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Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Strategic Plan

Over the summer, I sent my dept. chair a link from the CHE about how useless Strategic Plans are. Of course, that makes me the most logical person to head the dept. committee on implementing the university strategic plan on the departmental level.


profacero said...

I used to really dislike these and find them silly and a waste of time but now I like them, at least at the micro level of department.

Why: to help keep eyes on bigger picture. If not, things happen like: a visiting or instructor position is renewed enough times so that that tenure track line gets converted downward, etc. I used to take it as a given that everyone would remember that sort of thing isn't a good idea and keep eyes open to avoid, and to always move on the side of strength and stability, but I've learned that's unrealistic and now I like strategic plans for the same kinds of reasons as I like constitutions ... one can say remember? when we thought about this seriously we came up with these 5 really good reasons why it would be more expensive, not cheaper, to do X? etc.

Spanish prof said...

Every how often do you have to draft strategic plans? Does something get implemented or is it just pure paperwork. And from personal experience as a newbie, put any new faculty up to date, don't assume they know what you are talking about:

Thomas said...

Great eye, Jonathan! It's important to realize that the adminstrators Ginsberg is worried about are playing laregly by the book, as written in by organization theorist. My comments here.

profacero said...

Back when I disliked strategic plans, it was for reasons I still do - those to which Jonathan and especially Thomas allude. They're mindless exercises often done to justify alleging that faculty has a hand in the latest evil the administration has planned, etc., etc.

What I mean re assuming people know things: I assume all faculty including faculty older than me learned what I did as an undergraduate and graduate student, things like:

- fighting so much over a hire that you miss deadlines and lose the line is detrimental to the unit
- actions and policies that turn certain tenure track lines into revolving doors are detrimental to the unit
- adjunctification weakens the unit: resist
- always keep eyes cocked for ways to increas number of tt lines in popular and emerging fields - this strengthens programs
- remember to schedule courses on a cycle which makes it realistic for students to complete degrees within a reasonable amount of time: not to offer required courses, and at the same time not to change requirements, weakens program
- etc.

It turns out that people don't realize that keeping a unit healthy is sort of like keeping your CV healthy -- it takes maintenance and it means choosing some goals and not losing sight of them. Then they are surprised to find they're in disarray.