Sharing Coke

One of the things that is supposed to be learned by the time a youngster graduates from kindergarden:  sharing.

It’s refreshing (no pun intended, but I’ll still take a bow) to see college students sharing, even if it’s a drink of Coca-Cola.

Apparently, this was accomplished during finals week.

If my managerial accounting students weren’t going to study for the final exam (most didn’t), they should have found a constructive use of their time.

by David Albrecht

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An Evening With My Students

[Spartanburg, SC, Wednesday evening]  My wife asked again, “Are you sure you have people coming to help load up?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”  I had sent an e-mail asking my Intermediate Accounting students for help.

Five students answered my call for help.


The picture above tells it all.  The pickup truck is loaded full.  The trailer is open, ready to be filled.  From left to right:  Shealyn, Nicole, Ashlie’s son Sol, Ashlie, Lee, Profalbrecht, David.

Inside the apartment were pizza, soda (I call it pop), and a cake.  With so many great helpers, the trailer was quickly filled.  Then the students talked shop.  Shop talk for students revolves around experiences in class and what professors are like.

To the fabulous five, thanks for taking over and getting me loaded up.  I could never had done it without you.

To all of the students at USC Upstate who took my classes, thanks for making my time so enjoyably worthwhile.

by David Albrecht

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Packing Up

The school year is over and the fat lady is warming up in anticipation of singing.

I have six hours of grading to complete, then I’ll have completed my obligations at USC Upstate.

This evening several really nice people are coming over to help pack up my pick up truck and U-Haul trailer.  Then it’s a long drive back to Ohio.

I’ve met many wonderful people in Spartanburg.  At the top of the list are those who took my classes.  Several took both Cost Accounting and Intermediate Accounting 2.  Most are in their mid twenties or older.  I could be personal friends with so many of them, if only I was sticking around.  Then there are the bridge players who took me in and gave me a nice way to relax away from the job.

From a career perspective, coming to University of South Carolina Upstate was a horrific mistake.  Up north at least, people knifing you in the back have the decency to do it to your face.

From a personal perspective, coming to Spartanburg, SC, was the best thing I’ve ever done.  So many wonderful people, I’m tearing up to think I won’t see them again.

by David Albrecht


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Cool Things Happened in Class Today

I really like my Intermediate Accounting 2 classes this semester at USC Upstate.  I have a section of 23 at the main campus in Spartanburg, and a section of 5 at the satellite campus in Greenville.

Throughout the semester students were aware that I was being forced to leave USC Upstate and I was out looking for a new job.

Today in Spartanburg I told them I had accepted an offer, and the students applauded me!  It surprised me, and I didn’t know how to react.  But I felt respected, appreciated and loved.

Other events in the class?  Nicole brought a big bowl of lemon blossom treats to share with the class.  Fabulous.

And, I returned graded mid-term tests.  Twenty of the 28 earned a grade of A, and five earned a B.  I then applauded the students for a job very well done.  I am so proud of them.  I have raised my grading standards, and these USC Upstate students have responded in a very impressive way.

By David Albrecht


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A Skype Interview


Pic Credit: Opi HR Blog

Yesterday I participated in a job interview via Skype.  When I was younger, I could never have imagined living in a world where such a thing could happen.

In a room at a middle American university, five accounting faculty members were seated at a small conference table.  I was seated at my office desk in South Carolina.  Both of us had a high def web cam on a computer.  The sound quality was excellent, at least on my end.

Their task is fairly straight forward.  They are looking for a new colleague.  So is my task, to find a new job.  At this stage in the faculty recruiting process, the ball is in their court.  They have been contacted by a number of professors.  In a process not unlike speed dating, they have a few minutes of face-to-face time to form an impression about the prospective faculty member.  If they see something they like, they will invite the job seeker to their campus for a day long interview.

I think Skype interviews are great.  Oh, I had to get past the personal doubts about the impression I was making.  However, as an important part of the job search process I don’t think Skype interviews can be beat.  I was able to watch the recruiting committee members as they asked their questions and listened to my responses.  Because of being able to watch each person, I felt much at ease.

And, they could see me.  I hope I came across well.  I dressed up for the occasion, and tried to speak in complete sentences.  I’m sure the visual aspect of the interview will help them decide whether or not I have something to offer them.

by David Albrecht


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Holiday Break is Over!


This year I am living a four week holiday break–the last two weeks in December and the first two weeks in January.  There are no classes and only a few meetings.

The first two weeks (minus the half week when I had to turn in course grades) have been great.  I’m home with the wife, getting reacquainted after a semester apart.  My two sons (29 & 24) also came home for Christmas.  I’ve been refreshing friendships at church and at the local bridge club.  Moreover, I’ve been staying up until 3 a.m., sleeping late, and taking a daily nap.  Oh yes, the video rental store is where everybody knows my name.  Cheers.

Today, January 2, is the day when we all head back to work.  My in-box so far has three times the e-mail from any day between Christmas and New Year’s.
It’s back to the business of too much to do and too little time in which to do it.

I have hours of news to read, a friend’s research paper to edit, blog posts to write, and course syllabi to write.  And that’s just for today.

buried-in-workby David Albrecht

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Crunch Time, AKA Cancel Your Life

I’m republishing this December 4, 2010 post from the Pondering the Classroom archives.  It is still relevant.

Fall semester is winding down in the USA. We are past the stages of “Reaching our stride,” mid-terms, “Finally getting the hang of it,” and “Running out of time.” We are not yet at the stages of “The end is near,” or “It’s all over but the shouting.” Crunch time starts with a little less than two weeks of class remaining before final exams.

Crunch time is a stressful, pressure packed time for college students and professors alike. IMO there is too much stress, too much pressure. Neither students nor faculty are particularly fragile, but it is called crunch time for a reason.

After four years of undergraduate crunch times, students will be transfigured for life. Last week in a local coffee shop, a middle-aged woman admitted that she still had nightmares about final exams. Her most recent: being 30 minutes late and still unable to locate the room of the exam. Yikes! She never missed a test in her life, but still has fear. I occasionally have that same dream.

Crunch time is no fun for students. Homework still needs to be completed, lessons learned, pre-final tests crammed for and taken, major term papers and projects written and turned in. There is too much to do, too little time to do it in, and no one wants to fail.

Other profs provide the most sarcastic advice: “Start earlier next time.”

I try to be helpful, “Cancel your life.” You need to be focused and study every available minute of the day. A lot of things can slide. Here are three.

You no longer have time for laundry. As long as classes are still in session, apply the smell test to clothes. Smell test? If unlaundered clothes don’t smell of body odor, they are ok to wear. Near the end of final exam week, though, clothes are allowed to reek. Hint 1: hanging up dirty clothes to let them air out will get another day of wear. Hint 2: use copious amounts of spray and wash when the day finally arrives.

You no longer have time to wash dirty dishes, pots and pans. Fast food is now part of the food pyramid. Because we live in an age of vermin, you never want to let garbage pile up, as in this picture:

Hint 1: Huge burritos are a nutritious fast food meal. Hint 2: caffeine negatively impacts cognition. Hint 3: Your apartment has an automatic dishwasher. Use it. If you eat at home, paper plates and plastic silverware were made for times like this.

You no longer have time to watch TV. Hint: Watch favorite shows on Hulu when finals are over.

Do you have any crunch time advice? Leave a comment.

– – by David Albrecht

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