Roger Bourland, music chair at UCLA (how he manages to do that, teach, compose, and regularly blog is beyond me), observes
I’ve sat through a lot of great meetings in the last couple of weeks. Change is thrilling to me, but man, it’s hard to get anything to move quickly in academia.
No kidding! Where I teach, the School of Music faculty (and I presume the faculty in various College of Liberal Arts departments) were invited by the central administration to put all “non-essential” business on hold to focus on some big-picture issues our new president has put before the entire community. So of course we needed an extra meeting to discuss what is and isn’t non-essential business, and develop several plans for how to proceed, and then meet again to vote on them, etc. Turns out there isn’t much non-essential business not to do, anyway.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the campus-wide big-picture issues; they involve curricular and calendar matters on which there’s been significant division within the faculty for years. Long-standing divisions within a faculty often lead to stalemate. Can an determined and enthusiastic new president get things to really happen? I hope so! But as proposals crytalize, heels may be dug in.