Being the Program Coordinator

Updates on facebook disorient me.

The sudden messages and notifications produce an electric current that causes mild shock to the owner of the facebook page while the owner is trying to write something. Doing the task in bed makes the task more difficult. The position is terrible causing neck pain. Poor lighting adds up to the already difficult scenario.

Writing in my room is difficult. What makes it more difficult is I have so many things to say but I do not know exactly where to begin. I was deprived of time to update my blog for several months now due to work.

Maybe I should start with work.

The Difficult Side of being the Program Coordinator

The task of the program coordinator consists of faculty loading, program development in three contexts – the program itself, its faculty members, and students, “diplomat” to other universities and colleges, and IGP (Income Generating Project) Coordinator. But zooming in, I can sum it up to letter and proposal writing. What makes it more difficult (and challenging) is the fact that aside from everything mentioned, I have to be the thesis coordinator to all 40+ students taking thesis every year.

To make life more “tricky,” all these administrative tasks are on top of my teaching load and they expect a research/creative output as well.

Perhaps I am just lucky that my students are all cooperative and some understands the hurdle of the task. These includes my thesis advisees who had a hard time getting in touch with me with all the meetings I had to attend.

program coordinator pic 1

The Most Difficult Task

Faculty loading is the most difficult task, I should say. And for those who are in the academe reading this, you know exactly what I mean.

What’s worse is that you get accused of power tripping in a form of complaint without due process nor an investigation. The one who wrote the complaint, a former administrator as well, perhaps forgot that the word “ask” also exists in the dictionary and not just complain. Sadly, the person in authority now is so enthralled with his presence and acts of being their deus ex machina. Perhaps they forgot that historically, that person was their Pluto, the Roman God of Hades.

I am writing this because I hate it when I get accused of something I never did and will never do. And I am writing this because nothing will definitely make me forget what happened. I am writing this because I forgive but I can’t and won’t forget. I am writing this because the wound will always be there.

The Fun Side of being the Program Coordinator

I can also say that being the program coordinator is not all work. It also involves a lot of food trips and not just any food trips but those expensive ones. In my one year, I can say that I have been to most of the expensive and not so expensive (but still expensive) restaurants in the metro. I have tried several local and international cuisines during my term. And I am still hoping that soon, all our expenses will be reimbursed (wishful thinking).

It has become a hobby in a sense that every after thesis defense, we go out and eat. I frequented coffee shops in Davao but I always find myself (with the gang) drinking Café Americano at Coffee Dream and I have to pair it with the best Choco Mint Cookie from Kangaroo. Peculiar to some perhaps but working in coffee shops works for me.

chocomint

We tasted various Baby Back Ribs and Lamb Chops. We experienced change of greetings from “Welcome to Bigby’s!” to “Welcome Back to Bigby’s! We miss you!” Or perhaps “The same table sir?” at Roadhouse. We sometimes hoard chocolate toppings for our yogurt at Tutti Frutti. Disway was even part of our itinerary. The Korean restaurant in Lanang felt like a stone-throw away and the food was definitely marvelous. The continuous search for a place to eat excites all of us every after defense.

Window-shopping too can be a stress reliever. Looking for stuff to buy in the future is fun even if we really do not know if we could buy it in the future. We also go to Victoria Plaza to buy dvds of various concerts and movies. Spending time in a candy store, looking for the best candy to drown the stress is also part of our itinerary. We even buy ballpoint pens together and we won’t stop unless we got all colors.

The list goes on and it is somewhat boring if I have to itemize it here.

Now what?

My term ends this 31st of May, 2011 and the faculty members of the program elected a new program coordinator for Academic Year 2011-2012. We elected a thesis coordinator as well to lighten the load of the program coordinator.

Congratulations to the new program coordinator and the first thesis coordinator of the BA Communication Arts program of the University of the Philippines Mindanao. And these are my last words to both of you:

E – Expect the unexpected. There will be hurdles in life that you must face unprepared and these hurdles are those that will stress you out. These hurdles are, after all, the real work.
X – Xanadu (a place of great beauty, luxury, and contentment) is not part of the job and its description.
C – Continue to work from the heart for it will lighten the load.
E – Endure all the heartaches.
L – Live life the way you want to live it without sacrificing your job.

As I pass the task to the next program coordinator and thesis coordinator, along with it are the joys and “kalurky” moments of those who will continue to support you for they believe in the program and each individual’s capacity. Do not be frightened and threatened for we will guide you. But remember that decision-making is also part of your job description. You should be able to decide on your own. When the going gets tough, then the rest of us comes in…

And then the tough gets going.

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