Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Why be an Administrator

I have noted that there is no Academic Admistrator linked in the faculty at Crooked Timber , and my discipline doesn't appear either. We also appear under-represented at this site that Prof G led me to. So accept my lone voice, crying in the wilderness (and Prof B this is all your fault).

It is just that I am more and more coming to the conclusion that every faculty member should be forced to be an Administrator for at least 5 years, just to understand the absolute frustration of the job. Now I will admit that it is a Friday evening, and I have enjoyed the fruits of a Cline "Ancient Vines Zinfandel" that was much better than the Keenan Merlot at twice the price that I enjoyed last week, but even so!

Consider this, it is 1:30 pm and at 11:30 am you had meandered down and talked to individual A about an ongoing project. The individual was waiting for individual B who had just gone to lunch before doing something. At 1:30 you meander back and A is still waiting. You meander across the hall (this is the normal academic hall) and there is individual B. Who has been there for over an hour, working on "important stuff." So you very gently suggest that A is waiting and act as escort across the hall. You wait until the current issue is resolved, and go back to your office. An hour later you wander back down and lo you have to do the same thing over, but in the other direction.

This has been going on for over a week. The two individuals were both eligible for the retirement meeting earlier this week. And I have been doing this "disinterested interlocutor" role for about a week now. I got mildly irritated at this process mid-week and B disappeared for over 2 hours in a huff. (They are jointly supposed to be getting this project completed).

I am going to retire from this position ere long, and these folks, who have worked together for over 20 years, need to recognize that I am not going to be around to handle this effluvia much longer. But it is, forgive me for mentioning this, an ongoing problem in trying to do the "herding cats" job that pretends to the current requirements of Academic Administration at the lower levels.

So midway through this I get a little e-mail that no-one has seen the presentation I was supposed to submit for the Conference in a week (it needed to be loaded on the CD). Now that could not be because I had not submitted it - perish the thought. So I wheedle and beg and get an extension until 5 pm. And then ubiquitous student shows up and takes half an hour while I let him convince me that the experiment he wants to run is valid (actually its obvious but never mind, he had obviously spent a lot of time preparing the presentation). You may have noticed I haven't had lunch yet.

Then another student team come in and their results were "unexpected", I gently take a few minutes to explain why (and 15 minutes later in the day to do the same thing to their faculty mentor).

Ah, and then I get the third frantic call from our contractor in Indiana. Where is the response that they have to have in today to their award of contract? So I call around - whaddya mean that most of our contracts folk took off at 3 pm - so we have to send someone over to hand carry the printout around for the acceptance signatures (this is the last day of the month you understand).

Chest pains, whaddya mean chest pains, I'm not allowed to have them, the faculty have to have answers (actually it's called indigestion and them purple pills sort of work most of the time - but it helps to have lunch).

And you know what? After I wrote the memo, no-one responded until the Dauphin did, and then there were several comments, but no initiative. So then I suggested a path, and lo the Dauphin is leading a charge. Doesn't it make you feel proud.

Actually, no! I have gone looking for the green bottle, I am sure I had it up here somewhere . . .

14 Comments:

At 10:41 AM, Blogger bitchphd said...

Take care of yourself, of course.

(How is this my fault? I am confused.)

BTW, I know of at least one other academic administrator blogger: http://suburbdad.blogspot.com/

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Heading out said...

Ah, 'tis because you inferred that perhaps I should blog after having more than a plentiful sufficiency , and a bottle of wine meets that criterion.

Grin, and thanks for the web address, I shall meander over and have a peer.

 
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