Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dept. of Exactly what I do vs Dept. of Everything

Father in law came to visit last weekend. He is a "way up there" endowed professor at Monstrous U. He was for a long the time the chair of the rather large department of Exactly What He Does (mango slicing, vertically). We don't even teach an introductory course in Exactly What He Does.

I suffered a bit of culture shock when I was first hired at Small Religious U, because I came from International Prestigious Research Institution in which there were more people in the department of exactly what I do (mango slicing, vertically, 1" separation), than there are faculty in the whole University here.

Our University has lumped several very broad subjects together and called it the Department of Everything. For example, I see other schools our size with a Department of Social Sciences that include Sociology and Psychology and perhaps even Education in one department...or lumping all of the Arts into one Department. What large schools have colleges of, we have departments of.

We have under 10 faculty in one basic science and under 5 in another, our two departments share a chair, meetings, and most functions. One reason we won't officially merge the two departments is because it will make us look, well, too small.

When there's only 10 people in your department, you can't hide from any you don't like. Thank goodness I like and respect all of my colleagues, because one goober could ruin the group dynamic for the whole bunch. Hiring is soooo risky!

There's a department in our building which has two faculty in it. We joke with these two about their department meetings: that they consist of one leaning on the door post of the other's office. And how do you determine who is the chair? Flip a coin? Alternate? Can you imagine what your life would be like if there was only one more person in your department and they were obnoxious?? and tenured???

1 comment:

  1. Hah, my department is me and my chair - who is a fine person and very open to collaboration/democracy, so I'm lucky. But I think at some point, if I stay, that job becomes mine just because my chair will decide they don't want it anymore. We're hoping to eventually move up in the world and become a three-person team. Wouldn't those be exciting times!! ;)