Friday, January 09, 2004
Someone from a corner of the university you scarcely knew existed arrives armed with overheads, transparencies, and (now) PowerPoints, and proceeds for 30 or more agonizing, slow-motion minutes to explain how the telephone system works (or is supposed to work), or how purchases are to be transacted and reported (this is largely a recitation of innumerable budget codes), or how nonperforming employees can be disciplined (a process so full of obstacles that an Olympic athlete couldn't jump its hurdles or even remember what they are), or how venture-tech partnerships will finance the college, bring glory to the university, and save the world.Fish hits the nail on the head: A real meeting is really hard work, requiring the president, dean or department chair to actually know what outcome is desired and manage discussion (akin to herding cats in my neck of the woods, your mileage may vary). As a result, our department has one per month except for searches, and they seldom last more than 50 minutes. But strategic planning goes on forever.
...With that over there's some time left for fake planning. By "fake planning" I mean planning that refers to outcomes that have already been determined in precincts no department head (or dean) ever enters, or to outcomes projected so far into the future that no one in the room will be alive when they are either realized or derailed by contingencies no one foresaw.