Difference No. 1: Gearing up for the new year.
At Field College, this is what happens in the week leading up to a new Fall semester:
- Wednesday before classes start: mandatory day-long faculty retreat.
- Thursday: half-day faculty retreat/faculty meeting (which is attended by all full-time faculty).
- Friday: all-campus (faculty and staff) meeting, at which everyone is introduced to everyone else. This is entirely useless, because either you pretty much know who everyone is, or you don't know anyone, suffer from total information overload, and don't remember a thing. After the meeting is the (equally pointless, in my view) Benefits Fair, at which you collect free toothbrushes and whatnot.
- Saturday: students move in; we're invited to help them. I have only known one professor who has ever done so. Because: syllabi.
- Sunday: if you're lucky enough to be teaching a First-Year Seminar, you have your first class meeting this afternoon.
- Monday: if you advise a student organization, you have a mandatory ice cream social to attend. If you teach First-Year Seminar, you have a two-hour community service project to complete, followed by a picnic. You may also have your second class meeting this afternoon (this has fluctuated in recent years).
- Tuesday: mandatory (and usually rather nice) opening convocation. Big picnic lunch with all the new students. Advising meetings all afternoon.
- Wednesday: classes start.
- Classes start! After labor day!
There are a lot of factors at work in this distinction. Little colleges like Field need heavy faculty governance and involvement; faculty do all of the advising and need to be apprised of changes in marketing strategies, athletic recruitment, accreditation visits, new requirements for Education majors, and all kinds of things that you wouldn't think that you'd need to know about. They're also expected to be very involved with individual students; the personal connection is, after all, what Field (and a lot of schools like it) sell, and what makes them different from the local State U's. That involvement, incidentally, is what I enjoyed the most at Field, and I hope that I can cultivate some of it at New U (admittedly in a different register).
But now, my primary directive is research. And good lord, I need to get settled in a house and in my office so that I can do some.