Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's Time For Dumb Beginning-of-Semester Meetings

Classes don't start for another two weeks. But, my university makes all faculty get together for a two-day series of meetings before each semester (it's today and tomorrow).

What a massive waste of time! It's supposed to be a means of passing on and/or maintaining our school's unique culture. It actually accomplishes this end, since part of our culture seems to involve wasting time in boring, unproductive meetings.

I can see some benefit to getting faculty across the campus together before each semester. In fact, it has a nice community feel to it, and it's a good way to catch up with colleagues in other schools/departments. But I wonder why they don't cut the thing to a single half day event? Doing that would force some discipline on the program, and would actually make them think about whether it was worth spending a scarce resource (time) on a given speaker. Instead, they try to make sure that the have 2 days of material, and there's definitely a decreasing returns to scale effect.

But having shorter meetings would mean "we aren't accomplishing as much", so the chances of it happening are pretty much (as Don King said, "Slim and None -- and Slim left town").

So, blogging might be light for the next two days, unless I decide to just sign in at the beginning and leave at the first break. But that would be wrong. Productive, but wrong.

Update: By 10:00 I couldn't take it anymore. At the first break, I walked to my car and just drove away (hint - always park where they can't see you drive away). I figure my name's on the roster, and I talked to the right people (chair, dean, and assorted senior faculty). So, back to research (with occasional blogging).

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