Just a Couple Days Before Classes Start

The spring 2008 semester for Missouri University of Science & Technology starts on Monday, January 14. Here it is, Saturday, January 12, and I’m putting together course materials. (I suspect I’m not alone in that!)
This is the university’s first semester as Missouri S&T, rather than the University of Missouri – Rolla. We’re all making the transition in how we refer to the campus, with some uncertainty whether it is "MST," "MS&T," or "Missouri S&T." Officially, "mst" is reserved for our email and Internet domain, not for print or speech. However, it’s only three syllables versus four or seven in the other possibilities.
"S&T" is a good designation but a little too obscure right now. The Rolla Daily News uses it, so maybe it will spread.
I did quite a bit of class preparation back in December but still have plenty to do. I’m teaching Creative Writing for the first time in several years and using Blackboard for the first time for that class.
For a department chair, preparing for a new semester means much more than writing up (or revising) the course syllabus. It also means making sure all the courses taught by the department have teachers assigned to them, that everyone has appropriate office space, that the courses have sufficient enrollment.
In fact, I’ve been constructing the class schedule for the fall 2008 semester.
My colleagues in the department are doing their preparations (or have already completed them); some of my students have already visited Blackboard. Unfortunately, there won’t be much there until sometime late today or tomorrow.
Enrollment for this spring semester is slightly higher than for last spring. This weekend, the population of Rolla will expand by several thousand. The campus has felt very empty recently; that changes soon.