Field of Science

A goodbye to our legume enumerating dean

Administrators come, and administrators go, and academics down in the trenches are left to live with the legacies these administrators have wrought. In his long tenure the Phactor has watched with varying degrees of dread and pleasure as the revolving administrative door has kept turning. A former dean, an over achiever seeking his level of incompetence, left for higher office at another institution and managed to get his new faculty united behind a vote of no confidence within his first year. Who said he had no potential? Of course that means a replacement was needed here, so a department chair (economics) from our college was tapped to be the acting dean. His philosophy is simple: what have you done for me lately? Although wrapped in new gift paper, his approach was that of a classic bean counter, which surely appealed to our provost, and of course, being an economist this approach was dressed in fancy clothing. This is nothing new. However, it was his insistence that one biologist was just like another, the idea that academics within a discipline at the university level are interchangeable pieces, the idea that a particular expertise needed for a program or specialized course is not a good justification for filling an open position, is an attitude born of high schools and junior colleges, or perhaps the field of economics! Hmmm, macro, micro, maybe they’re all the same? Indeed, the Peter Principle seems to have been in full effect these past two years, but even still it is hard to imagine a stupider idea from a dean of arts and sciences. But today dawned with miserable weather and cheering news, a distant institution has been conned into hiring our acting dean. Need help with your bags? No he leaves lots of baggage. So, don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out. Now comes the dread, the morbid worry that the replacement might actually be worse! And that can happen!

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