Monday, August 15, 2005

Not the greatest first day back ...

The final project for the students in my field course was to write a summary report of their work. Unfortunately, I spent more than three hours this afternoon finding the websites one of my students used to plagiarize their paper. My report on the plagiarism ended up filling 10 pages (most of it comparing the student's report to the text of more than a dozen different websites), and I still have more to do.

After turning in my grades for the summer session (yay!), I got the bad news from my dean that my lab sections for the fall semester are underenrolled. This appears to be a worrisome trend covering our entire biology majors program. We have little information as to the cause, but it's possible that a shortage of classes in our chemistry program is preventing students from getting the prerequisites needed to take our biology courses (one commonly required chemistry course filled up within hours of the start of registration last semester). Other possible causes are that our class schedules (which have been slightly shifted) are conflicting with other courses, or that demand is going down.

Regardless of the cause, if more students don't enroll in my lab sections, at least one of my labs will be cancelled, meaning I'll have to find another lab or course to teach this semester, or teach an overload next semester. I've already sent out an e-mail to some of last year's students to see if they have any ideas about what is causing the decline; hopefully we can get some good data from them.

And, to top things off, it looks like the lab tech who sets up my course (as well as some others) may not be available starting in a few weeks, and thus we're going to have to scramble to find more help (or I'll get to set everything up myself).

And I've only been in town less than 24 hours ... sheesh.

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