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Comments on: Serving time http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/ "A man needn't go far to find a subject, if he's ready with his salt-box."--Uncle Pumblechook Wed, 14 May 2014 19:32:14 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 By: Frothy McBaldman http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/comment-page-1/#comment-870 Tue, 21 Aug 2007 11:32:32 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/#comment-870 I can’t fret about it too much, really. Because most departmental committee assignments are divvied up to meet a representative distribution (the majors have members from each specialization and a couple at-large bids), I will probably play second banana in the Brit-lit section to our charming Irish Modernist until he retires. It’s not his fault he’s well-liked, well-respected, and omnicompetent.

I’m curious to see what options will be available to me at the college and university levels. The spread sheet of openings we receive each year requires a decoder ring and a sherpa to decipher.

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By: JBJ http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/comment-page-1/#comment-862 Tue, 21 Aug 2007 02:02:25 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/#comment-862 In my experience, winning committee elections is basically a two-election cycle. (This is especially true for university-level committees.) The first time, no one knows who you are. The second time, you start to get on things.

I do focus here on university-service rather than dept. service, both because I think it’s undervalued and because dept. situations vary so widely, and the local politics always need to be grokked.

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By: Frothy McBaldman http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/comment-page-1/#comment-857 Mon, 20 Aug 2007 22:12:10 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2007/08/20/serving-time/#comment-857 Service requirements hereabouts are modest, but I’m already unnerved by the prospect of shouldering my share of the load in the coming semester.

As I learned in picking up departmental committee assignments last spring, the local selection process hinges on familiarity. Though I was nominated (and sometimes nominated myself) for several work-intensive assignments, I was predictably bested in every single run-off, particularly in those contests which obliged my peers to choose one appointee from our small cadre of British lit specialists. I anticipated that eventuality, at least, and managed to land a post on the Honors committee, although I’m only there by default. It’s also understood to be a light obligation–if I seem like a shirker, it’s not by dint of shirking.

I’m also unable to curry administrative favor via my choices, at least for the next two years. In the absence of a provost, our deans have all been temporarily reshuffled; at the end of the shuffling period, the person who is normally the dean of our division plans to retire.

Right now I’m noticing a sharp schism in committee preferences among my colleagues: there are a few who very much want to steer the ship and have locked up most of the positions on assessment, curriculum, and personnel committees, and there are…the rest. It’s hard to determine their level of service aspirations because they never really have a shot at securing one of the directorial posts.

Realistically speaking, my service opportunities at the departmental level may be tightly constrained for the next several years. I’m also not sure what awaits me at the college and university levels, since the nomination and election mechanisms work in essentially the same way.

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