New faculty orientation at Northwestern yesterday. Most interesting part was the description of how NU has a system of online course evaluations in which anybody with northwestern.edu domain access can read all your evaluations from students. In fact, when students are registering for courses, there is a link to a course's previous evaluations right next to the link where they would sign up for it.
So: at UW-Madison, your salary is public but your course evaluations are private, and at Northwestern, your salary is private but your course evaluations are public. Which would you prefer?*
Anyway, upon completing this post, I am going to block out everything else today, including you, dear readers, and get some writing done. My authorial back is against the wall with a couple of paper deadlines I have coming up, and that doesn't even include the talk I am giving at Cornell on Monday. (The world is laughing at Britney Spears for a disaster borne of underpreparation. I am not. At least I won't be wearing a sequined bikini-thing in Ithaca.)
I am set up here at the dining room table of my apartment. I spent a good deal of time yesterday unpacking my boxes, but it was like trying to ladle out a lake, especially as presently there is not nearly enough shelf space for all the books I brought with me. Plus, it's unclear whether the computer whose specs I worked out with an IT person in July has yet been ordered.
* "Public" to any user within the university's respective domain, and public in the sense that anyone with copy-and-paste capability can circulate more broadly. Prior to last fall, Wisconsin's salary information was on the web, and memorably one commenter posted a link to my own salary. Wisconsin changed to making salaries public only within the UW domain--in a strange moment of official candor, the spokesperson's stated that the reason for the change was that having the salaries accessible to all on the web made it too easy for other universities to poach UW faculty members because of how low the university's salaries are (at least, how low they are prior to receiving a retention offer).