You want my syllabus when?

The end is nigh. The university administration has requested that we submit our fall term syllabi on the 24th of July…that is, tomorrow. I am not prepared. I don’t want to think about this. I haven’t been thinking about this.

So that takes care of today, I guess. I’ve pulled up the academic calendar for the fall, and my previous version of the syllabus, and am going to sit down and reconcile lecture & exam dates and will get the damn things done today.

In other academic concerns, I’ve been invited to give an honors college lecture on the theme of…Michel de Montaigne, like I’d be qualified to discuss late Renaissance history. It’s OK, though, I’ve read his Essays, and since he was an exceptionally discursive writer, I figure I can get away with my own ramblings in the style of an old humanist. I did find a quote that might make for a good springboard:

Our utmost endeavors cannot arrive at so much as to imitate the nest of the least of birds, its contexture, beauty, and convenience: not so much as the web of a poor spider.

I’ll have to correct that back-handed compliment, but I also have a bunch of other ideas, not all spider-related, that I’ll assemble into a hodge-podge of a talk. The title: “Of boundaries and transgressions.” Should be fun. I have until October to pull it together, but I think I’d better have most of it in shape before September body-slams me.


  1. Rich Woods says

    Do you think de Montaigne would still have made that statement if he’d known that gorillas also build nests?

  2. flange says

    I taught a quarter at one of those for-profit schools (which no longer exists.) I hated it. I should mention, I’m a lousy teacher. I’m qualified, but can’t stand in front of a group and believe I have something important to say.
    The hardest task was writing a syllabus, especially because I’d never written one. For such a complex subject, yours would have to be much more difficult. You have to, in effect, write out every lecture.
    You have my sympathy and admiration.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Sounds like a typical “Administrative Waste of Oxygen trying to Justify their Massive Salary by Forcing Faculty to Do Unnecessary Shit”.

  4. says

    It’s not that hard — keep in mind that I’ve been doing this for 30+ years, and I’ve got it all documented. In fact, I just finished the two syllabi and sent them off.

    This afternoon/evening, we’re going picnicking/spidering, and I’ll finish off another dreary chore: I have to take a headshot for the honors lecture. That is harder than anything else.