Saturday, June 16, 2007

Billy Zane

I have no idea if Billy Zane is an asshole or not. He might be a really nice guy. But I just love the idea that he's an asshole.

(Click the picture for more.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fewer Meetings

Faculty at smaller, less research-oriented schools like mine are in a bit of a quandary. We know we need to work on our scholarship. It's what tenure is based on, it's what makes us attractive to other departments, it brings us respects among our peers, etc. But there's never enough time to get good scholarship done.

So where can we get the time from? It could come out of our teaching, but that's unfair to students, and it's not really practical at a smaller school at which students (and their parents) expect more attention that they'd otherwise get at a large research university. The only other place to find time is from that third pillar of academic life: service.

Yes, a university depends upon the service of its faculty. There's faculty governance in the form of an academic senate, there are numerous interdisciplinary committees to be staffed, there are grants to be administered, etc. And this is all fine. But it can easily take over a faculty member's life.

I'm trying to come up with a way to limit either the number of committees that can exist on a campus, the number of committees to which a faculty member may belong, or the maximum size of committees. It's simply too easy to form a committee and it's a logical first response to any emerging problem on campus. But then the committee exists for a year or longer and sucks more time out of several faculty members' lives.

What can be done? I'm open to suggestions. I don't want to put an outright ban on committee formation, because then administrators would just come up with new committees but call them something else, like "forums" or "working groups." It needs to be legal, but somehow costly, to form a committee.


Rocky I - VI

Yeah, this is brilliant.