Category Archives: meetings

November 11, 2013, 11:22 am

Planet for a Small Conference

chicago_vacation2Just back from a whirlwind trip to Chicago — well, actually, Evanston — where I attended and presented at Sexual Reputations, a conference hosted and sponsored by Northwestern University’s Department of Sociology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN), and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

I had fun. I had so much fun. Thank you.

I had fun despite the fact there is so much to be said for not traveling halfway across the country for 48 hours: air travel is just. so. bad. I thought the broken down American Airlines seat was going to cripple me halfway through the return trip. For the first time I regretted that my resentment of à la carte air travel is so firm that I had refused (as I always do) the $90 upgrade to first class. Ninety dollars is not so much, I reflected, somewhere…

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October 21, 2011, 11:45 am

What Time Is It? It’s Time For The American Studies Association Meeting!

Cowabunga, Buffalo Bob!

Of course, ASA means something different as you age: it used to mean “Par-tay!!!” Now it mostly means jiggling a lot of appointments around the panel I am on so that I can do everything I need to do for my publishing life in fewer than two days.  The restrictions on partying are fine since I no longer drink much and the closer I get to the Big Sleep, the more I need to practice on a nightly basis.  My current conferencing style also means I am no longer using intellectual work to facilitate conference going, but just the opposite. Shrewder minds than mine understood this back in graduate school and they have the careers to prove it. In any case, there is only so much you can do over the interwebz and by conference call in the academic publishing biz :  some stuff still requires the good old face to face, as Bertie Wooster might have put it. (more…)

September 2, 2010, 1:24 pm

Sharing the Weirdness: Facebook, Meetings and The Beginning of School

Yesterday, as at least some of my Facebook “friends” know, I had to attend a meeting and realized too late that I probably should not have done so. It was a meeting for faculty advisers, one that exists in order to remind us that advising (particularly for first years and transfers) is an important job; to thank us for doing it; to remind us of the resources available to our students; and to instruct us in the ways of the on-line registration system. I tried to remember the last year I had attended this meeting and couldn’t, so I went.

Mistake. There was nothing I didn’t know already or that wasn’t in a handout, even though all kinds of worthy people spoke, spoke well, and spoke rather succinctly. When they weren’t succinct, it wasn’t their fault, as periodically someone in the audience became hopelessly confused. If I can say I learned anything it was that faculty really ought not…

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June 16, 2010, 2:11 pm

Why Can’t We Get Anything Done? How To Run An Effective Meeting

No one likes going to meetings. But admit it: you dread some meetings more than others, don’t you? And if you hate all meetings, academia might not be the career for you. As chair of a major Zenith university committee some years back, one week I was tearing my hair out because I was scheduled up to the eyeballs with meetings. “How the Hades do administrators ever get any work done if they are in fracking meetings all the time?” I railed at my companion, a former dean, as I pulled on a clean black tee shirt to greet that day’s scheduling marathon in high style.
“That’s how administrators do their work,” she replied patiently, reaching for the Arts section of the New York Times. “They are doing their work in meetings.” I was gobsmacked. Of course that was right. So maybe it wasn’t the meetings themselves that were the problem — it was the question of making — and marking — the…

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May 14, 2009, 12:52 pm

If You Try Sometimes, You’ll Get What You Need: How To Think Like An Administrator

Gary Olson’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, hilariously titled “How To Join The Dark Side” (hence my choice for an illustration) is a useful take on how to think about becoming a university administrator. What I like best about it is that it avoids a common stereotype (administrators are failed academics, or worse, not intellectually inclined at all when lacking a Ph.D.) and takes university administration seriously as a career that intelligent people train for and enjoy. Furthermore (and this is the kind of thing no one talks about in academia) it suggests that an academic career might entail several stages, in which one’s life could be plotted as ambitiously as a Jane Austen novel. A career might begin with the majority of one’s efforts devoted to establishing one’s credentials as a scholar and a teacher, really learning those jobs inside and out as well as…

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