by AndrewMc | 8/21/2009 12:00:00 PM

Each morning at 9:15am sharp, some of the faculty in my department and a couple of others get together to have coffee and talk about stuff. There are some conservatives, and some liberals, and the conversation can be quite lively. I don't go, largely because I'm not a coffee drinker, and largely because I tend to teach at that time of day. The crowd trends a bit older, as well, and I'm not up on my 1950s football players. Still, it's a cool gathering that people have been doing for as long as anyone can remember (which means, before 1966 when one of the faculty arrived and "coffee" was going on).

Similarly, each Friday afternoon, some of the faculty in my department get together to have beer and talk about stuff. There are no conservatives--they don't drink because they're religious conservatives as well as political and social conservatives. Too bad for them. I do attend Beer Friday, and I make sure that my teaching and meeting schedules don't conflict with this event. We're usually joined by some folks from the Anthro, English, Soc., Art, and Philosophy/Religion departments. It's lively, and very informal. I understand that many other departments on my campus have their version of this tradition (Math does "AfterMath" each Friday, Biology does their thing, etc). It's a nice tradition (ours began in the early 1970s) and helps socialize the faculty.

Drinking liberally. Now there's an organization I can get behind.

What's on your mind this fine Friday afternoon?



Blogger Ahistoricality on 8/21/2009 2:30 PM:

My first teaching position was at a college where the President actually sponsored the Friday afternoon drinks -- with a little portable wet bar in the alumni house -- but my problem with Friday afternoon stuff is that I've often got Shabbat services to go to later in the evening, so my window for chillin' is short, even if I don't have any family obligations.

Then there's the tenured-untenured thing: I'm sorry, but university politics trumps domestic politics. I talk too freely as it is: alcohol would put me in a position where my collegiality could be in jeopardy..... My first posting also had a social/professional group made up entirely of untenured faculty, which was fantasticly freeing.

Anyway, it's our anniversary. And classes start Monday. That's really all I'm thinking about.


Blogger AndrewMc on 8/22/2009 6:55 AM:

Re: politics

Actually, at beer most of it consists of bashing university policies. There's little fear of retaliation. I chair the faculty senate as an untenured faculty, and spent the year trying to kill one of the president's pet reform projects as well as several of the Provosts initiatives. I also served on the faculty senate where I was quite open about my opposition to many university practices. I gave regular interviews to the local paper.

I also chair the faculty curriculum committee before I had tenure--a tough committee where you are guaranteed to piss people off.

I never had any fear of retaliation. In fact I went up for tenure a year early.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 8/22/2009 12:36 PM:

Curriculum committee: every untenured faculty member who served on it at my last posting had to file an appeal of their tenure/contract renewal denials, some of which were successful. I'm not saying it's the committee service that did it, but yikes.

Institutional cultures vary, though: the pathologies on display back there would make David Lodge or Jane Smiley throw away their satires and start making documentaries.


Blogger idiosynchronic on 8/24/2009 4:08 PM:

. . Jane Smiley throw away their satires and start making documentaries.

I thought that's what Moo U was. I can name the faculty person(s) with the persona characters in the novel.

FTR -- Jane's life within itself is a satire novel on two legs. I nice fun one, but she's not a dispassionate and fair observer of others either.