I returned to the office today. The summer seemed longer than usual. This is probably because Messiah College starts classes a week later this year. (The first day of class is next Tuesday). It also seems longer because I am no longer chair of the Messiah College History Department. Some of you may recall that I wrote a bit about this back in February.
For the last eight years, August was filled with anxiety and stress about the start of the new year. Was I fair in the distribution of new advisees to the faculty? Will everything go well with the opening ice-cream social and the department picnic? What kind of new administrative paperwork will emerge after our first big department meeting? And the list goes on.
When I posted about leaving the department chair back in February I wrote:
I am not sure what role I will play going forward at Messiah College. At small colleges like Messiah, administration is really the only way to advance one’s career within the institution. So I will return to life as an ordinary faculty member. I will be in the classroom a bit more and will have more time for thinking about my teaching and writing. We will see how it goes.
This year I plan to teach and serve the department and Messiah College the best I can. I will also be on the road a lot. I hope to continue to say something to the larger culture and Christian community about evangelicals and Donald Trump. I also hope to enjoy my daughter Caroline’s senior year before Joy and I head-off into the empty-nester stage of life. In the Fall, I will be watching a lot of Calvin College volleyball. And, at 52-years-old, I want to take stock of what the last pre-retirement chapter of my life might look like.
But right now, I need to finish a syllabus for “Colonial America” and my U.S. Survey to 1865 course.