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JANUARY 6, 2010   

It's that time again

Meeting agenda, iPhone on tableAt the start of every semester the college gathers its faculty from three campuses in one place to share the latest administrative initiatives, academic research, and motivational mumbo-jumbo.

After one or two of these meetings you get pretty cynical—this speaker might play the guitar, that one promise that you'll wonder why they were invited (she was right!) while another promises all you need is love.

I grumble as much as the next person, but to be honest there's usually an idea or two that I take away from each of them and later use in getting ready for a new round of students, classes and challenges. I'll grudgingly admit that it's helpful to step back occasionally from the daily fray and think about bigger issues. Doesn't mean I like day-long meetings, though. They're a colossal pain in the ass.

The administrative initiatives with their annoying parade of multi-letter acronyms (AQUIP, DEI, C3, TTI, TILI) most often are aimed at improving student success. Hard to argue with that as a focus. But there's a "new initiative" fatigue that sets in, a sense that new programs require—and get—new administrative positions while we beg for more full time faculty and are told there's no money in the budget. I don't question the motivation or the competence of the folks who invent these programs, but I do question swhether that's where the college should be spending the money.

So I go to the meetings, try to pay attention (only checked the temperature once today), scribble a few notes here and there, and learn a little bit. Kind of like a "C" student, I suppose.

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