Friday, June 02, 2006

Acting Deans and New Beginnings

We got the email today that announced that Michael Tymchak would be the Acting Dean of our faculty for the next two years. Michael had been dean immediately before Margaret McKinnon - our departing dean. I think this is a good choice. And although I am sorry we weren't able to attract a new dean I think in the end this was a good thing too.

The failed search seems to have mobilized our faculty. People are talking to each other about the future, about programs and what to do about them, about how to fit research and service into our busy lives. In a few short weeks I can feel the change. It isn't extremely noticeable but I feel that it is happening - Thursday's meeting about finding the 'core' or foundations of our programs was well attended.

I have always held the belief that in our faculty we, the faculty members, could set our own course. Through discussion, tension, disagreement, negotiation, etc. we could find ways that would serve our students well, our profession well, and ourselves well. I think we lost that belief as a group a while ago. But this new need or willingness to talk encourages me in thinking that perhaps we can take the leadership role again. I have no idea where that leadership will take us - and I won't make any guesses. There are so many new people in the faculty who have wonderful ideas - I am excited to listen, learn and then do new and creative things. I have always seen working with teachers and prospective teachers as being very important work and now there is the chance we can create new and different and better ways of doing that.

Having Michael as Acting Dean will allow this to happen. It always seemed to me that Michael always trusted the faculty. I believe that if he sees a movement within the faculty he will encourage and support it.

Fragmentation and isolation of programs and people have hurt this faculty - perhaps now things will be different


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