A Day in the Life Of…

During my 10 years with UPI and The Associated Press, people found my occupation fascinating. They wanted to know about my latest interview with then-Governor Bill Clinton. They wanted to know about my all-nighter covering a missile silo explosion that catapulted a nuclear warhead (thankfully undetonated) out of the silo. I could regale party-goers with my bureau’s coverage of the death of Elvis.

Now it is “And what do you do?”

“I’m an academic dean.”

“Well, that’s interesting. Uh, there’s Joe… I better go and say hi. Good talking with you.”

Frankly, most people have no idea what a dean does. So here’s what I did yesterday:

–Started the day with an Academic Affairs Council discussion on crowd control and media coverage at the upcoming Sarah Palin rally on campus.

–Participated in a graduate school task force discussion on admissions and scholarships for our new M.A. in Interactive Media degree.

–Contacted a theologian about speaking at Elon’s first Media & Religion Conference regarding religious imagery in contemporary films.

–Huddled with a student facing financial need, exchanged emails with another planning to study abroad next spring in Singapore, and congratulated a hardworking senior in person for receiving a prestigious broadcast award.

–Evaluated dozens of files, as co-chair of the Provost Search Committee, of those applying to become the university’s new academic leader.

–Consulted with the team that I’ll be leading on an accreditation visit to Wisconsin next month.

–Recommended faculty for an intellectual property (copyright law) task force to draft a policy for the university.

–Dealt with about a dozen budget issues, from computer software purchases to our program that provides students free daily copies of The New York Times, USA Today and two local papers.

–Came back to campus in the evening to hear an Iraqi blogger/journalist talk about life in Baghdad.

Okay, maybe it’s not as exciting as covering Clinton, nuclear warheads and Elvis. But a dean’s job is stimulating in its own way.

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