This semester I am taking over as Chairman of the Chabot College Curriculum Committee. Friday I signed my first documents (a bunch of distance education proposals) as curriculum chair.
It’s kind of a weird feeling. I don’t have tenure yet—I’m in my third year at Chabot and my tenure decision is next year. Yet I am now the chair of what could well be the most important governance committee on campus. It was an honor to be nominated to chair the curriculum committee and I am looking forward to serving. It will be a lot of work, as I am finding out, but work that I am willing to take on.
I am continually amazed and impressed by the amount of collegiality I have found at Chabot. I feel like my input and comments are valued by my colleagues. I feel respected. I feel like I am on equal footing with my colleagues. This is in marked contrast to my previous institution, UMass Boston. Although I did feel respected and valued by most of my colleagues at UMass, the overall environment was not as supportive as what I have found at Chabot. Maybe it is the fact that UMass Boston is trying to be a research university and Chabot is “just” a community college. Maybe it’s the fact that we don’t have academic ranks here at Chabot. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m back in Califronia.
Whenever I met with the former provost at UMass I felt small, like I offered little of value to the institution as an assistant professor just starting out. At Chabot, the Vice President of Academic Services (our equivalent of provost) treats me as a respected and valued member of the Chabot community. The former chair of the Chemistry Department at UMass never made me feel welcome. Here, there is no chair of the chemistry department—hell, as lecture coordinator I’m the closest thing to a chair of chemistry there is here!
And so I am now Chair of the Curriculum Committee. And Chabot feels like home. Wow.