exposed to lots of cultural diversity and I am generally interested because of the current resistance to diversity here in the United States. Diversity, it is here and things are only going to become more diverse, so I hope I can be apart of the solution.

Classes have been going fine. I have two online classes: art appreciation and art history survey I. I am also teaching black and white (darkroom) photography face-to-face. I have had a few hick-ups with art appreciation in terms of the online quizzes I have made. Mark a few questions with the wrong answers. However, the students have let me know, so it is an easy fix. In Art History I, I can not think of anything that has been a problem for the students. In this class, I am using an online textbook. It has quizzes built in and scheduling these has been a pain. You have to publish the dates twice and they are difficult to change. Other than that it is great, you can use the questions they have made, you can switch them out from a larger question bank and you can make your own. You can listen to the book which is great if you are an auditory learner rather than a reading learner, or you can do both.

Photography class is going pretty well. The students are great, they come to class and pay attention and seem like they are interested in learning. The facilities on the other hand are a mess. There is a leaking pipe under one of the sinks which was changed but still leaks. There are fourteen enlargers but only thirty work (there are twenty students). Furthermore, there was some chemistry issues when I got here, but I have fixed them all. If you have ever processed black and white film, you know what photo flo is. It is supposed to be clear and oderless. However, when I got here, it stank, it was pink and it had fuzz growing in it. I think a moth or something got trapped inside but I am not sure. I also changed out the chemical dispensers. I did not get the spouts on tight enough and my drums were leaking. One night, a gallon of fixer had leaked onto the floor. Ha! The classroom attached to the photo lab is not exactly up and running. The computer and projector are not connected, so I can not show any Powerpoints. I gave a lecture on the early history of photography and just walked around the room with my Surface Pro to show the students the images. Good times. I am told they are working on the situation now. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

All that being said, I spend a lot of time in my office. I do not have internet at home, so I can not do much there. And with only one face-to-face class, it leaves lots of office time! So my office is my new best friend.

Today we had our second department meeting. It was good times, no fighting here. Everyone is flexible and agreeable. Last year, the faculty began restructuring the curriculum. We will continue this this semester. They have gotten of to a good start, as if they could read my mind. On the old degree plan, the students only have to take one upper level art history class. But it looks like everyone seems on board to change that to two classes. That is what seems right to me. Photography is also getting moved to the requirements for the degree which is nice. It is not right now. Only two of my students this semester in photo are art majors. I like interacting with students from across the campus but I think it would be great if the art majors needed to take the class. We also discussed trying to add licensing to the program so that students are able to teach elementary art when they graduate and one of my colleagues suggested creating an art history major, I said we should focus it on a minor first. I had thought about this already and I would love to do it.

Well that has been my first three weeks. If you are a professor and have any feedback let me know below. Feel free to share your faculty or student experiences!

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Funky Photo Flo

Film processing sink

Paper processing sink

By |2018-09-07T16:46:13+00:00September 11th, 2018|Assistant Professor|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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