Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Goodbye to all that: Rotating out of the Associate Dean job
In a few months, I'll be wrapping up my time (four years) as Associate Dean, and handing things over to a (more capable!) colleague. And -- in part, no doubt, in order to avoid actually completing several Associate-Dean-related projects -- I've been reflecting a lot on how things went, what I learned, what I could or should have done differently, etc. On balance, for sure, I've enjoyed the experience. There are costs -- less writing-time and more meetings-time! -- but there's a non-trivial amount of psychic income that (for me) comes with feeling like one has helped (or even tried to help) an institution that one cares about move in the right direction.
At present, my main "takeaway" is that the associate-deanship has been a humbling (even when not humiliating) experience: I know more about all the impressive things my colleagues are doing; I know a lot better than I did before how much I don't know about legal education, law schools, and law faculties; I know with crystal-clarity how over-confident I was, 5 years ago, that the right steps to take, with respect to all kinds of questions, were clearly see-able and easily do-able. In a way, it's nice -- but in another way, it's a bit immobilizing -- that this new-ish appreciation coincides with all the navel-gazing and hand-wringing inspired by the current "crisis." I think I have some plausible -- even good -- ideas about what nature of the problem, and about some of the steps we might take in response but . . . I have a now-healthier sense of how likely it is that there's more to the problem, and the steps, than I realize.
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