U and I

As I move through my second year as chair, my experience hangs less upon the way Dr. Tea did things as chair and I feel more confident doing things in my own way.  It turns out that hiring–one part of the chair’s job that Dr. Tea didn’t like–is actually something that I do like, quite a lot.  I like reading through CVs and dossiers; I like thinking about what sort of person will fill the space we have open, or finding someone I like and thinking about how to move things around a bit so that they fit better.  Dinah, for example, expressed to me that she might be interested in moving out of journalism, and I’ve seen a couple of dossiers for candidates who could conceivably take it on.  I also like calling people up and interviewing them over the phone (I do?), arranging their visits to campus, and making those visits run smoothly.  I’m surprised about this, actually, but there was no mistaking the little buzz I got when the HR person started forwarding me application materials.  (The GGE did this last year, but I’m glad to see he’s managed to delegate that now.)  Only problem is that I spent a few hours today, and much of my free time, on the process, and didn’t prep and grade all the things I’d meant to prep and grade.

Dr. Tea is very good at some things I’m not at all good at.  She always got the meeting minutes out fast, and I am slow to send them out, or I just don’t bother apart from a quick email solidifying whatever we agreed on (maybe this is enough?).  She is great on the big picture of curriculum, and I’m not there yet–may never be where she is.  She learned how to listen and give pretty concise, specific, action-oriented feedback, and I seem to take a long time to process when people bring me their problems.  And she seemed to have figured out how to balance the teaching with the chair stuff, while I still find myself struggling to catch up with the teaching stuff, or cutting corners to make it all happen.

I am good at some of the institutional stuff–dealing with other departments, divisional stuff, development–which she was too, but she mostly didn’t like it, and I mostly do.

We’re both good at teaching observations and giving feedback, but that’s partly because I learned a lot from being observed and given feedback by her.

Meanwhile, we have 40 applications already for Olivia’s position, and it has only been posted for a day or so.  A bunch of those are from one of the placement firms we work with, and many of the others are people who were probably checking the job bank daily for updates and sending to new openings as a matter of routine, but I’m a little stunned anyway.  I did some local reaching out as well, but that only accounts for a few of the applications so far.  I kind of hope they don’t keep coming in at this volume.  I have prepping and grading to do!

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