Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ecuador, Day 3

It has been a very long day of doing almost nothing but curriculum development, but I think we're moving forward. When I first arrived here, I felt like a social worker for an abandoned child. I was struggling to get to know this new program myself, while at the same time trying to introduce it to others & encourage one of them to take an interest in it. Of course I was hoping that somebody would find the program idea attractive & fall in love with it or at least feel sorry for it & adopt it into their portfolio. And I believe we accomplished that today: the program developer for environmental studies has asserted her ownership & has been increasingly coming up with ideas & plans for its future.

This project has been especially challenging because the program idea was the brainchild of the former University president. Unfortunately, he died a few months ago before anyone else was really brought into the project & the vision for its unfolding died with him. So we have been doing a fair amount of detective work, reading over the project proposal with a fine-toothed comb, looking for details about how it was intended to work. Gradually we have been reconstructing it from the forensic details.

It's too bad: if you mention the phrase "curriculum development" at a party it can be a real conversation-stopper but it's not fair: this work can be creative, challenging, & (dare I say it?) even exciting at times. This does not include the great perks, like occasional travel!

Otherwise, not much to report today. Like I said, we worked almost the entire time. As we were leaving the university, just as it was getting dark, the skies broke & it began to rain. Actually, rain is hardly the word for it: a solid blanket of water came down & continued to come down steadily for almost an hour. In no time at all the university plaza was overfilled & the water started to move like a tidal force into the marble hallways (which are completely open to the outside & almost flush with the lawn). We were soaked in no time. We jammed into a colleague's waiting car where we pushed damp hair off our faces & drove slowly through streets like rivers.

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