Friday, April 24, 2015
THE NEW DEAN AT FLORIDA
Sorry but I do not know who the new Dean will be at Florida. All the finalists seemed fine to me except for wanting to be dean. That would not be so bad unless it means a deanship devoted to just continuing to be dean. That is not to say others do not know which leads to time to discuss NEW DEAN RITUALS.
Some of these predate the actual appointment of the Dean.
1. Information is power. Anyone in law teaching knows that people like to seem to be connected, in the know, or whatever. They drop little pieces of information here and there like the bread crumbs in the story of Hansel and Gretel to let you know. In the context of new deans it means knowing who the new dean will be but not saying. It is important to let people know you know but not to say because once word is out your power is gone. After all, knowing makes your important.
2. The stampede. Get to the dean first with your version of things like 1) what the law school should be doing, 2) how important you are. 3) how you have been wronged, 4) why you should be associate dean. 5) why your pet program which the old dean had put on the chopping block should be retained 6) how tight you are with the Central Administration, 7)why you need extra travel money, 8)what foreign program you want to start, and (9) how you like your eggs.
3. Fall out shelter: This is actually a corollary to number 2. Do not have an office between the new Dean's office and other faculty offices unless you like to be caught in the stampede.
4. Understanding. Convince the new Dean that you are a trusted friend she never met. This means not being in the first wave of the stampede but holding back and starting with light chit-chat and later moving into items like those in number 2. This is a form of salesmanship like when you go into a store and the salesperson treats you like his or her new best friend for 5 minutes before making the pitch.
5. Be a good Boy or Girl, Most people are on their very best behavior when the new dean comes on board. Appear to be a loving, mindful, kind, and altruistic person. You just want to "help" the new Dean understand the Law School from the only person who truly understands it -- YOU.
6. Act like you are representative and trusted and, thus, a faculty leader. When talking to the new dean always use terms like "several of us" which actually mean you and maybe one other person you saw at the Greyhound bus station.