Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chairs and Deans--Crazy to begin with? Or does the job make them that way?

Big conference nearby.  I wasn't planning on attending, as I blew my measly conference money already, and I didn't see much on the program that I was dying to go to.  But some friends from my previous U called up from the pre-conference (they weren't on the program). 

It was so great to see them!  They are both such smart, reasonable, sane people.  And they manage to be very successful career-wise while having a nice life to boot.  In fact, one of them is now an associate dean.  She was chair for 8 years, and she published tons at the same time (still trying to figure this out). She also runs in marathons and manages to ski 20+ times a year.

So now the question is, why don't such people (especially women) exist at my current U?  People who stick their neck out here by going into admin positions seem to either get them chopped off or they get sucked into higher admin positions (which eventually takes its own toll, apparently).  Somehow, so many of the people who were chairs or deanlettes here are bitter, carrying a lot of baggage. 

Lesson learned--don't go into admin here, no matter the salary. I don't even want to be chair--ever! 

I wonder--is my current U is the norm or the exception?  Do deans seem to be a bit nuts most places?  Not quite healthy, balanced?

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