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.]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>