A a few hours ago I sent the following email to all the students who signed up for my Internet law class next fall:
Thank you for signing up for Internet Law in Fall '07. It's a great class and I'm looking forward to teaching it. Unfortunately, it seems I'm going to be teaching it next Spring, not next Fall.
I know that late schedule changes cause you significant inconvenience, so I wanted you to hear from me why this change is necessary before you got the official notice from the Registrar's Office, which should arrive in a day or two.
After the schedule was set, I was appointed to two administrative positions in the law school that will require intensive effort in the Fall: First I was appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee and this week I agreed to take over as Director of Faculty Development from Prof. Mary Coombs, who is resigning from that post.
Internet law is a demanding class to teach: I use my own materials, and I try to make them as up-to-date as possible in a very fast-changing area. It was clear that there was no way I could do the class in Fall and also do justice to both of these new responsibilities. In appointing me to the Faculty Development post, the Dean's office urged me to only teach one class in Fall — and that has to be Administrative Law, which we try to offer every semester.
This means you are getting the short end of the stick, and I apologize for that. The Dean's office and I have asked the Registrar to give you priority for Internet Law if you decide to take it in the Spring — and I hope to see you then. Meanwhile, if I can be of any help in suggesting alternate courses, please don't hesitate to email me with a list of courses you are considering.
And, if you have a particular interest in Internet law that won't wait, or if you are graduating in December, it might be possible to arrange an independent writing project for the Fall. To do that, however, you need to have a (fairly narrow) topic in mind. More information about how I supervise independent writing projects is here.
Again, I hope you will accept my apologies for this late change to the schedule.
This registrar approves–your message (albeit a tad long) is a model.
Perhaps you shouldn’t have agreed to take over the position as Faculty Development Director (or whatever) as you already had an outstanding commitment to teach the Internet Law course.
Perhaps you are right. But whoever took it at this point would probably have had a similar issue, and someone has to do it.