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JULY 10, 2009   


Writing on whiteboardWhen you walk into that first departmental "let's get to know each other" meeting with the new boss, and he writes this on the whiteboard, the smart money says your life is about to get more complicated.

Even disregarding the grammar error, this message set off warning alarms in my head, and I suspect I wasn't the only one hearing them. The goal of not doing things the way they've always been done can lead to a number of outcomes. Most are not good.

What if you liked how things have always been done? What if the new way is different but doesn't lead to better outcomes? What if the new way just plain sucks? There's always a chance, of course, that the new way will be better, but the odds aren't in favor of that one.

These thoughts comes courtesy of a new plan at my school, Cuyahoga Community College, that puts our Visual Communication & Design department under a new dean of Creative Arts, along with Theater, Dance, Music, Art, Recording Arts & Technology, and Journalism. We'll be one big happy family.

My cynical side sees all sorts of problems and conflicts leading nowhere, while my optimistic side thinks this is a great, synergistic idea that will bring out the best in everyone. I feel like I've got those two little guys, an angel and a devil, on my shoulders, each whispering in my ear.

After a two and a half hour meeting this morning things still seem vague and fuzzy as to how this will play out once school starts next month. We've been assured that the students won't notice the difference in their day to day lives at the college—which of course make me wonder then why bother?—but that we can expect a few glitches and bumps in the road as we move forward together.

I have to admit, though, that having a dean devoted to our area of work instead of sharing one with Math and Information Technology makes a lot of sense. Working under the same umbrella as the Jazz Festival and community arts programs makes me think about reviving our artist/designer lecture series, maybe the high school web competition too. So I'm not totally ignoring the little guy whispering "here comes trouble," but I'm cautiously looking forward to seeing where this leads.

Stay tuned for future developments.

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