Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Morning's Full of Meetings

And these meetings were good. Shocking for me to say, but there it is.

We met with the new assistant headmaster, who said many things well. Now we hope for success and leadership.

We had a talk about the state of race and inequity on campus, and while the news was bad (we've been doing about a year of research to learn just how bad and to try to get evidence for what we're doing that doesn't work well for our students and community, and what we're doing that does), it was helpful. When you see the numbers, if you hope for any sort of social justice or equity, then you pretty much have to commit to working for a better situation. That's where we are now.

Working towards justice and equity is hard, and we're floundering a bit, but having numbers convinces people who aren't convinced by anecdote or impressions. Hard numbers has a chance of convincing people who really, really don't want to be convinced (and you can tell who they are by the questions they repeatedly ask). Having the numbers means that folks who want to work towards justice and equity can point to the numbers to say that this is important, and that what we're doing now isn't sufficient.

Then I went to a talk on campus writing, and it, too, was good. The speaker did a fine job explaining what we do in our first year writing class, and how student writing develops over time. The speaker did a superb job explaining to the folks who wondered why we don't teach students to read the classics in composition classes (they way they did when the doubters were young) and why we don't just teach every student grammar and more grammar.

Now, now, I feel ready to talk to students again.


  1. Doesn't it make a difference when you have faith in the person at the top? We've had a new Vice-Chancellor six months ago and already there is a completely different fell about the place because he's shown himself to be someone who actually understands what the the job is about and how to connect with the people doing it. Our only concern is how long we can keep him before he gets head hunted elsewhere.

  2. It's good to know that not all meetings are useless wastes of time. Even as a part-timer, I have a lot of meetings to attend. Much of the time, they cover things I already know, so I find them tedious.