Monday, October 15, 2007

Loving my Colleagues

It's sometimes important to remember that our colleagues are really students at heart. I got an email this morning from a colleague serving on a committee I'm chairing asking if I didn't think that someone else in the department wouldn't want to serve on this committee in his place since he's so busy.

I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which someone in our department is pining for another committee assignment, but I have to admit, I'm not finding it likely.

Maybe something else is up that's making my colleague feel especially overwhelmed this term, but it's not departmental committee work. Or maybe he's turning into that rarity here, someone who turns off once s/he's gotten tenured and such.

Seriously, most of my colleagues work hard on several committees, with tenured members usually leading. But we do have one or two slackers, and we all know who they are, and we generally resent them. I hope this colleague isn't turning into one of them.

Meanwhile, as chair, I'd really appreciate if if he did the two smallish tasks we asked him to do in a timely fashion. Is that so much to ask?


  1. Absolutely not! (excepting personal emergencies, I guess.)

    How often does the committee meet? Could it meet less often or do an interim meeting by email? (I'm a grad student; I'm still fuzzy on the mechanics of committees.)

  2. Sisyphus, Thanks :) Good questions! We meet about every other week for an hour. As chair, it takes me 2 or so hours to prepare for a meeting.

    We very occasionally do things by email, but for anything more than a quick okay, it's more effective to gather bodies in a room.

    In my dept, we generally serve on one busy (this one counts) and one not so busy (meets 2-4 times a semester) committee, and perhaps a college/university committee.

    My advice for being a good committee member? Prepare. Read the materials ahead of time, including the notes from the previous meeting(s). Discuss issues with constituencies as appropriate. Do you part ethically and communicate well.