It seems like there's a lot of stuff these days that faculty do that we didn't used to do. For example, instead of emailing an admin assistant our list of books for ordering, we do the data entry into the bookstore thingy (whatever that thingy is, who knows).
It's cheaper for the university, I guess, because we faculty folks just add the extra 15-30 minutes to our work and our pay doesn't change, but the admin assistant has been moved out of our department to elsewhere (a good promotion for her, for sure) and the new person doesn't get nearly as many hours.
Was there ever a time when faculty didn't type or produce their own syllabi? (What about before typewriters? Where there even syllabi? I wonder how things got communicated without easily replicated handouts? Verbally?)
Or assignments? I know a friend from grad school who'd gone to Oxbridge, who'd never had to type his essays there. Do they now, or do they still handwrite them? (In my own undergrad experience, we were expected to type everything but exams or math homework, and that was 5+ years before I went to grad school and met that friend, but who knows.)
Anyway, it seems like there's all sorts of stuff where at one point we faculty folks would hand in a handwritten form, and then someone else would do whatever was done, and that would be it. So, for example, at one point, I could hand in my receipts and a hand written travel form, and then a month or two later, there would be a check in an envelop in my box. Now I have to enter all sorts of information in a form before I can buy tickets, then enter everything into a different form after I buy tickets but before I travel, and then enter everything into a still different form and then send in all my receipts separately to get reimbursed. (Yes, we have an especially inefficient system, it seems.)
Classes started today. My Shakespeare students laughed generously at my jokes. My first year writing students mostly contributed when I asked. And for some reason, I ended up writing a time line of Western European history from 300 BCE to 2000 on the board in my seminar. (I was trying to get them to see what the Renaissance thought it was the rebirth of, so that they can understand what a "Renaissance man" was, so that they can understand how Henry Louis Gates is using a quotation from an essay that argues against the sorts of diversity Gates supports/ed in MLA conferences. So now my students at least know that Rome was sacked and that Petrarch had something to do with the Renaissance in that massively oversimplified way that trying to cover two thousand plus years of history in 15 minutes will do.)
Altogether, this was a very good day in ways that had to do with classes, with colleagues, and with pretty much everything. And now it's time to go home and recharge!