Friday, November 20, 2009

Negotiations with the Dean

I'm finding my first year as department chair to be a mixed bag. Some things have been fun - like getting to meet all the new history majors. Other parts are not so fun, especially dealing with my Dean. He's a decent guy, but his first response to whatever I ask is to be contrary. I understand sometimes being contrary is necessary - but it is annoying to have it as the default position.

Of course now that I KNOW he likes to go against everything I ask for, I'm just going to reverse the way I ask for things.

Instead of asking: "Hey can so-and-so get a course off in the fall to finish his book?", I'll say: "So-and-so wants a course off in the fall to finish his book, but I don't think he deserves it. What do you think?"

Instead of asking: "Could so-and-so get some extra travel money to present a paper overseas?" I'll say: "I don't think so-and-so should get extra money for his overseas conference. What do you think?"

Instead of saying: "Hey, it's not fair that history has a smaller budget per faculty member than all other departments!" I'll ask: "Hey isn't it great that history has been able to prosper so well with just an inequitable budget? I bet if you cut it, we could ever do better next year!"

Okay... maybe the last one wouldn't work.