Saturday, February 10, 2007

Collateral Duties

Each January, faculty members at American University (probably most universities) are required to write an Annual Report. The report asks for a description of activities – and how faculty members have contributed value-added, both to the institution and external reference groups, in three categories: “teaching,,” “research” and “service.”

While my major university responsibilities are as a manager, the requirement to submit this report emphasizes that I am supposed to balance the responsibilities of teacher-scholar and center director appropriately.

Committees and task forces play an important role in a university’s functioning. Professors often complain about the amount of ‘committee work’ they must do. The obligations can be time consuming. But different committees provide windows on the institutions’ distinctive cultures, which can differ from one another almost as much as the cultures of Brazil, Iceland and Sri Lanka.

Because I play multiple roles at AU: faculty member, faculty mentor, faculty member in residence, IT and multimedia manager, technical services provider, the list of my “service responsibilities” as a member of various groups may be somewhat different than the norm. Since I had not compiled the list recently, the number of these ‘collateral duty’ obligations – fourteen − surprised even me. The list follows:

Co-Convener, Faculty Resident Advisory Group, Office of Campus Life.
Convener, Advanced Technology Coordinating Group, Office of the Provost.
Member, Provost’s Council.
Member, Ph.D. Committee, School of International Service.
Member, University Senate (reelected to a second term in April 2006).
Member, Search Committee, University Librarian.
Member, Ad Hoc Search Committee, Chief Information Officer.
Member, Search Committee, Executive Director, Housing and Dining Services
Resource person, Senate Committee on Information Resources and Technology.
Ex Officio Member, All Staff Group, Housing and Dining Services, Office of Campus Life.
Ex Officio Member, Resident Assistant Staff, Anderson Hall.
Ex Officio Member, Directors’ Group, Office of Information Technology
Member, AU Task Force on IT Security.
Member, AU Task Force on Classroom Facilities Planning.

And of course as Director, CTE I chair groups within my own unit
CTE Directors’ Group
CTE Management Group

And serve as ex officio member of various working and planning groups that help manage the CTE programs and activities;

Then of course there are roles with groups outside the university, both in the US and Sri Lanka, including memberships on two Boards of Directors.

The tasks associated with each of these groups seem important, but viewing the list as a whole leads me to wonder if I am contributing enough to each to justify my participation. I need to keep this in mind when additional ‘opportunities to participate’ appear on the horizon.


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