Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mote in the Eye

Sometimes, there's a big argument, and when push comes to shove, it's about someone really not realizing that the institution they're used to is really different from another institution. I was involved in a system conference thing this past year, and it blew me away how very different the institutions within this system are, and how clueless I am about some of the other parts of it. And I shouldn't be, because our students transfer in and out of those other parts, and the folks who work there are my colleagus and all.

Students are guilty of this, too, which is more understandable because most of them really do know only one college/university, and new freshmen tend to come in expecting something like the high school they knew.

It's less understandable in fellow faculty, until I remember that most faculty really only know one or two schools. And if you're a new faculty member coming here from a background in an elite SLAC and R1 sort of background, it's really different.

I run into this with colleagues whose terminal degree is really different from mine. I have a colleague in music, for example, and his experiences are totally alien to me. That can cause difficulties when I'm trying to advise a student who's also working in music, but at least now I know who to call with my questions.

It especially sucks when administrators do this.

One of the difficulties is that we tend to have this big, angry reaction, and then when we figure out that we're reacting to a miscommunication/misunderstanding, we're too angry to rethink our initial angry reaction.

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