Tuesday, April 01, 2014
The Wealth of Visions
Around UF Law there has been quite a bit of talk about a vision for the law school. I thought we should call in Joan Quigley but no one agreed. So what do we have? I think the same thing all law schools have. If you have 50 faculty there are probably 40 visions. Law schools are vision rich which also means they are vision poor.
What to do with a wealth of visions? One idea is to pursue all of them. Each faculty member has his or her vision and proceeds to do what ever is necessary to promote the vision. The outcome is 40 half-assed efforts to go after those visions. It's the jack of all trades problem and the one law schools tend to pursue. Actually, that is an overstatement. For those whose vision is dozing and not being bothered, the outcomes are excellent.
You know this is the case by adding up the number of programs, certificate programs, centers, foreign programs, directors, associate directors, LLM degrees, and whatever a law school has. By my count there are 33 directors or associate directors or associate deans at UF law. There are 27 programs, centers, foreign programs, certificates, etc. We had one center whose director was so aggressive that she made nearly everyone in the law school an associate director so they could put it on their signature lines.
A few years ago, I tried to designate myself "Director of Teaching and Research" because I thought that could be viewed as an important function of a law school. There were no Associate Directors.
So can there be vision when there are 26 different areas into which resources are poured and 26 pieces of turf that are protected by 33 people who are listed as part of one or more programs? Well, how is your vision when you look through a pin hole and everyone you know is looking through a different pin hole?
I am not sure if the opposite of vision is delusion but I do know it is delusional to think a School can have vision and excellence when there are 26 different areas of concentration.
I only know about my law school but I'll bet it is the same everywhere and what it reflects is a lack of leadership in legal education generally in the context of people who feel entitled to pursue personal interests at the expense of all else.