Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I need 'service' advice... please...

So, I'm on this committee.

I joined because I thought the program was good, but needed a bit of revitalization. I thought the others on the committee felt the same and had some good ideas.

I was right about the others on the committee -- but, nothing is changing. This is kind of because of the chair.... S/he is of the 'this is what we've always done, so it should work again' -- I suspect s/he is getting some release time or something for doing this -- and most of the actual work gets farmed out to admin assistant folks -- so, the fact that this person gets release time kind of irks me.

This chair also seems to schedule meetings on the spur of the moment (like, a full week's notice is unusual) -- and they are usually at times that don't work -- but, he doesn't change them. Last fall I was in chemo every Friday -- and several other folks had regular conflicts as well -- but, meetings were almost always Friday, 2:15. We'd often get e-mails after the fact lamenting the lack of attendance at meetings...

This time I'm really kind of irked -- I this morning I sent out a message about Sara's memorial services... Sara was a prime student 'user' of this committee's function and MOST of the faculty on the committee influenced Sara... I jut got an email from hir, s/he scheduled a meeting for next Friday at 2:15 --- DURING her service. It's like s/he read my e-mail and said, 'that would be a good time to have a meeting'... grrrrrrrrr.

So -- is there any way to gracefully break up with this committee? Is the best way to just be passive aggressive about it and just stop coming to meetings? Should I tell hir that I have other priorities and that s/he should find another member to replace me? I'd be more worried about the latter if we still had the same dean... but, s/he doesn't have the special access to my new dean that s/he had to the prior dean.


Miss Kitty said...

Why don't I travel to your uni and kick the shit out of the committee chair?

Umm, okay. Maybe not.

How these people scheduled meetings while they *knew* you had regular chemo appointments is very, very telling. So perhaps you can send an e-mail saying "SARA'S FUNERAL IS THIS AFTERNOON, YOU MORONS, IN CASE YOU FORGOT THAT YOU PEOPLE REALLY MEANT A LOT TO HER" and then skip the meeting. (Maybe not in those words, but...)

I know a lot of absent-minded professors, but this is beyond forgetful; this is willfully ignorant and inconsiderate. You'll be better off and happier without this committee. If it won't be a big thing that comes up at your annual review, tenure process, or post-tenure review, then I say "fuck it"--tell that group to kiss your ass.

Sorry. It's been a very intense couple of days around here. :-)

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Kitty -- I tend to agree.

I don't see any negative implications in just fading away. I've got tenure, I have to do some kind of service, but I'm on steering committee of the uber-activity -- and the chair is a good friend across my hall... and she won't be a horror.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I think you bow out. It sounds like the reasons to leave are more compelling than any reason to stay--and the most graceful way is to state your plans to leave with a vague explanation of priorities and whatnot.

julie said...

Wish I knew, specifically, who you were talking about -- I'd be able to give more specific advice -- but first I'll say: I've been there! I faded from a committee with no tangible repercussions, but my own sense of self suffered: I mean, I'm not a quitter.

If you're truly interested in helping change stuff, don't fade away! We need you! So let chair know that scheduling a meeting when few can make it is a *bad* managerial choice. Push back -- I'd try, anyway.

Your pal . . . ;-)