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October 19, 2008 - 9:47pm
If you want to watch a dean's eyes roll back into her head, just ask for something and tell her to "find the money in the budget." I've heard this phrase dozens of times over the last several years, but it still strikes me as slightly odd. It gives the impression that funding new projects is a matter of looking for change between sofa cushions. And, in a way, it is.
October 19, 2008 - 6:17pm
In the endless Sisyphean task of explaining university finances to many audiences, we often encounter considerable skepticism about our permanent need for more money. No university worth its diplomas will argue that it has enough money to do its job. Not even the richest among us.
October 17, 2008 - 6:32pm
First, a word of clarification about the title. "Plotting the course" was a phrase that first popped into my alleged mind in reference to preparing a campus carbon neutrality plan. But then, I realized that such would only lead to confusion. I might think of a carbon neutrality plan as a "course of action", but (somehow) the term "course" brings other images to most minds on campus. So, bowing to the inevitable, lets think of "course" as a unit of curriculum.
October 17, 2008 - 6:27pm
Drama Mama is officially leaving the building. This is my last post for Mama PhD. Just so you know it’s not because I am getting “outed” at my university as someone concerned with issues of parenthood and academia (see last week’s post) or because I got my ego crushed a few months ago (see my post on sodium laurel sulfate) or because this doesn’t count as scholarship (although I still might consider Mama PhD the musical).
October 17, 2008 - 3:21pm
I know: I’m the one who chose to write, and to complain about the problems inherent in one’s own choices is tiresome. Hemingway says it more colorfully in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, when he upbraids himself for getting discouraged (and hungry, supposedly) as an apprentice writer in the early days in Paris. “Outside on the rue de l’Odeon I was disgusted with myself for having complained about things. I was doing what I did of my own free will…. You God damn complainer. You dirty phony saint and martyr,” he says.
October 16, 2008 - 10:21pm
Maggie's post on temperament and leadership really gets it right – check it out.
October 15, 2008 - 9:45pm
This isn't a question, per se, but it's too good not to quote. A longtime correspondent writes (edited for relative anonymity): Our chief academic officer (CAO) just submitted his resignation. He will have been here (less than three years) when he steps down. Over the last decade, we have had more 'interims' than 'permanents' in that role, and few have lasted more than a couple of years.
October 15, 2008 - 9:35pm
Today I travel to my lone academic conference of the year (not counting conferences within driving distance). Like many professors who teach at regional state institutions, one conference a year is all my university pays for. When I was starting out, I attended more, and paid for much of the costs out of my own pocket. While some conferences feel like a waste of time and energy, at their best conferences can be exciting ways to meet other interested scholars, learn about ground-breaking new research, get feedback on developing ideas, and network.
October 15, 2008 - 8:16am
Isn’t it funny how after you learn a new word you are suddenly aware of it being used all over the place? I feel like this happened to me with the academic career-family balance thing. Although there was general talk about balancing career and family as I went through my schooling, until recently I lived in a zone where there really was no recognition of the intricacies of balancing kids and academia; you just figured it out (or not).
October 15, 2008 - 12:47am
I wrote a while back about my feeling that the complexity of technology is accelerating so rapidly that we can’t even understand how little we understand about it anymore, so I was interested to read this essay by John C. Orr over at The Kenyon Review, called “Back to the Future: The Continuing Appeal of The Education of Henry Adams.” (The book for which this blog is named.)

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