Day: March 14, 2019

Lying Low

On the one hand, things would likely not be better elsewhere.

On the other hand, things might be better elsewhere.

I like my department. I like my colleagues, I really like most of those with whom I interact frequently, I like department staff, and I like department leadership.

I am, however, not delighted with our college-level leadership. I do not like or trust our dean. Our dean keeps pushing against the established practices of self-government and has made several  decision-making processes much more hierarchical than they used to be. There is more power in his hands than other deans historically had. He has the effect of a wet blanket whenever he delivers a “state of the college” address. In his words, we are never doing enough or doing well; we should always be doing more; we are always failing, always disappointing. I have stopped going to these and I know many other faculty have, too, because it is too disheartening. Our daily reality is good and positive (students, papers, grants, colleagues) while the big picture delivered from higher up is never anything but gloomy. I do not consider this to be effective leadership.

I have butted heads with him somewhat on a couple of occasions in the context of higher-level university service, and I know that he is someone I want to stay away from. But I need to work here for another 20 years.

Husband doesn’t want to move. Kids don’t want to move. There are no guarantees that moving elsewhere would be any better. There is no indication that I am in actual trouble here, at least not right now. But, with my big mouth and my opinions, sometimes I fail to stop myself from giving a piece of my mind, so I might conceivably get in trouble. The thing is, it’s in my nature to speak out against things I find unclear, unfair, illogical, or plain mean, but this is not something that is welcome, so I spend a lot of energy suppressing my natural responses or avoiding meetings altogether.

Blogosphere, save for sewing my mouth shut or giving myself a lobotomy, what strategies do you recommend for lying really, really low locally for the next 20 years, while at the same time not becoming completely disenfranchised?