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Friday, June 29, 2012

Carrying on

Carry on...
Ah summer. In education, you get to stop and take a breather once a year. This is often a good thing. But we are working. Don't think otherwise. I'll tell you.

Carry on...

Welcome Week takes planning. The first modern era big Welcome Back concert took place about ten years ago. Since then, we have seen the likes of Cory Morrow, Sister Hazel, Sugar Cult, Reel Big Fish, Rooney, Jack Ingram, and others. But the first was the best. I know, because the organizer, alumnus Jake Walker, usually calls me every September to remind me, and see if we topped Pat Green yet. We never have. Anyways. It went something like this.

Carry on...

A few years ago a faculty colleague asked me what I do all summer. Actually, it was over a decade ago. Good question. With students mostly gone, doesn't the work take a break too? To be sure, late-night emergencies, weeknight and weekend programs and events, and unanticipated controversies give way to a more routine work schedule. But it is the fool that doesn't take advantage of the more regular summer schedule - which is also light on meetings. Summer is a time to catch up... and get ahead. I encourage my staff to think of the summer in three distinct periods. These don't have to be linear, but serve as a nice guide:

The first month of the summer allows staff members to put the previous year to bed. That generally means things like closing budgets; wrapping up residence hall damage billing; preparing annual reports; cleansing and updating Web pages; conducting staff evaluations; circling back on e-mails; purging files; preparing assessment reports; and updating strategic planning initiatives. At Trinity we do a mini-conference with the whole staff the Monday after graduation. This is a chance to share successes and challenges, to discuss opportunities, and identify preliminary themes that may be emerging. And to eat donuts.

All of the departments in Student Affairs start to turn their attention to the year ahead very quickly. That usually means one thing: Retreats. These aren't fun retreats on ropes courses and swinging out over the river on tire swings. Just imagine. Usually, these are one-day planning meetings to set goals for the year ahead. The staff can take information from the processing time and start to look to the future.

You think this post is dull? Try cleaning out storage rooms. Thank you Michael Leach.
In addition to goals, there are calendars that need to be set, budgets lined up, new furniture to be installed, newsletter schedules created, and the training and orientation of new staff and interns. This is a time to rebuild programs, create new ones, and improve administrative processes. Stay awake here.

In truth, the preparation for the year ahead starts in the spring: Team Trinity move-in crew; RA/Orientation Team/Conduct Board/Campus Publications training and orientation; items for student rooms; early arrival arrangements; room assignments; Welcome Week and NSO scheduling and preparation; summer parent and student newsletters; and much, much more.

Carry on...
The summer allows us to think about things we don't get to think about during the year. This summer, that included thinking about carrying my stuff. I don't like having a lot of stuff. But nowadays I have to generally have with me the following items: keys, money, business cards, glasses, sunglasses, my lucky anvil, iPhone, iPad, laptop, my Father's day gift, camera, ear buds, shark repellent Bat spray, and an array of medications age-specific to 50-year-old men. My kind staff and colleagues, and family all gave me grief about my very practical and somewhat styling touring bag. I could take it. And I did. To most places. But my new iPad changed all that. I needed an alternative carrying item. So my laptop backpack became my new purse. Er, touring bag.

Carry on...
To blather on and on about nothing. Or... to blog.

Carry on...
So. Back to my stuff. I decided I needed something to carry my things without looking like I was touring Europe. And then it hit me. My old briefcase. I know. Leather. But the statute of limitations on that expired long ago. My wife gave it to me in 1994. The cow would surely be dead now anyway. The only problem is that I can't carry my briefcase on my bike. It shifts my balance and keeps me from braking. I learned the hard way. BUT, I have decided to use it anyways. I am on a one-man mission to make retro briefcases cool again.

So there you have it...
Carry On.

1 comment:

TheStoreyFam said...

I love the inside jokes for the staff hidden in this one. Touring bag :)
-Katie S