I owe regular readers an explanation for the lengthy hiatus on this blog.
As I had predicted would happen back in the summer, this semester turned into an extremely busy one for me.
Directing the Environmental Studies program at the University of Vermont is a large part of that busyness: it’s a large, interdisciplinary and cross-college program of nearly 500 undergraduate majors, which has seen its student numbers climb consistently over several years while faculty and staff numbers have actually declined. This has led to a barely sustainable staffing situation, though we are far from unique in that respect. Directing it involves a lot of advising (those 500 students) and overseeing of a somewhat complicated and highly individualized curriculum, reading and signing off on paperwork, organizing, leading and/or attending various kinds of meetings (in three different Schools and Colleges), overseeing the teaching of courses including our Students-Teaching-Students courses, putting out little fires as these arise on a somewhat regular basis, and so on.