Monday, November 09, 2009

Missing Notes

As part of my ancilliary duties for being stupid enough to offer to be secretary to a rotating committee I got put on because someone else refused to do his/her job, I get to be chair of another committee. I seriously would not have offered to be secretary of the other committee if I'd known, because it's a change, but oh well.

This is the "Oh Hell the Future is Upon Us, Crap!" committee, which is responsible for worrying about the future of the department. The Oh committee, as I'll call it as part of my rebellion against the ever-increasing acronyms around here, is actually supposed to do some important stuff, stuff like making decisions (or recommendations to the chair and dean) about tenure-line hiring.

I waited to get this committee going this fall until we'd had our meeting with the new Assistant Headmaster about where things are going; we had that meeting, and now we need to get started deciding where we want to go, strategically and tactically.

So, I made up the agenda this morning; if you've done committee work, you know that the first thing on the agenda of most committees is approving the notes of the last meeting of the committee. At NWU, we keep our notes on an alphabet drive, so I went to the alphabet drive, and found the committee folder (I love the idea of a computer folder, by the way).

The last thing put in the folder was an agenda from spring 2008. Yes, spring 2008.

There are no other minutes or agendas (ae?) for the whole of that academic year. None. Nada. That means there's no record of the decision to do our last round of searches, no record of a decision not to search this fall, nothing. Did the committee meet last year? Got me.

This lack of committee records is pretty common around here. It's like people think that they were at the meeting and that's all that matters. But every so often, it really helps to be able to look back and see what was done, what issues came up, even in the most sparse and undetailed way.

I don't think this is about hiding things, but about being lazy and careless, but it irritates me nonetheless. The longer I'm around, and the more I need to lead committees, the more irritating it is. (I'm sure I've been guilty of not getting notes posted, too.)

1 comment:

  1. Is it possible someone has saved all the minutes etc. in the wrong place (maybe in a folder under a different acronym) or on a personal drive? That seems like some pretty important stuff not to be formally documented anywhere.