What is the Role of an Interim Dean?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Since learning of my appointment, I've thought a lot about the role of an interim dean. Is it simply to tread water until a permanent dean is found? Is it to minimize disruption and stay the course? Are we in, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, "the waiting place?"

I was flipping through Oh the Places You'll Go, recently gifted to me by colleagues here. Dr. Seuss speaks of this "waiting place."

"... for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or th e mail to come, or the rain to go,
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow,
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow."

We could see it as such. Some might argue that there is value to continuity, value to stability, value to waiting... But Dr. Seuss continues: "No! That is not for us! Somehow [we'll] escape all that waiting and staying...[we'll] find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing".

I am entirely with Dr. Seuss. Continuity itself requires movement, action to keep the school on its upward trajectory. We are fortunate to have made significant progress on many dimensions in the past few years, under Dean Alison Davis-Blake's leadership. We cannot drop the ball now. We have a gem of a school and we need to keep focused on making it better.

This period presents us with a unique opportunity - time to reflect on who we are, and what we want to be. What are our strengths? How can we play to them? How can we do better? I invite you to share your thoughts on these questions.

But most importantly, we cannot stop acting to make our community all that it can be. Waiting is not for us. So come along with me as off we go to create the bright places and make the bands play!

Oh the places you'll go