everyone has their own agenda

The title is accurate for the meetings I’ve been running, as I make sure everyone has their own agenda before we start. (I send them out via email.)

Today’s topic is everyone’s least favorite part of their job: meetings. I had two this morning back-to-back, and had to “lead” the second one. No one ever seems to enjoy this part of the job, but I have found that making sure everyone is well-prepared and no personalities try to dominate make for happy, quick meetings. We disposed of six little things in 15 minutes, and could spend the remaining time getting inside a particularly thorny issue. I am pleased to report we came away with some fine plans that are easily implementable and will have a positive impact on the program.

Academic administrators at any level – even my “Temporary Honorary Colonel” referenced above – should have the following as their primary goal:

What can I do to make sure our faculty can engage in their teaching, research, and service to the best of their abilities? If the faculty can do their jobs, the students benefit by having engaged, professionally-satisfied teachers and mentors. I know there are those who might disagree with me, but the faculty have to be at the center of any academic enterprise. Maybe that’ll change when and if I move up the ranks, but for right now, that’s how I feel.

Oh, and concerning students: I refuse to think of the students as “consumers.” Rather, they are students. A university has no customers.

WF

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