Category Archives: Faculty

Bookstore Bonding

Third year, second term — that would make this my back-to-school post x6.

I rock at maths. Speaking of which, I should think about refreshing my maths in preparation for the GRE, which I really should take this summer. There are so many things I should do, it’s hard to keep track of them all.

Like finding a second part-time job, finding a co-op work placement for this summer, learning how to drive, independent research so I can finally decide what I want to write for my Honours thesis next year, and so on and so forth.

Plus school.

Which is looking really good at the moment! I just had my last class I was deciding on today, and it looks just as good as I was hoping it would be, or better. I’m very excited for all the texts that I’m to read (again, I am taking all English classes in my efforts to finish up my requirements) — that is, if the Bookstore would stock them.

I was at the end of the massive, massive line that is the UBC Bookstore at 3:30 PM on the first Monday back at school when it struck me this is probably one of those few, rare times when UBC students from all faculties get to be together again since the IMAGINE pep rally. Arts meets Sauder, Science meets Engineering, LAFS meets HKin. Vanier residence meets Burnaby commuters. (Face it: the SUB is dominated by commuting kids.) All of us cradling in our arms (or baskets) the books and course packages showcasing our departmental pride. Imagine the kinds of interdisciplinary conversations we could have if we just turned around to the person behind us, pointed to the giant five-hundred white paged book they’re toting about, and asked them about what they do and why.

But you’d better hurry and turn around if you want that kind of conversation — there are a lot of better book deals going on in other places, and students won’t be sticking around the Bookstore for long. (I spent a happy hour finding cheaper ones on Amazon this morning.) Unless, of course, you’re waiting in the massive, massive line that is the UBC Bookstore Buybacks in two weeks’ time.

Disappointing Teaching Evaluations

First off, I’m really glad that the teaching evaluations have been moved online: we don’t waste time in class, we can spend more time thinking about our comments, it’s more anonymous so you don’t need to be afraid of creating friction with your professor, and so on. Last term, I discovered that Arts classes asked many more questions than Science ones; it took me quite a while to answer each Arts class, but it was very thorough and I think it’s better that way to give instructors more feedback instead of less.

Generally, my classes have been very good and I don’t have much to complain about. But this term I do have quite a lot of comments to make, and was waiting patiently for the feedback forms, only to discover that the Arts evaluation forms have shortened considerably, to maybe about six multiple-choice questions about the class and six about the instructor. Gone are the boxes for additional comments — now all my remarks are left unsaid.

Quantitative results are imperative, of course, but so are qualitative ones. In fact, I’d argue that qualitative feedback is the best feedback to judge what is wrong with a course and how someone might be able to improve; quantitative feedback just gives a sweeping measure of how well you might be doing, with little to say why you’re in that particular position. It’s not as if I was saving this giant rant for the end of term: no, I wanted to point out a genuine problem and a very obvious solution. And now, most likely, future students are going to experience the same problem and will complain amongst themselves, but who’s going to hear them?

Arts Career Expo 2009

Otherwise known as “Finding Out What You Don’t Want to Do” — for me.

But I thought that was too long and misleading for the title post.

Let me also preface the rest of my post by saying that this — finding out what you don’t want to do — is a good thing. While knowing what you want to do is ideal, knowing what you don’t want to do and why you don’t want to do it gets you closer to finding what you do want to do.

Continue reading

“English is easy!”

The above statement is: True/False. Select one.

Continue reading

In my dream world, there would be…

A literary festival. That is what I think we should have. A week in the year when authors and poets are invited to come and talk, complete, perhaps, with book signings and special deals at the Bookstore so people will be encouraged to buy. Invite professors to lecture on a topic.

An annual literary and art magazine, with a different theme each year, for students from all faculties to submit their creative work to, run by students who aren’t only from the English or Creative Writing departments.

The chance to potter about in my garden early in the morning before sitting down to write, then taking a break for lunch before starting in on academic research, to finish up with working with children for some charitable or non-profit organisation, and still get paid enough to live without financial worry.