Nickeled and Dimed

I need advice about a particularly “asky” colleague. From funding field trips and end-of-semester receptions for students, to course scheduling, to early (or extra) course releases, she’s quick to email…

Inequity and the “Very Important Professor”

A couple of Very Important Faculty Members in my Department hold Endowed Chairs and Named Professorships, publish a lot, and have been doing things their own way for years because they are Very Important and Very Busy. No one likes petty paperwork or attending meetings but we all have to do it. What are some best practices for handling their small, but relentless, refusals to capitulate to bureaucratic norms?

Building a Better Major

Like a lot of departments we tend to aim our programming at a type of student that I will call the Classic Major. If we are aiming to develop both depth and breadth of knowledge in our students, this is the kind of student that we are looking for. However, these majors are now in the minority, at least at my institution. But we have many more of what I will call the New Major. If there is a unifying principle to the category of the New Major, it is that many of these students identify their main interest as creative writing.

Material Interests

Part of what one learns from being chair is the inescapably material character of academic life, how the academic fabric is woven in our workplaces. It is a good thing to keep the economic underpinnings of the enterprise front and center for colleagues, helping them to balance their idealism against the many competing, often economic, priorities that departmental discussion and decision-making need to take into account.