The weirdest thing about being chair so far is that people seem to think I know stuff. Not special, secret information, but stuff no one would have asked me about six months ago.
I've had a long conversation about balancing demands on a colleague's time. Six months ago, I pretty much knew what I know now, but no one would have bothered to ask me.
And then there was a conversation about how to deal with a split class (we have to put fewer students in a room, due to social distancing, so classes with say, 30 students, meeting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, might have to be split into three groups, one meeting Monday, one Wednesday, and one Friday. I've thought a lot about how to do this during the summer, but I assume everyone around here has. I don't have any brilliant insight, but I still got asked.
I had a problem doing the split class thing myself, it just became physically impossible to do because of an accommodation a student needed. So I asked another chair, and was told that since there are a lot of classes on line now, there are sometimes extra larger rooms, so we might be able to move to a larger room at the same time and not have to do a split class.
I emailed the staff person in charge of that, who is an absolute gem of a staff person, and they said, yes, and were able to change my room. Then I asked about our first year writing courses, a couple of which were scheduled on a split option. And they fixed those (I gave the instructor a choice). Then I asked about lower division courses, and a few could be changed, so I asked the instructors, and most said yes with great enthusiasm. And then we moved to other upper division courses, and so far, a couple good options. Overall, I'd say we went from having all but one (non-first year writing) course split, to having about 8 not split, so maybe one fifth? That's a pretty good change.
The semester begins next week.