Last week was exam week, with repeat paper corrections and countless exam board meetings. I quite enjoy the cut and thrust of these meetings, but I notice a paradox: the hardliners and sticklers always seem to be staff that are the least active in research. Perhaps flexibility about student marks is also about being aware of one’s own limitations.
This week it’s back to school in earnest as lectures begin. My timetable’s not too bad – like any lecturer in the Institute of Technology system I have a heavier teaching load than a universtiy lecturer, but on the other hand I get to teach on all sorts of different courses – from so-called service teaching (1st year science and and 1st year engineering courses) to 4th year solid-state and quantum physics.
I don’t mind really mind the service teaching, but the classes seem to get bigger every year, with no corresponding increase in staff. Plus, physics is the not the favoured subject of most of these students, so it can be a struggle to keep them motivated.
The really bad news is that our degree in physics with computing is being phased out due to poor uptake. We were not permitted a first-year intake, so the future of physics at WIT the looks pretty grim. So much for the knowledge economy, then.