Saturday Afternoon Potpourri: In Which the Prof May Get the Chair

I’m in the office, reading a bit on a warm afternoon — warm enough that I treated myself to a Snowball (the fluffier, finer version of a sno-cone) at the local stand on my way over here. Meanwhile…


My colleague David Rachels is wrapping up a ten-year term as chair of the Mondoville Humanities Department (itself composed of the English, History, Religion/Philosophy, and Foreign Language programs,) No complaints on that score — he’s done his time and done a fine job. There have also been structural/chain-of-command changes over the past year, with a new layer of subdeans between the chairs and the Dean of the College. Humanities, for example, is now part of a division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences — other divisions include Science and Math, Health Professions, and such — and we currently have an interim divisional Dean, with a search in progress to fill the position permanently. I apologize for the inside baseball here, but I want you to see how the pieces fit together.

The Dean of the College (Chief Academic Officer) and Interim Dean asked me to call a meeting to sound out the department’s members about what we’d like from David’s successor. At the meeting this past Wednesday, folks declared that the new chair should be a ferocious advocate for the traditional liberal arts in general, and out programs in particular. It was also determined that the person should be tenured, and ideally of full rank, in order . Because there is no permanent occupant of the Divisional Dean’s position at this moment, there was a sense that whoever gets the chair’s gig should have it for a one-year trial period, with the possibility of renewal depending on how s/he and the permanent Divisional Dean mesh.

Perhaps as punishment for my having called the meeting, it turned into something of a draft, and I wound up feeling the breeze. This is not a result I’ve ever wanted, nor is it one to which I believe myself well suited, but with the um, encouragement and support of my peers, I’ve decided I’m willing to give it a shot.

This does not mean it’s a done deal — the Dean of the College will ultimately make the call, and he may think someone is better for the gig. But in a message to the department, I signed off as “Schrodinger’s Chair.” I guess we’ll see.

As I mentioned above, I’m reluctant to take the position, preferring my role as court jester to any position with actual power. But here in my office, I have a placard of my dad, created by the City Commission of Union, KY when they named the City Building after him. It mentions his roles as Commissioner, Mayor (for nearly 20 years), and City Administrator (the post he held when he and Mom were murdered). Here’s the thing — he didn’t particularly want any of those positions, but when his community called on him, he did what was needed. And he did it well enough that the city chose to memorialize him.

Sometimes having a good role model is a drag. I guess we’ll see if I have to live up to him in my own small community.


On cheerier notes, I’m happy to report that the new issue of Dark Yonder magazine is now available in both electronic and dead-tree form, and it contains my story “Bear Hunt.” You can find a copy here. Also, in about two weeks, my latest story, “In A Bavarian Forest,” will appear in issue 87 of Black Cat Weekly. Check out individual issues and consider subscribing at their website. Thanks for supporting my work, and that of the other writers featured in these and my other venues.


Speaking of publication, the recent controversy over sensitivity-driven edits of folks like Roald Dahl, Agatha Christie, and Ian Fleming has put me in mind of today’s closing track, itself a remnant of earlier days. From 1958, here are Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, with “Old Elderly Man River.” Enjoy it while you can.

Beware of the Tweedleys, and see you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Literature, Music, Politics, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

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