Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dean Girl

I have a confession to make. I've been an associate dean since I started lurking at RYS. Now I'm dean.

But guess what? My main goal in life is not to make your life miserable. My main goal is to keep this tanker from crashing anywhere. And there are lots of rocks out there.

My budget, for example, is finite. I'd love to give you all raises and new offices and buy you lots of toys. But what do I do when the money runs out?

I know that you bitch about "the administration" and see me as part of that. Sure, we holler at you if you don't get your grades in on time. The students and the registrar are breathing down our necks! And they need their grades soon.

I understand that the erasers are missing and we ran out of blue whiteboard pens. We can't just waltz into Target and get stuff. We have to go through the purchasing channels. We're a public institution, and that's taxpayer money (along with the tuition) we're spending.

May I share my day with you?
  • Before I got my laptop hooked up, Prof. A stormed in, insisting that I get curtains for his office.
  • Prof. B saw me come round the corner and insisted I come listen to the dreadful noise. Yes, it's loudest in the toilets. That keeps the duration of the sessions to a minimum, I suppose.
  • Student A's mother called with a long drawn-out request on account of her flake being out of the country.
  • Student B dropped by to brightly tell me that he's requested that Prof. C, a guy who really irritates me, be on his committee with me.
  • Student C wanted to drop her application off and have me mail it to Admissions for her.
  • The secretary went home because she's not feeling well. But since she showed up it doesn't count as a sick day.
  • Student D needed a room to work in, but we have none free.
  • Prof. D had this great idea for doing interviews for admissions. All I have to do is do it for him.
  • Prof. F was mad that we docked his pay for being seriously late with grades. New rules, dude.
  • Prof. G wants money to start a new scholarly journal. I suggested he call it the Journal of Part-Time Research.
  • The Prez is pissed because we don't like the dysfunctional web site his web site editor has designed.
  • The Veep is angry because I dissed one of his pet projects publicly so he is taking random potshots back.
  • I requested statistics from the administration for the umpteenth time, after finally getting the numbers I requested in February.
  • The computer center refuses to set up a system that would make my life easier because they would have to install it and back it up.
  • My administrative assistant edited a policy document thoroughly, using an old version of the document and sent it out without showing it to me first.
  • The alumni lady wants me to come to some beach party and chat with alumni I don't know.
  • I tried to understand the budget for 2011. I gave up and went home.
Smile at your dean tomorrow. Make her day.


  1. Dear Dean Suzy, can I have some curtains, too? Please? You don't understand how important it is...this guy stands outside my office picking his nose while waiting for his ride, and every time he does, I accidentally give half my students Fs. WITHOUT CURTAINS, THEY WILL ALL BE IN YOUR OFFICE COMPLAINING AT SEMESTER'S END. Please help!!!

    Big Smiles,
    Dr. Snarky
    Assistant Professor of Snark
    Office hours: Concurrent with what's-his-name's nose-picking

  2. Dear Dean Suzy,

    Drs. Stantz and Venkman would like to continue their study on how negative reinforcement affects ESP ability, but stipend funds for the participants are running low. Can the university endorse us a check for one thousand dollars?

    Thank you,

    Dr. Egon Spengler
    Parapyschology Department,
    Columbia University

    Postscript: Could you have someone from Building Services scrape the "Venkman Burn in Hell" graffiti from our door? Many thanks.

  3. Dear Dean Suzy, I just want my salary back. Love, Marcia.

  4. Give me an office with a window and I promise not to complain about curtains.

    Faculty sure do bitch a lot once they get a job for life, huh?

  5. I wanna know if you bent over for Student A because Mommy called. And if you didn't, 1/ thank you for holding the line and 2/ how did you handle it?

  6. Hey, I cherish good administrators: as your experience with the Prez and the Veep shows, they are rare. As a former department chair myself, I say: remember to be decent. If the budget doesn't allow you to be decent, then be fair.

  7. Dear Dean Suzy, I heard a rumor that Drs. Spengler, Stantz and Venkman have appealed to you for additional funding. I also understand that you are down to the bottom of your finite budget, and that their request arrived roughly simultaneously to my own request for curtains.

    I hope you can see that parapsychology research is of far less relevance to our university's mission than is training in the fine art of snark, and that becurtaining my office is the ONLY way to keep ANGRY, SNARKY STUDENTS from storming your office this fall.

    I trust you will give my proposal the due consideration it deserves, and ignore whatever Spengler sent you--even though he is admittedly a hotty.

    Dr. Snarky
    Assistant Professor of Snark

    p.s. If Building Services dares to remove the "Venkman Burn in Hell" installation that my Feminist Guerilla Snarkwork students installed on the Parapsychology Department's door in response to his rampant chauvinism, please be warned: it would be a losing battle. They know their speech is protected, and THEY WILL NOT BE STOPPED. For the sake of everyone in our building, please--just leave it be.

  8. @MeanestProfessor: I always hold the line. I requested that her darling get a fellow student to assemble the paperwork and show up at office hours.

    @Streinikov & Snarky: This fight could be in my department, except they seem to be fighting over sandpails and plastic shovels. Of course, I don't understand beans about the fields of basketweaving and complexification. I just note that the deadline for funding application was 3 years ago and that Official Memo 42/2001 specifically prohibits graffiti. But since I don't have money for the chemicals to remove it, I'll give Prof. F the option of scrubbing the door clean instead of paying up. I look forward to the Snarky vs. F fight, I think we can get that on video and sell it to make money for whiteboard markers.

  9. How do I submit papers to Journal of Part-Time Research? What is the review process like? What is the acceptance rate?

    I have no issue with administrators per se. My shitty school is following a natural trend of adding deans, who are expensive, while freezing faculty salaries. I am so glad I could contribute to the recently added Associate Dean of Handjobs and Bootliking.

    If you fired half the full, assistant, and associate deans, then institution would improve because these people write and enforce rules to justify their existence. Remove the rules, and their position along with salary and benefits evaporates.

  10. @texpat, you submit your papers along with a check for 350$. We let our cats review them, and publish anything they leave dry. But it has an ISSN number so you can put it on your CV and brag sheet.

    We make rules because too many faculty think that submitting grades and stuff is optional or that deadlines are for other people.

  11. Dear Dean Suzy: The free lunches you cater for our meetings are good for my morale. Seriously. It doesn't take much.


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