Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dawning of a new era

Wow, it's hard to believe it's been three weeks since my last rant! Where has all the time gone? There has been a lot to talk about but regrettably little time to talk about it in, unless it has been an extreme case of lassitude on my part. Maybe.

Today is the beginning of the summer semester, and your SSCP finds himself administering chemistry laboratory experiences to a doubtless eager group of students for the next ten weeks. There is nothing particularly of interest in that intelligence except that the new semester is beginning in our brand new science building that is now open for business. I have already been acclimatizing myself to my new room (with a view) over the past week or so. Now a distant memory is the 9 x 9 cell that reverberated like a ship's engine room whenever the AC was in full flow. That was usually accompanied by an icy blast emanating from the ceiling vent that necessitated wearing warm clothing on the hottest of summer days. Now my Akea-like office affords a pleasant third-floor view of the prairie area of the campus; with a suitable set of powerful binoculars I could spend those quiet office hours bird watching.

The end of the spring term was rife with activities. I have already bored my readers with a lengthy account of the BoT changing of the guard and the antics of the black-shirted Objector and his gang (more to come on that by the way). A couple of days after that I attended the annual grants lunch event, which honors those involved with grant writing with lunch prepared by the culinary arts program. It is one of the few lunches worth attending at COD. I always feel like I'm participating in a taping of Hell's Kitchen or something, since you can see the food being prepared on any of several screens around the room. The only thing missing is a chef going totally berserk; in fact everything happens in quiet, orderly calm. The only other thing missing is a glass of wine to set off the generally excellent cuisine. This year was special because, though modesty renders me hesitant to make mention, your scribe was honored along with two other members of the sciences for work in getting NSF funding. Although it really shouldn't matter, it's encouraging to get a little recognition every now and again.

A few days later, we held our final meeting of the year for the Undergraduate Research Collaborative (funded by the NSF incidentally) where the participants presented posters of their work. Some fifty or more students from the member colleges were there, along with their faculty members. Regrettably, lunch this time consisted of something pre-packaged in a cardboard box, with an apple that appeared to be deep-frozen with the mechanical strength of a cannonball. The SSCP scored big-time by getting both the president and a board member (Sandy Kim) to put in an appearance. The NSF evaluator was suitably impressed.

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