Thursday, October 07, 2010

Open it up


The conflagration which sprang up a couple of weeks ago between the representatives of ILSOC and the Student Government Association, and which was later checked (see this initial post, and this, more upbeat, one) has found new life, and I hope that calm and diplomacy will prevail.

Let me simply say I hope that all parties involved truly have the best interest of the students (and the campus community as a whole) at heart. I know that I do.

I wish everyone were as open as I am.

I realized this evening as I was wandering the aisles at Ingles, picking up ingredients for risotto and mojitos, that I've never really been afraid of opening myself up, professionally speaking. I've never feared showing my true intentions, I've never feared making my methods known, never feared that people might find fault and call me on it. I've always been up to dealing fairly and openly with others. (This blog, nearly 450 posts strong and personal as hell, is a living testament to that fearless openness. I want every one of my students and colleagues to know what it is I'm thinking as I enter into my dealings with them.) This was true even before I received tenure, and it's certainly true now that tenure has been granted to me.

And it puzzles me, and sometimes perplexes me, when others fail to offer the same openness.

As annoyed as I am with certain members of the SGA right now, in some ways I can understand their annoyance with me as well. I made a promise (of unrestrained openness) to them that I might not be able to keep (because it wasn't really my promise to make in the first place, I'm afraid), and in not keeping that promise I may have fed their perception that the faculty are not ultimately concerned with their well-being.

We do care, though. The current members of ILSOC are workaholics like me, accustomed to 60-plus-hour work weeks, unrewarding and thankless tasks which affect only incremental (and seldom truly meaningful) change, and the slow, slow inexorable grind of institutional change that takes years, if not decades, to accomplish. We do all of this on top of teaching, and I know personally that all of the current members of ILSOC are exemplary teachers who give their students their all, day in and day out. Their efforts are tireless, and their concern is real and unaffected.

We wouldn't do what we do, and for as little extrinsic reward as we do it, if we didn't care. And I hope that the students don't lost sight of that.

Okay, I can't think of anything coherent or meaningful to say to top that, so I'm off to bed. Tomorrow promises to be interesting...

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