Where did today go? The uninterrupted hours of writing never materialized, and it was a scattershot working day. The coach voice in me knows I could have shut the door, refused to take calls, answer emails, or see people, but I made different choices, and as a consequence I still have more writing to do tomorrow. Lots more.
Yet the day turned out to be full and productive. I had lunch with the Ad Hoc Committee on Assessing Student Learning; our conversation, however, centered on an entirely different subject: a new documentary film about women and comedy. Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, and Lea DeLaria, we’re talking about you! When I looked in on the committee’s work, I saw that their draft report was well along. Many members of the postsecondary faculty have trepidations when it comes to assessing student learning, and I’m hoping that this report will shed light where heat has already been generated.
The afternoon brought an impromptu visit from PhDs at Work founder Michelle Erickson, who had business downtown and got in touch. She saw for herself the size of the MLA office and the large numbers of people who work here. She also learned that we do in-house what many associations contract out: editing and producing our journals and books publications; running membership and customer services; planning all aspects of the convention, and so on.
Today brought lots of miscellaneous tasks, such as looking over the menu for the Executive Council dinner, making travel arrangements for my upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for a National Humanities Alliance meeting, reviewing some convention events, and writing up the minutes from Monday’s senior staff meeting. I also made comments on a colleague’s draft blog post, looked over the year-end financials, answered some member inquiries, wrote thank-you notes to those who donated $500 or more to the MLA, and conferred with fellow executive directors on their associations’ leave policies.
I left at a reasonable hour to have enough time to prepare for the monthly evening board meeting of The Sunrise Foundation. I’ve been on the board for less than a year, but I’ve already experienced the rewards of immersing myself in a program that helps kids and their families in one of the poorest regions of the poorest Central American country, Nicaragua. I plan to travel there in November (using vacation time, in case you were wondering) with other board members to visit our Hogar (or center) where children come for classes, academic enrichment, and meals. The Sunrise Foundation is the kind of organization in which $5 actually makes a difference in a person’s life. It’s a privilege to give my time and money to this project.
Once again, it’s 10:30 P.M. and my work is winding down. Tomorrow I need to finish my writing tasks and get ready for travel this weekend to an invitational conference, Languages for All? Right now, though I crave those 8 hours of sleep I’ve promised myself. One more blog post tomorrow, and the week in the life of moi will be complete. I hope those writing tasks will be, too!