Continuing to think about this “kitchen cabinet” of mine (thanks, What Now?, for the apt phrase). Also thinking of asking a colleague whose main role is elsewhere in the school, but who was originally an English teacher and continues to teach one or two classes in the English department. Actually, this is a little disingenuous as I am not entirely sure of the quality of this person’s advice, but I am thinking that to go and ask explicitly for help and advice would be a politic thing to do–perhaps might actually help me “manage” this person better, to the extent that “managing people” describes what I am actually going to be doing. Is this too conniving, I wonder?
In other news, we’re going to be hiring someone else, apparently, because we are a little bit understaffed: we’re losing Elinor, who has a full load, and her nominal replacement, Ph.D. Guy, will probably teach at least one history course, so we’re down 20-25% of a teacher right there; also, Gamma is taking a slightly lighter schedule when she comes back from maternity leave, so we’re down another 10%; plus, if we’re covering Gamma’s four courses in-house, that means a diversion of essentially another 20-25% of a load. Add in having an English teacher do the journalism course (which hasn’t been the case in recent years, but will soon be the case again, apparently), and you’ve got pretty much a whole new teacher right there. And there’s always a chance that Gamma won’t be able or willing to come back after maternity leave, so it’s not a bad year to be a bit overstaffed, if possible.
This will give me the opportunity to shadow Dr. Tea through the hiring process, although as with the other issues I’ve come in on recently, it will take up about as much time as if I were already the chair myself, without actually sparing Dr. Tea any work. Oh well–at least it will be worth the time spent if we wind up with a really good hire.