Thursday, February 22, 2007

Support Hos

You'll forgive the cheekiness of this post title, I suspect, if I can make it clear why it's necessary with an overly sincere question: how much support can you reasonably expect from your colleagues?

I ask because yesterday was round two of horrible committee meeting; the follow-up to this misadventure in faculty personalities. In large measure, the expectation of being the human punching bag was much the same, and led to the same bodily effects: I don't technically have to go in to school this morning, and I've been planning all week to get some work done on a paper I have to give in April. Instead of happily reading through my stack of new books fresh out of the Amazon package, however, I've been oscillating back and forth between rage and despair. Here's the problem: on the table at yesterday's meeting was the future of a project that I've been working on, for a month or so, with an ad hoc committee. I won't go into details here, but suffice to say that we're hoping that it will have positive ramifications for a student population that no one has heretofore given a crap about. Last important point: a third of that committee is comprised of members of my department.

At yesterday's meeting, the issue hit the table and endured the typical (but still baffling) responses from attendees: "I don't get it, and thus I think it's bad;" "It doesn't serve my majors, and thus I think it's bad;" "It's not like when I went to college, and thus I think it's bad." You get the picture. Then there were more substantive questions, suggestions, comments, etc. All in a day's work (all creating great intestinal havoc on my part, but in a day's work, nonetheless). But here's the kicker: when it was put up for a vote, a member of my department voted against it because she "didn't know enough about it."

Whoa. It took me awhile to fully feel like I'd been kicked in the stomach, but punted I do indeed feel. A quarter of your department is working on a project, and you officially register your discontent because you don't know enough? If only we lived in a world where one could obtain information without having to resort to the fallible telegraph system or the lengthy wait time incurred by the Pony Express. Oh, wait...

So, tell me, blogosphere. What is it that one can reasonably (note: I'm not saying "realistically") expect from one's colleagues? How do you comport yourself with regards to their ideas and activities outside your department? Is there any sense in which the bounds of collegiality suggest that you communicate your concerns about these to them in person?

Am I turning into Professor Pollyanna, asking for ethics in the academy?


Blogger Beth said...

I can't comment from the world of aademia ... but I get enough of that in the corporate world. Luckily, I have a boss who will let me whine and bitch and moan until I feel satisfied.

Friday, February 23, 2007 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Sorry to hear about this. I have a colleague who often behaves similarly -- I think it has to do with her political agenda and how she thinks she's going to be perceived by others in the larger college.

Friday, February 23, 2007 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Well, for one, you shouldn't let your expectations fall down to the level of this colleague. Reasonable and realistic should be the same. I try to view these kinds of things being "low bar, high expectations." I make it as easy as I can for them, but have every confidence that they can do better than average (or, in your colleague's case, sub-average).

So no, you're not turning into Professor Pollyanna, you're having the kinds of expectations of others you have for yourself; it's natural to feel punted after crap like this. At least the other members of your department came through (er, right?).

Then again, this is coming from someone who herself is often accused of being too Pollyanna... so perhaps you should ignore this comment...

Monday, February 26, 2007 2:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Marxy said...

I have to say that I just love the title of this post. I hope I am one of your top tier support hos--I certainly feature myself as one of them! And you are one of my fave hos of all time!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...


Monday, March 05, 2007 8:19:00 PM  

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