We had a staff retreat today. Typically I dread these things, and i was certainly not looking forward to this meeting.

As we got into it though, I didn’t seem to mind it as much as I did past retreats. I think this is because it was the professional staff only.

It will sound elitist I’m sure, but it’s tough to bring the two groups together for one meeting. We have such different jobs that it is very difficult to get things done when the two groups are together.

Today, we had an agenda, stuck to it, and were able to get quite a bit accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. Everyone was involved with the conversation, and there was not a lot of excess opinion blabbering. Everyone was able to stay on task because they had a better understanding of what we were covering.

It was definitely a good meeting. I came out with the feeling that we had accomplished something. A rare feeling in higher education.

It seems to me that if your motto is “We’ll pick you up” then you should do it.

I was recently in Dulles on a business trip. As I waited for the Enterprise shuttle, I watched 4 Budget shuttles, 3 National/Alamo shuttles, and 2 Dollar shuttles pick up passengers. A man and a woman asked me if I had seen the Enterprise shuttle. They were worried that they had missed it. I assured them that they hadn’t, and said that their motto should be, “we’ll pick you up, but grab a seat because it’ll be a while.”

Now playing: Béla Fleck & The Flecktones – Big Country
via FoxyTunes

I’m so fed up with “change: right now. It’s not the idea of change or an actual change that’s bugging me, but it’s the talk of change. It’s talking about change, but not really changing. Here’s an example of what’s driving me batty right now.

We have a very labor intensive application review process. Each reader, when reviewing a file, transposes grades on the transcript onto a separate chart in the file. The reader then reviews the file and adds his or her vote along with comments. the chart is a major time consumer, and essentially is just a duplication of data already present in file. Frankly, most of the decisions are made based on a formula output that we call Predicted GPA which is based on a student’s overall weighted GPA, test scores, and class rank. In my opinion the chart is a total wast of time and consumes over 50% of the application read.

You’ve probably heard me say that we’re going to a paperless system next year where all paper is scanned and applications are stored in a database accessed via a web ap. This should speed up processing time.

The big conversation in my office right now is how we recreate the chart electronically or should we just use a paper chart!

To me, that’s not change. I think of change like a hierarchical organization chart. Real change moves vertically. This, to me, is a horizontal move. It’s making a move into something that is completely new and could have a real positive change in the way we do things, but then snuffing it out by holding onto an old comfortable process.

It makes me want to pull my hair out!!!!

A bad back and Daylight Saving Time have me in a bit of a mood today. Reflection isn’t on the agenda, so I figured I’d share some links with you all:

  • Why again, do we continue to use Daylight Savings Time? It was rather depressing this morning, waking up and not seeing the sun. Proponents will argue that the are concrete energy savings because of the longer day Indiana, the only state to give the one finger salute to DST is a real world laboratory for this experiment. According to this, actual savings may not be as great as once thought. It turns out that while our light bulbs may be off longer, things like A/C run longer. I wonder if that makes a difference to us in the VT where summers are shorter than most.
  • A nice blog on, well, blogging. She writes about a lot of what we’ve been talking about as far as taking the time to be reflective and changing your perspective.
  • Apparently, blogging is good for you social life.
  • http://www.lifehack.org/ part of the 43 Folders, Getting Things Done movement. Speaking of Getting Things Done, I got through four pages this weekend before falling asleep in front of the wood stove. Maybe I’m just not cut out for a world of structure and organization.