Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Headless Decision Making

As administration goes, our college is better than most places I have been previously. For the most part, I know who to talk to when I have various issues and they are even decent about getting back to me. There are not too many layers between the faculty and the Dean and the tasks of those in leadership roles are fairly well defined.

For this reason, it has been puzzling why some of the decisions regarding our new building seem to come from thin air and without thought. On my floor, for example, there were three offices open once all of the PIs with labs on the floor claimed one. We all figured it would be good space for post-docs and an office for the two finance people for the department. This was communicated to the higher-ups along with the necessary furniture change we would need to accommodate two or three post-docs per office, rather than a single desk. Without hearing a "no" from the administration postdoc began moving in to the offices with the understanding that they would have to be reconfigured soon (the offices, not the post-docs).

Three weeks later one of the instructors came by to claim "her" office, only to find it was occupied. Without any input from the faculty and without letting anyone know, two instructors were assigned offices on our floor in the research wing of the building. I have no problem with the instructors, but the question is whether the office space on this side of the building is better used by those doing and supporting research or those doing strictly teaching and who won't even be around for the summer? The big question that no one can seem to answer though, is who made this decision? Unfortunately, our chair is in foreign country for another week, so our best conduit to unravel the mystery is not around.

We retained an office for postdocs, but it's not going to fit them all. Also, the finance person who I need to regularly interact with is now across campus. I can either walk the 10 minutes each way to sign the mountain of paperwork I regularly have to deal with, or wait three days (yes, three) for it to get here by campus carrier-pigeon mail. How is this efficient if I want to order a reagent or submit a travel request? But at least I can go next door and ask questions about the first-year lab. Oh wait, the final labs were last week...

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