I got my contract renewal!
Actually, what I got was a ``kindly reminder'' from the Dean's office to answer the offer of 2 March as soon as possible. I'm not sure in which sense they meant a ``kindly reminder''. The phrase sometimes means a ``this is a reminder sent out of courtesy''; other times it means ``read your freaking e-mail already, idiot''. I wrote back that I hadn't got the offer of 2 March but I was looking for just where it had gone, and I'd send in the acceptance form as soon as possible. By the end of the day I found, and learned that my current appointment had technically ended back on the 7th. I'm glad this didn't produce any problems, although in hindsight I'd kind of liked it if they hadn't taken two and a half weeks to ask whether I still wanted to be employed. Anyway, the terms of the extension are simple enough; I stay on at the same terms at least to the end of December. They recorded it as an official change in the terms that they won't reimburse my plane flight back home when my contract is up until I actually do go back home when my contract is up.
Meanwhile I had a training session for the web forms used to officially submit grades. In the past department secretaries had always done that. The web structure was designed, apparently, by people who didn't actually ask instructors how they recorded grades, or ever have grades themselves. Like, you can't change the relative weighting of the components (homeworks, exams, finals) from the page where you enter scores and get grade averages. You can't give students more points than the Official Maximum Marks for any project, even if you want to give one extra credit. (There is an ``adjustment'' option for the course average, though.) And I ran into all sorts of weird things when I tried making wholesale changes in the cutoff scores for various letter grades. Plus the system is case sensitive to the letters in students' ID Numbers, for no reason anyone knows. I got the feeling the presenters were getting tired of me experimenting with just how the system works.
Trivia: The Queens College (later to be Rutgers College) Board of Trustees met only five times between 1795 and 1807, and not at all between 1795 and 1800. At the time the college had no students anyway. Source: Rutgers: A Bicentennial History, Richard P McCormick.
Currently Reading: Something New Under The Sun: Satellites and the Beginning of the Space Age, Helen Gavaghan.