Over the past few years I have slowly come to feel more and more alienated from the actual levers of power on my university campus. In some ways, this is good. It means that I am less distracted by temptations to “change my world” and more inclined to focus on the things that I can control (scholarship, research, teaching, advising). Any romance associated with service work or innovation here on campus gets dashed on the growing mass of administrative procedures and rules.
On the other hand, I am a meddler by nature and despite my promises to myself to remain detached and aloof from my immediate environment, I find that I can’t fight the urge to “do something”. As a result, I have helped create a Working Group in Digital and New Media with a lab (by co-authoring this White Paper). I have served on my share of committees and contributed to the development of our new web presence (in such a way as to remain out of the line of fire and not responsible for any of its shortcomings).
Finally, I find that I can easy burn off any frustrations or surplus ideas and energy by simply proposing things. I have created on this blog an “idea box” where I stuff ideas for programs and projects that I know will never go anywhere (or see here) for so many, complex, administrative and procedural (and practical and ideological reasons) that it would be utterly pointless to push the idea personally beyond the proposal stage. At the same time, writing the proposal and circulating it here gives me a sense of accomplishing something. I’ll send this proposal along through proper channels over the next few weeks (so feel free to provide me with feedback), but the goal is frankly the proposal itself and articulating and circulating ideas that appeals to me.
So, here’s my newest contribution to my idea box: