Saturday, November 20, 2010

When Good Chairs Make Bad Decisions

Our chair is basically a good chair. But, there's a decision that's basically gotten made, by the chair, that really shouldn't be made by the chair. It should be made by the committee of tenured folks. It's not that it's in itself a bad decision, but the decision to make the decision without consulting the CTF is a bad decision, if that makes sense.

To second guess myself, why is it I'm worried about the process rather than the decision?

Have I become one of "those" faculty members?

I think it's actually because I want my colleagues to weigh in and consider this decision, and I want to hear their reasons for favoring it or not.

As often is the case, it's a matter of resources. Our resources are very limited.

On the one hand, if X happens over then next several years, then this will prove to be a very good use of resources.

But, if X doesn't happen, then this will prove a poor use of resources, but one we can't really change. Now, it's likely that X will happen, but there's no sure thing.

But then, if we put our resources into the chair's choice, then the chair has the option to do something he very much wants to do, Y, ESPECIALLY if X doesn't happen. But Y isn't in the interests of our department, though very much in the chair's personal interests. So, if the chair puts our resources into his choice, and X doesn't happen, then his Y will be seen as sort of a favor to the department.

And so we're all wound around.

The same sort of thing happened a couple of years ago; the decision was made by the chair to use resources for one thing, and then, by golly, the thing that was supposed to guard us against didn't happen, but it freed up the chair to do his thing.

Meanwhile, those of us who really think we could use resources in another area might as well be whistling in the wind.


  1. hate when that happens.

    i prefer process, because at least everyone had their say, and the pros and cons were considered.

  2. Executive Committee should have something to say about this, no? Even if they don't, you can bring it up in a regular faculty meeting.

    Like kathy a., I too am a process fan. More often than not, I change my mind after hearing from colleagues with different perspectives, different areas of service expertise, etc. Many minds are stronger than one.