Department Meetings: What’s not to like?

Female Science Professor lists her top five dislikes about meetings here. My own aren’t on the list, and I’ll share one which, given the conservative nature of academia, I assume is hardly uncommon.

Sometimes I feel compelled to count and assemble the variations on the following inference:

This is a new idea.
Therefore, we will not do it.

Variations are usually created by adding a premise; to wit:

  1. Only departments much better than ours could do this.
  2. Only departments much worse than ours would do this.
  3. Research has been done, and it shows we cannot do this.
  4. Only a sell-out in love with the most vile trendiness currently ruining universities would think of doing this.**

How does one survive?  Iphones help.   You can, of course, use it to play solitaire or tetris.  Using the Kindle Reader app you can work through a book while telling yourself your colleagues will think you are just playing solitaire or tetris.  And, very remarkably, you can produce pictures using an app called “Brushes.”  Some examples:







 These are by David Hockney, and you may find you need some practice, still it is great fun.  For more about Hockney on the iphone, go here:  David Hockney’s iPhone Passion – The New York Review of Books (Shared via AddThis)

With either Brushes or  an accompanying app you can get a movie of the process by which you created the painting.  The New Yorker has a series of these; try here for at least one.



**Premise 4 may bring to mind FSP’s fifth reason for disliking dept meetings:

The insanity factor. Some of my colleagues are really strange. I am really strange, too, so it is hypocritical to list this factor, but thus far my strangeness manifests itself rather quietly. For some of my colleagues, their insanity seems to require them to repeat themselves over and over at every faculty meeting for a decade or more. The effort required for me to keep from rolling my eyes at these repeat tirades is painful and may cause me permanent physical and emotional damage.

6 thoughts on “Department Meetings: What’s not to like?

  1. JJ: it’s better to stop yourself from rolling your eyes. Imagine the problems you might have with detached retinae!

    Brushes seems like an awfully good application. At least two New Yorker covers were made with it (I think you link to one of the videos for the creation of one of them). Having seen the cover in print, I was deeply impressed by what it can do.

  2. Mr Jender, if you search the New Yorker for “iphone” you come up with about 8 or ten Brushes pics.

    Hockney says that one should use one’s thumbs, and I’m going to try that to see if it improves my pictures. He also talks about sometimes spending hours before hand just thinking about how to achieve certain effects, something that might also help.

  3. I am a nerd: I have had a palm pda for a decade, I have a foldable keyboard to go with it. I have a phone with gps, I have been doing geocaching for yonks. I have an icq number with 7 digits. I just bought a nifty netbook.
    But I don’t have an iphone.

  4. Oddly, my institutional experience is the reverse of yours. The inference that seems to dominate my life is this:

    1. This is a new idea.
    2. Therefore, we – or more specifically you – must do it.

    Yearly re-writes and much re-inventing the wheel in new colours, textures and orientations follows (currently the orientation is employment and business-facing). Certainly no sense that innovations and improvements are being made by the staff on a gradual basis.

  5. Paul R-B, faculty are doing this? Administrators, of course, are endlessly inventive about how to fill up faculty time.

  6. JJ: you are quite correct, it isn’t faculty (or rather School and Department in my case), but the levels above this that are, as you put it, endlessly inventive with our time.

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