Saturday, November 04, 2006

Administrators, Alumni Have Sun Shining

Ten years ago, I never would have believed that the season could play such a role in my life.

Lately, however, the autumnal equinox means difficult days. As the chlorophyll drains from the leaves, my zest for life seems to dull down. And I hate it.

This week started in full autumn swing, but it ended in great fashion. Thank goodness for small miracles, I suppose.

Friday was the "tenure academy" at Texas Tech. Now, I admit that this is not necessarily an exciting event. We spent much of the afternoon learning about the tenure process at Tech and how to complete our dossier (the conglomeration of documents that others use to judge whether a faculty member deserves tenure).

The good part of the event was a part of Tech culture. President Jon Whitmore spoke to the crowd. It's the second time I have seen Whitmore. Then, the opening session was led by provost William Marcy and vice provost Elizabeth Hall. Friday marked the fifth or sixth time I have seen them both.

Although I doubt that either could free recall my name, I am pretty sure they know who I am. I've been here only three months. It's a good culture that makes administrators accessible to faculty. And it is one of the reasons that I am glad that I am here.

Immediately after the tenure academy was a reception for our national advisory board and alumni. This was a great chance to talk with communications professionals.

In keeping with Tech culture, soon-to-be chancellor Kent Hance showed up at our reception. Hance spoke to the crowd, and his personality was immediately obvious. He should be a strong addition to the university.

Hance -- who is leaving a better paying job with fewer hours for Tech -- told a story that I had not heard.

Bear Bryant was the head football coach at Texas A&M in 1957. A&M was one game from the national championship. Most of his key players were returning. The future was bright.

Meanwhile, times were thought at the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide were coming off of several losing seasons (4 wins and 24 losses from 1955 to 1957). But Bryant took the job at Alabama -- for less money.

When asked why he would make such a move, Bryant replied, "Mama called, and when Mama calls, you just have to come running."

I love that story.

The weekend continued with an early breakfast where the College of Mass Communications honored six former students with "outstanding alumni" awards. It was inspiring to hear each of their stories, and it was just the breath of fresh air I needed.

Following the breakfast, Tech beat Baylor 55-21.

Maybe autumn is not so bad after all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean you are going up for tenure this year?

8:55 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

You flatter me.

Hardly this year! I have a full six years at Tech, and I very well may use them.

The tenure academy is to help you prepare now for what will happen in the future.

I learned some good strategies for preparing the dossier in advance that will make my life easier in the future, however.

10:27 AM  

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