Dr. Curmudgeon, Cat Herder

Back in grad school, one of my colleagues used to suggest that getting the grad students to do something as one was like herding cats. I agreed, though I found there was on crucial exception.

I'd been wondering what to do about helping our new faculty member settle in. When I arrived, I had a couple of good friends, and so I wasn't so worried about finding other things to do (though when they left, wow, did it look stark). But I don't do much these days, because I'm focused on paying things off and saving some little bit in anticipation of moving. And there are weird dynamics that could play in: gender, proximity to tenure, cultural backgrounds, etc, etc.

Finally this week, I realized that the thing to do was to rely on what I'm good at. That crucial exception in graduate school could apply here, too. Back in the day, I was a pretty good at feline wrangling, at least when it came to getting them to the bar. And why wouldn't that work here, particularly when one of the things I've lamented about the place is there's not so much cohesion among the faculty? And if one new faculty member might've been having trouble finding some social activity, wouldn't many of them. And so, the call to the bar went out.

I'm proud to say it worked, with about 12 people showing up, and several apologizing because of prior commitments. I think some good connections were made - the folks in Women's Studies, for example, seemed to find some new allies. And a few people have even asked to have it happen again.

I wonder what they'd do if I counted it as service?


3 Responses to “Dr. Curmudgeon, Cat Herder”
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Sisyphus said...


At my dream university, that would be a full-time administrative position. (Or maybe: "Oh me? Well, I have a 3-3 but right now I get a course release each semester for my position in Cat Herding and Beer Wrangling.)

September 15, 2008 at 1:13 AM
Psych Post Doc said...

Good for you, and it sounds like it was good for them too.

September 15, 2008 at 7:33 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I did need it. I'm likely to need it again soon, too, the say this week has started.

I'm with you, Sis. It would be a dream job - and really, it shouldn't be hard to make it part of a job anyway. I guess I didn't feel like I had the time or energy to try it here before and only now have I either found that (or found the necessity to push beyond it).

September 15, 2008 at 9:05 PM