Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cool video of the space shuttle Endeavour reaching its display place in L.A.

See here.  But I'm still ticked off that Houston didn't get one of the shuttles.

Why the deanship at the Boyd School of Law is a plum deanship--and why I'm not a candidate.

We have just posted our ad inviting nominations and applications for the deanship here at Boyd Law (see here for ad).  I am having a marvelous time as Interim Dean, and here are some of the reasons why:
  1. We really are a collegial place.  I've worked at collegial places before (hello, Ohio State!), and I can still say that, of all of the places I've worked, none has been as overwhelmingly collegial as Boyd Law.  One of my favorite things about our school is that, when someone does something really good, that information gets on our listserv and is invariably seconded (and thirded) with "congratulations!"  That's the sign of a school with a "we're a team" mentality.
  2. We really are a productive place.  When I walk down the hallways, I see people working--and working hard.  Folks are excited about what they're doing, and they're happy to talk about their progress on their various projects.  We have a very engaged faculty and staff.
  3. The depth and breadth of the talent running the school is spectacular.  I've had the pleasure of working primarily with the administrative assistants in the faculty area for the first five years that I was here, and now I also get to work with the folks in the various administrative suites.  The only bad thing that I can say about them (both the folks in the faculty area and the folks in the administrative suites) is that they're workaholics.  (Getting emails early in the morning and late at night to follow up on things or share ideas is the dead giveaway that they're workaholics.)  They're smart.  They're talented.  They care deeply about the success of the school and of all the people in our school.  I'll miss working with them when I return to the faculty--but, luckily, I'll have the pleasure of still working directly with Nettie Mann and her team.
  4. There is laughter here, and it's the good kind of laughter, not the "we're making fun of you" kind of laughter.   When you work with very busy and creative people, there are moments in the day when you can share a good belly-laugh.  That's been true from the moment I arrived here in 2007.  We take our jobs seriously, but we're not stuffy people.
  5. Our program's in good shape.  We're fine financially; we enjoy a good reputation in the community; our curriculum is adapting to changing needs.  Whoever gets this deanship will be in the enviable position of working as part of a team on a school that's already very good and is ready to get even better.
So why am I not a candidate?  My not wanting to be a candidate has nothing to do with Boyd Law.  It has everything to do with what's going on with me personally.  I'm in that time of my career where some people who are not even related to me are reading my scholarship and asking me to serve on all sorts of interesting commissions and task forces.  I'm also behind on two books (sorry, Wolters Kluwer!), and I have a lot of projects that I want to undertake during that sweet spot where I'm senior enough to be taken seriously and not so senior that I'm done with my work.

I also want to spend more time with my family.  I know:  that's a hoary old saying, but it's true in this case.  I don't have nearly enough time with my husband and my dad.  I don't have nearly enough time to devote to my ballroom dancing addiction.  I find myself getting forgetful and misplacing more things than usual, and I'm pretty sure that I can attribute that forgetfulness to the stress of being in this office.  The stress is "good" stress, in that I'm happy to serve as interim dean, but it's stress just the same.

So, although it is an immense honor to be our interim dean ("iDean" to some), and although I am really enjoying my time in this office, I will look forward to helping our next "real" dean through a transition period and then returning to my colleagues on the 4th floor.  In the meantime, though, I'm happy to answer any questions that anyone might have about Boyd Law or about the deanship.

Smart, creative servant-leaders--please apply!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

It's not just anonymity that provides a cover for cowardice.

I thought that yesterday's WSJ piece, Why We Are So Rude Online, was particularly apt.  It's easy to treat online communications as something other than "real" writing, but what we put online (and in texts and emails) is just as real to those reading it as something that's hard-bound and on a shelf.  That's why we--especially those of us who are law-trained--need to be very careful about what we commit to paper, even if the "paper" is just a bunch of pixels.