King for a Day

Today, by virtue of being the only faculty member in my department who isn't teaching in the early evening, I've been elected to attend the Department Chairs meeting. I would like to think that this will be a fascinating learning experience. But I suspect it will be a mind-numbing chart fest where I'll be bludgeoned with endless Excel spreadsheets of University assessment mumbo-jumbo which seems to be all the rage these days.

For whatever reason, I keep picturing it a bit like the trial from "The Crucible," but I've no idea why. Maybe it's the oddly officious way in which things are done here - so often, decisions seem to be made by scaring the herd in a particular direction. But I find it interesting that Miller could have been writing his play not about McCarthyism but about academic decision making.

We're still in the midst of figuring out things with our candidate and the entire department is on edge. Today I had to explain to our chair that someone asking for specifics probably means they're comparing us to another school that has all of those things ironed out and codified - research start-up funds, timetables, and such - and that coming into one's first or second job, those details become oddly comforting and should be seen as a search for some sense of security rather than as being picky. It doesn't help, particularly, as Dance has pointed out, that there isn't exactly a simple means of comparison among such things.

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kermitthefrog said...

Just so you know, that link is most definitely not to Dance!

March 6, 2008 at 6:45 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Wow - that was odd. Good catch.

March 6, 2008 at 8:59 PM
Rent Party said...

Office conditions at my first job were weirder than I could have imagined. When I negotiated for my second job I had a million questions for that reason. The chair thought I was incredibly odd to be asking such silly things, but he did not realize what I was coming from.

March 7, 2008 at 12:45 AM
ash said...

"a mind-numbing chart fest where I'll be bludgeoned with endless Excel spreadsheets of University assessment mumbo-jumbo which seems to be all the rage these days."

it's as if you'd already been to one of these meetings. precisely right! have...um, fun!

March 7, 2008 at 8:38 AM