Monday, August 15, 2005

A breath of fresh air

Over the last two weeks I have been enmeshed completing the administrative and bureaucratic requirements necessary to complete a reorganization of the Center for Teaching Excellence. (I am the Center’s Director in addition to be a Professor in the School of International Service).

It is time consuming, painstaking, exacting, important work. Often the success of a middle manager in an institution (that’s where I am situated) depends on his willingness to make such work a priority and carry it through successfully. Whether or not his staff – those to whom he is most responsible – are adequately compensated and given scope to work effectively may depend – indeed does depend – on his skills in this important arena. These skills include those of the anthropologist – understanding institutional cultures, the accountant – meeting requirements with meticulous attention to detail and the temperament of a Buddhist Arahant – accepting what comes with equanimity.

For a few minutes today, however I was reprieved from this task. I got to attend and speak at Resident Assistant orientation, There were old friends to greet and new RAs to meet, some of whom will have become old friends by the end of the year. It was an invigorating reminder of why I do the work I do and for whom I do it.

In other words, it was a breath of fresh area.


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