The Microcosm

At the end of a semester, I’m always of the opinion that I’d like to end it on some kind of up note.  I haven’t collected the data to see how often that is the case.  I suspect it is rare.  But that could just be a reflection of how I feel at this moment in time.

We had two meetings of import to the Faculty this week.  On Tuesday we met with the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty to “clear the air.”  One of the major issues was shared governance.  On Thursday we had a union meeting (AAUP).  I suspected that at least one of those was going to result in pissing me off.  I was correct in that assumption.

We have a relatively new dean.  Since she has been here she has talked about the importance of faculty taking the responsibility for initiatives to improve the plight of the college.  Since she has been here, there have been faculty members complaining about how everything is decided at the top and heard about the faculty later.

The disconnect is overwhelming at times.

Originally posted in Teacher’s Lounge at Daily Kos

On Tuesday, I spoke my piece talking about the importance for the faculty to say, “No” to those initiatives it disagrees with and come up with better plans.

On Thursday much of the first part of the meeting was a bitch session, an enumeration of the ways in which people had been done wrong.  Eventually I got a chance to speak.  I spoke about the fact that the faculty had collectively failed in its part of faculty governance by not addressing substantive issues, by not doing the work necessary to push back against the administration, by not assuming our share of the governance.

I am annoyed that at least one of my colleagues missed the point of the usage of collective nouns and responded with a list of ways she had acted as an individual.  More than annoyed.  And if others perceived what I said with the same interpretation, I’m sure I am not highly popular today.

As the discussion progressed I was joined by several of the nursing faculty, though they probably spoke more diplomatically than I did, and by some senior faculty from art and philosophy.

Mostly I’m stuck with a few remaining thoughts.  How can a group systematically give up its power and then complain about some other entity filling the void left by that abandonment?  And how can people look at something which is barely functioning and say, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”


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    • Robyn on December 8, 2007 at 19:57

    …because I told them I would come in and open it for them for three hours today.  90 minutes or so until I can return home. 🙂


    • Edger on December 8, 2007 at 20:21

    How can a group systematically give up its power and then complain about some other entity filling the void left by that abandonment?

    Immediately brings to mind (to mine at least) voters not using the mass power to force behavior change in Washington they have, but instead voting for promises instead of delivered actions, and complaints of Democrats “capitulating”.

  1. but I think we’ve gotten a bit stuck in our evolutionary development. We learned some things about the root causes of problems, and then people just stopped there – creating everlasting victims who don’t know how to move on to empowerment. We know how to identify problems and complain, but then just get stuck there.

    That’s why I get a bit of a kick out of this song by the Eagles:

  2. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

    That was the motto of people on a bizarre little island in between the North Fork and South Fork of Long Island and is in part why I had to move away from there.

    Because of the fact that you had to take a ferry to the island it had evolved in it’s own bizarre way for a long long time.  Most of the working families on the island had endured the depression and developed money saving habits.  The rich twits, well they’ll always be rich twits.

    Over time it seemed that the working men on the island began working less and less and forced the women on the isalnd to do most of the providing and decision making.  This left the men to sit around and come up with gems like: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it almost everyday.  Why work when you can hang out on a beautiful island and let other people do all the work.

    Now they have the migrant workers to boss around as well as the women.  At any one time you can find the majority of men shooting the shit at the marina, coffee shop, post office etc.  But rarely will you see them actually working.

    It is an island with an incredibly high income per capita but it is run by people who barely made it through high school.

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