“I AM the university”

During time at the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University (1992-1994), completed my doctorate and started to develop the post-doctoral research. Was there on a series of year by year, limited-term engagements. When it came to renewal for the third year, should have better appreciated my position, and that of professors generally.

Many (most?) professors initially feel that they control their own world, and that the university, at its core, is the professoriat. After all, there is a peer-based acceptance process, both in terms of intial enagements and tenure. The principle of “collegiality” is dominant, and most often determinative. If peers don’t want, one’s future is limited.

Had been moved from one office to the other between year one and year two. Got busy and didn’t unpack. Weeks went by, then months. Piles of boxes in my office, with the only ones opened being the only ones immediately needed.

Cleaners couldn’t take it anymore. Said it was a workplace hazard. Who knew when a box and broom might interact. Person from central administration came to see me.

How dare I be bothered by this. After all, I am the one with the doctorate. I am the one who is pivotal to everything at the university. Why so many professors aspired to administrative positions–well, I just don’t know. All I know is that I am the centre of everything.

She talked for awhile, simply doing her job. Either the boxes are unpacked or…well, there is no “or”.

“Who do you work for?” he asked.

“The university,” she replied.

“I AM the university!” he bellowed.

Yes, yes, so very pivotal. And when the contract came up for renewal…

About brucelarochelle

This entry was posted in Academic History, Community of Scholars, Kitchener-Waterloo Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “I AM the university”

  1. On July 23, 2012, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

    I learned this lesson almost immediately upon arrival at SFU, 20 years ago. I had been taught to be a case teacher at Western, and cases were designed to be taught in 1.5 hours, which was class length there. I discovered my classes at SFU were 3 hours. once a week, and immediately applied for two 1.5 classes per week. I was informed that at SFU you could only book by the hour and not half hour so I could have a 2 and a 1 hour class. Scheduling was more important than pedagogy. So I have run 3 hour classes since (3.5 for MBA).

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