Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Monday, March 18, 2013

False spring

Today's weather seems to mirror the state of the series of changes heretofore described in this post. At least in the northeast section of the city, today looks like summer, or at least spring break: mostly blue skies, some fluffy clouds, and lots of sunshine. The light coming though the windows warms the room I am in quite effectively, so that shorts and bare feet seem entirely appropriate. Of course, a simple walk to the curb to check the mail puts lie to those appearances: there's still quite a nip in the air, and a few errant raindrops remind me that we are not at all into the dry season.

Such is it with my transition from deaconal to didactic responsibilities. Last Wednesday was my last day in-service as a dean; we had the farewell lunch and the after-work drinks, the card and balloons and the bottle of champagne, and the genuine sense that this was actually happening. I am technically on vacation now, and I sure look like a between-quarters faculty member again: hanging out at home, running through training modules for a new e-learning platform and blowing the dust off my syllabus to update it.

But the transition hasn't really taken hold yet; appearances to the contrary, I am still deaning it. First of all, this is a typical administrative vacation, meaning I am on email tying off loose ends, providing needed info, putting out fires, and so on. I even went into the office for a short time last Friday to handle some time-sensitive issues.  Further, I will be continuing some of the responsibilities I had as dean as my service (non-teaching) workload when I return to faculty; I will continue to manage a number of projects without missing a step. And while there is an interim plan to respond to the vacancy my "migration" (as our president calls it) creates, I don't expect a permanent solution anytime soon. While I gave notice of my intended transition on December 3rd, the first campus meeting to discuss options was not held until February 26th, and I am not anticipating a swift resolution to the situation.

So, I expect that I will live for a while with a foot in each camp: continuing to "think like a dean" when it comes to advancing the initiatives I have kept on my plate and trying to "think like an instructor" when it comes to developing my class and working with students again. I'm not sure that I will be able to completely let go of my appointment until a permanent replacement (of one sort or another) is found and my colleagues and former staff can stop covering my area as well as theirs. Until then, that thing devoutly to be wished - a transition of my focus from the macro to the micro, a decrement in responsibility - will be just out of reach, and those halcyon days when my blog posts were cute and fun, or reflective and insightful, instead of serious or dour will not return quite yet.

On a walk around the lake today, a dear friend opined that this plan of mine to disengage somewhat from work will not last long. She's probably correct, but we'll never know unless I get it started.

Up, up and away.

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