I have tried to stay calm, admittedly with marginal success, since the School of Oceanography was siphoned away from a clear role in what was the UW College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences to its new home in the College of the Environment. It has not been an easy transition for our School or for me. Was pretty easy to understand how we fit into the old college: Oceanography mapped to Ocean and Fishery Sciences. Has been much harder to see the mapping of Ocean to Environment, for we now are a basic science department in a college too strongly mapped to environmental sustainability and problem solving. With most of our funding coming from the National Science Foundation, whose mission is transformational basic science, this is a strong disconnect. Yet I try to be a good citizen.
The past week has put me over the edge. We have had a high-end set of portrait photographers (and Benj and Sara, you are top notch!) taking portraits of our faculty for our new “edgy” college web site. I was cooperative, on-time, wearing my Infectious Awareables E. coli tie. Benj was impressed that I had cleaned my glasses just before coming. And what seems like a couple hundred shots later, there were some I liked.
To me the meaning of the word faculty is a member of the faculty. Certainly those that vote. These include many exceptional young talents and older even more stellar talents all of whom do a significant share of teaching, full-time with a title in the Lecturer series. I learned from the young talent in our school that she knew nothing about this photo happening. I sent an e-mail to the assistant in the college office coordinating, and heard back within a hour or so from our Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Diversity explaining that 1) this was an expensive process and so 2) the project is “limited to those faculty who have grad faculty status with endorsement to chair “, so that 3) “there are a range of faces not represented in this group who are strong forces in the college”.
Yet the very reason given to me by her is that the project is “an attempt to sum up the scholarly diversity of the college with an eye towards prospective students, secondarily…” So exactly how is it that the full-time, voting faculty members who actually teach a critical portion of our curriculum are ignored? What should I think about my role if I am one of these faculty members? What should I think if I am a student taking one of those courses? What should I think if I am a parent of this student? What should I think or my parents think as I consider our college as a prospective student?
Google thinks my word is new…we are the College of Hypenvironment.