Monday, August 16, 2010

Grants and courses; unsupported

Two big things at work right now: My role as the grant "writer" for our institution in a multi-center grant, and prepping my classes for my "adjuncts".

I benefit from a multi-institution grant that pays for research students in my lab in the summer. Currently this is my only source of funding. The grant ran out, and a renewal was written last year (of which I had very little involvement), but "we" didn't get it.

This year, I have been designated as the representative from my institution to help with the grantwriting. I had to get paperwork updated and signed, things such as cost-sharing forms, etc. Most institutions have a grants office that does that for them, but I had to do it all myself by hand. Moreover, I didn't really know exactly what I was doing, since all the grants I've written in my training were supported by a grants office. Luckily I had last year's papers (filled in by a colleague) to model after. And though I did not write the body of the grant, I at least proofed it. Writing grants- getting it done, let alone successfully- is a major weakness of mine. It's kind of a death spiral-- are you bad at grants? You won't end up at an R01. Don't need to write grants to survive? You'll get worse at writing grants...

I also met with two people who will be teaching my "bread and butter" Lower Level Cool Subject I course. They will just follow my previous course, so I need to get everything to them; exams, quizzes, etc. Moreover, the poor adjunct teaching the lab (what we pay is sooo pathetic) will need lab set-up directions including where to find each piece of equipment, etc. Of course if we had a full time lab-set-up person, both mine and the adjunct's life would be much easier. We will have to see what quantity and quality of work-study students we get this year. Hopefully we can assign the adjunct a good helper. Otherwise, she's going to spend hours searching for everything.

Out of appreciation for their service (because one can't really call what they are making a living wage), I want to do as much for these substitutes as possible. So the plan is to work until I go into labor making the semester a show-and-go for these folks. Wish me and them luck!

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