Author Topic: How to decline service?  (Read 417 times)

bluefooted

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How to decline service?
« on: July 25, 2019, 12:46:31 PM »
I am 2-years into my TT position--pre-tenure, pre-3rd year review, at an R1. I was assigned a service duty over the summer to revise and realign courses at all levels, alone.  I tried waving off the summer assignment because I had more than enough grant and start-up money and duties to fill my time. 

Also, I think this is an unreasonable service request for many reasons: 1) Of the 3 classes I have taught so far, I created one from scratch and had to completely revamp a second. i've also created a new course for this fall. So, it seems as if I am doing a lot of curricular work already. 2) I have never taught any of the courses that I am being asked to revise and realign. 3) when I requested syllabi to do this work, I did not receive them. and 4) this is political suicide - I just finished my second year and I'm being asked to change the courses of my senior colleagues.

This is not a case where I can STFU, and I just got an email today that asked about the progress. How do you decline service?

ciao_yall

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Re: How to decline service?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 03:44:39 PM »
Could you suggest to the chair that you defer the curricular changes to the senior faculty who actually teach those classes?

phattangent

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Re: How to decline service?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 03:59:33 PM »
I was assigned a service duty over the summer to revise and realign courses at all levels, alone.

My sympathies. I’m helping do this with three courses and four other faculty at the moment, and it’s quite an undertaking to do it properly.

Perhaps identify what you have done and what you can reasonably do, then communicate that to your head?
I fully expected to find a Constable in the kitchen, waiting to take me up. -- Pip in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Hibush

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Re: How to decline service?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2019, 03:02:19 AM »
This is a situation where a mentor committee is valuable. They can help assess what is worthwhile service within the full context of your tenure package. Then you can use the magic phrase, "My mentor committee has advised me not to take on ...."

lightning

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Re: How to decline service?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2019, 10:44:09 PM »
One way to decline service is to sign up for 3 or 4 standing committees that are very minimal impact on your time, but sound sound important. So when someone tries to sweet-talk/volun-tell/leverage you into doing some onerous and/or meaningless service, tell them that you wish you could but you already serve on x, x, x, and x committees. I served on several university committees that only met for 1 hour each semester, with no preparatory work. And those committees take up the same amount of space on a CV or annual review report, as one of those time-suck committees that do/create nothing of real value.

spork

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Re: How to decline service?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 10:32:11 AM »
I am 2-years into my TT position--pre-tenure, pre-3rd year review, at an R1. I was assigned a service duty over the summer to revise and realign courses at all levels, alone.  I tried waving off the summer assignment because I had more than enough grant and start-up money and duties to fill my time. 

Also, I think this is an unreasonable service request for many reasons: 1) Of the 3 classes I have taught so far, I created one from scratch and had to completely revamp a second. i've also created a new course for this fall. So, it seems as if I am doing a lot of curricular work already. 2) I have never taught any of the courses that I am being asked to revise and realign. 3) when I requested syllabi to do this work, I did not receive them. and 4) this is political suicide - I just finished my second year and I'm being asked to change the courses of my senior colleagues.

This is not a case where I can STFU, and I just got an email today that asked about the progress. How do you decline service?

Who assigned this task to you? The department chair? It is totally inappropriate to throw this work at a recently-hired junior faculty member -- you are correct in labeling it political suicide.

Keeping in mind that free advice is worth every penny, my suggestion is to respond to whoever is asking about progress with "I have requested syllabi for these courses from faculty members who teach them but have not received any. Since I have not taught these courses before, I think it would be inappropriate for me to recommend changes in the absence of information and support from senior colleagues."

Do you have a close relationship with a senior department member? Can you confide in this person about the unreasonableness of the task and get that person's opinion?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2019, 10:34:29 AM by spork »

the_geneticist

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Re: How to decline service?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 04:20:16 PM »
I am 2-years into my TT position--pre-tenure, pre-3rd year review, at an R1. I was assigned a service duty over the summer to revise and realign courses at all levels, alone.  I tried waving off the summer assignment because I had more than enough grant and start-up money and duties to fill my time. 

Also, I think this is an unreasonable service request for many reasons: 1) Of the 3 classes I have taught so far, I created one from scratch and had to completely revamp a second. i've also created a new course for this fall. So, it seems as if I am doing a lot of curricular work already. 2) I have never taught any of the courses that I am being asked to revise and realign. 3) when I requested syllabi to do this work, I did not receive them. and 4) this is political suicide - I just finished my second year and I'm being asked to change the courses of my senior colleagues.

This is not a case where I can STFU, and I just got an email today that asked about the progress. How do you decline service?
That does sound like a recipe for political suicide.  Who gave you this assignment?  Spork gives excellent advice.
Revise and realign according to what?  You might be able to say that you would be happy to be part of a team that first examines what is currently taught/current alignment.  With any luck, that will take months to years to get discussed. . . .