Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Read All the Rules

So, I'm chairing the Basketweavers' Committee this year, and a bit overwhelmed.  Maybe more than a bit overwhelmed.

I have learned one thing already: read all the rules.

Yes, I started reading the Basketweavers rulebook this afternoon, after chairing the first meeting of the Basketweavers' Steering Committee, and learned that I had done one thing slightly wrong, and hadn't realized we needed to do another thing.

Fortunately, these are both things that can be corrected for the Basketweavers' Committee meeting tomorrow, and I think the Steering folks are grateful that someone else is doing the job, and thus forgiving at this point.  I don't expect them to be forgiving of more serious lapses, or of lapses once I should reasonably have the hang of the job. 

But for now, it's okay.

And it's a good thing I read the rules.

A few years ago, I was on a flustercluck of an ad hoc committee.  It was one of those sorts of committees that almost never happens, so when it does, there's little institutional memory and no one really knows what's happening.  So there we depended on the knowledge of a deanling, and the deanling didn't know what zie was doing.

And then the person chairing the committee read the rules, brought everything to a stop, and basically we started over again, following the rules.  So it worked out, but it took longer than it would have if we'd all gone in having carefully read the rules.

You would think I'd have learned from that to read the rules well ahead, but you'd be wrong.

However, now I've read the rules, and I've got the rulebook in front of me, and I have a better idea of what needs to be done and how to do it.  And we do have some institutional memory, which is a great help.

I have a couple goals for every meeting I chair: get the work done and do not waste peoples' time. 

So I try to be prepared, try to have things ready for people (handouts color-coded and such), and try to keep things on track. 

I have to watch myself, though, and make sure I don't cut people off short because I'm too focused on keeping on track.  It's a balancing act I haven't perfected yet.

I've now spent a whole lot of time working on Basketweavers' stuff, and now it's time to turn to planning my classes, because they are coming soon!

Wish me luck, please!


  1. Luck! Although a pair of earplugs might be more useful.

  2. Good luck!

    I definitely relate on the rules thing. We were between faculty handbooks last year because we were in the midst of revising the old one, so we didn't really know which rules to follow. The committee I was on followed the old handbook until the new handbook was approved. But then, some of the rules for us got changed. So now it's someone else's problem, but we had a total cluster fuck at the end of last year because of it. Ye gads... I follow the rules when I know what they are, but that was seriously messed up!