Five reasons I miss being a dean:
- The schedule was fast-paced and interesting.
- I believe that I had a (good) effect on the schools' trajectories--that I made a (positive) difference. Sometimes now I wonder if I'm making a difference. I never wondered that as a dean.
- I was able to use some of my lawyering skills while still staying an academic.
- I enjoyed talking and thinking about legal education (I still do!), and I enjoyed spending time with policymakers for legal education.
- I really had a great time with most of my fellow administrators and staffers.
Ten reasons I'm glad I'm not a dean:
- I get to decide how I allocate my work time, and for the most part, my work is "all about me"--my research interests, my teaching interests, and my service interests.
- I no longer know what goes into the "sausage" of certain policy decisions--and I don't know that much about my colleagues' quirks.
- I can stay in touch with those alumni and others with whom I enjoyed a real friendship, but only with those folks.
- Any and all problems with, inter alia, parking, budget, facilities, natural disasters, travel, and health scares may eventually affect me, but they aren't part of my daily worries any more.
- I can get to know more students, and in more capacities, than I used to.
- My schedule is, essentially, my own, and my deadlines involve my own scholarship and not university matters.
- I get to wear jeans again. A lot.
- I can go on TV and radio and say what I really think without also worrying if I'll have to answer directly to a provost, president, or donor. Cf. Erwin Chemerinsky's near-disaster with UC-Irvine. Thank goodness he's well out of that situation.
- Working on a couple of committees, even the time-consuming ones, beats all heck out of being invited to meetings just because someone wanted the dean to be there.
- I can now take the time to go to my colleagues' presentations and actually listen to them instead of having to juggle a calendar that's truly impossible to survive.
Let's just say that I'm as happy as I can remember being as an adult. Bravo to those people who are deans, associate deans (what a thankless job!!!), and assistant deans--they deserve kudos for their many sacrifices (as do their friends and families).