My one-year contract for a professor’s position ended today.
The college management has cited the absence of application for extension on my part, as the formal reason for their inability to continue me.
The actual reason is that I had indicated my inability to handle too much of a load: 14 hours in the first half of 2014; 14 hours in the second half. Realize, the number of students per class are 75–90 (and including the repeaters, the papers to check can easily go in excess of 100). There are two such shifts. There are five assignments, two unit tests, and lab. journals etc. to check for each one of them. As per the policies, for a teaching load of about 12 hours, three different courses may be expected to be taught every semester. (Which means, making notes, preparing for lectures, etc., apart from standing there and delivering the classes and labs, for three separate courses.) However, since we have two shifts, we would usually get away teaching only two courses (i.e. teaching one course to two shifts + practicals for the same, or teaching two courses to two shifts with a reduction in practicals). With that kind of a busy schedule, I could not get any time to even read research papers, let alone think and produce any.
Funny, but they had also made me the college Dean of R & D (after joining, and at the same pay as that of a professor, of course).
My load for the next semester would have been 16 hours, though, to be fair, it would actually be somewhat lighter because this class would have only three practicals in the semester. Subtracting the three practicals in three weeks (distributed over the semester), the actual load for the rest of 9 weeks in the semester, would have been only 8 hours of class-room teaching of FEM to the final year undergraduates. This is the same course that I had taught under UoM last year, and so, my notes were ready. And, eight hours of load was the limit that I had indicated during our informal talks earlier this semester (as well as during the job interview one year ago).
I had not been given any communication regarding the request for the reduction of load, thus far, and in fact, my name had been tentatively included in the initial time-table preparations for the next semester, even though I had already let everyone, including my students, know a few months ago that I probably won’t be continuing here. During the last couple of months I had expressed my desire to meet the principal/management to discuss the issue further, but they could not, somehow, find the time to do so any time earlier. Thus, any discussion regarding the issue simply could not be had in advance. It is also possible that they didn’t find me very well suited to their method of functioning and culture, anyway. (By culture, I don’t mean interpersonal relationships in the department and college, which by all means were good to excellent. I mean things such as: the complete absence of research at an institutional level in our college, and especially, in our department. That was because, ours was a new department that still does not have an ME program. ME students can make a difference. They have one entire year completely allocated for project work, and so, some research can be done with them. BE students, in contrast, have 4 courses concurrently going on with their final year project, and typically, their projects emphasize application rather than research.)
But still, probably, I could have continued if I could act and teach like a fresh BE who has just recently registered for ME, or someone who has just got an ME, no industrial experience, little teaching experience, no research experience, and, important from the pay-scale rules point of view, no PhD degree.
I did think that a bit of “adjustment” might be possible for me, only for the next semester, by teaching FEM (actually more like 8–10 hours of load; on paper, 16.) Evidently, it has not been. Fine by me.
All in all, what it means is that I find myself looking for a suitable job on an immediate basis. There haven’t been many suitable posts advertised during the past month or so—the typical time when the appointments for the next semester are made. Still, as of today, the next semester is yet to begin, and so, if you know of a suitable opportunity, please do drop me a line.