Thursday, March 02, 2006

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

John Lee Hooker owns my office this morning.

After our big meeting on Monday, the Dean (not the Deanling, mind) sent out an email to the faculty he'd seen there (in other words, yes, he'd taken attendance) saying that since there was so much interest, we should have meetings on campus to discuss this stuff.

I sent him a carefully worded email (which I had a colleague read to make sure I didn't sound nuts or whatever), explaining that while the issue is important, having extra meetings on campus is going to dilute our energy.

Within a few minutes, I got an email CC'd from the Dean about the teaching abroad thing. Now, what happens with teaching abroad, as I understand it, is that I write up my app (done, check), and the Chair fills out a support statement, basically saying that my department would be able to work around my not being there, and then the Dean has to basically fill in a support statement saying that the college will be able to work around my not being there. So this email, which had the names of several faculty members on it (including mine), basically said he was forwarding our names but couldn't actually say the college could work around our not being here. In other words, no support.

It was surprising to see few names on the note, because I expect more people than that to apply from our college to teach overseas in a given year. And indeed, when I checked with a colleague who's taught overseas, she was surprised to see so few names, and she's never seen this sort of response in her experience, and was surprised to see it.

In my paranoid moments, that makes me wonder if there's another letter with the names of people the Dean says the college supports and can work around.

In my more common unparanoid reading, I'm guessing that only the few of us applied, and that the Dean's being straightforward about the budgetary problems. It's a year and a half into the future, and he doesn't know the budget. So this is NOT about me.

Again, NOT about me, just less than wonderful timing. (Because if it is about me, what could I do anyway.)

A few minutes later, I got an email from the Dean basically saying that he appreciated my feedback but really thinks we need more meetings on campus to talk about these important issues.

The first email, the one about teaching abroad, suggests that he MIGHT be able to work it out if we teach courses here in an on-line format in addition to our responsibilities to overseas programs.

Can I just say, John Lee Hooker may have a really good idea here.

Meanwhile, I'm reading less than stellar submissions for a campus competition, and I'm going to run down and grab some caffeine, which at least won't get me fired.

I have a public library presentation thing tonight, and I'm completely underwhelmed and nervous. Logically, I KNOW it's not a test, but illogically, I feel like I'm heading to do a defense with 20 random people. At what point am I going to feel moderately competent about what I do, and doing it in public?

How stupid is this? I have an almost irresistable urge to study my Variorum instead of preparing for the essay competition meeting this afternoon. Yes, the Variorum. Could I be more 19th century?


  1. The two most common faculty complaints I hear:

    1. Too many meetings.
    2. Not enough communication.

    Kinda says it all...

  2. We do it just to drive you mad, Dean Dad! (Gosh, rhyme and everything!)

    There's a difference between communication and meetings. If the information is top down, then send it to me in a well-written form, and I'll read it. If there's a decision and I'm part of the decision making, then make it a real meeting, and recognize that somewhere, something else has to give. Value my time.

    And recognize when people have gone out of their way to make you look good by doing a public thing.