Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Dead, Just Busy!

...And we're back. That was a long hiatus, huh?

I'm not dead; just busy with a new job. I'm the official Institutional Researcher for New Mexico Tech these days. I spend my days looking at spreadsheets and databases, crunching and sorting numbers. It sounds boring, I know, but I really do like it.

For example, I just completed a grade study for Physics I and Physics II, figuring out the failure rate for each section spanning the past five years. This is actually useful information for the department to have since they've instituted different teaching methods and would like to know if their changes are paying off.

That's the benefit of having a full-time Institutional Researcher, rather than a part-time one (as I was for many years). In moving from Research Services Manager to Institutional Researcher, I basically traded six part-time tasks for one full-time job that I can really focus on.

I'm in the Registrar's Office these days, in a newer building with better climate control. I still have my fish tanks, but the painted turtles had to go back to their pond, because they'd become too large to be kept in an aquarium any longer.

I miss working with the faculty on getting their proposals submitted, but I still do get to work with some of them, just in a different capacity: now they need demographic data for their proposals and reports.

I've made some inroads into building a data warehouse for institutional data. I hope to be able to train some of the departments on how to access the data themselves, rather than continually having to ask me to get it for them. We'll see.... we all know how resistant to change a bureaucracy can be.

Back at the homefront, we're back up to four kitties, a new one having appeared to take Kiddo's food bowl, but not his spot in my heart. We finished (finally) the box turtle pen. The tortoises are huge and getting heavier all the time. We need to build a heated shed for them because I'm not sure I can lift them into the garden cart or wheelbarrow to get them to their old winter shelter (a heated room in our shop) any more.

Bobby Lesperance, who helped us with the irrigation and mowing chores on our property, and who kept his Appaloosa horses and mule in our back field, passed away unexpectedly in April. He is very much missed.

Well, that's about all I've got. Just wanted to reassure anyone who might be concerned about the lack of updates to this blog.