League for Innovations 2015, Day 4

Some Closing Thoughts

As I begin thinking about shuttles and flights home and reconciling charges, I notice small things out of the corner of my eye–things that should appeal to The Suburban Professor and his sociological leanings

The social stratification is clear.  The presidents and vps in their well tailored suits are easy to spot, as they adopt various strategies to maintain buffers–mobile phone calls, eyes fixed to the distance, quick glances at name tags.

Of course there are the exceptions, which make the pattern all the more clear.  The president from one of our campuses stopped a small group of faculty to chat and laugh outside of the gift shop.  Even her dress reflects her approach: a down vest and slacks instead of the ubiquitous severe navy, black, grey business suit adopted by women in admin.

The faculty are easy to spot–whether they are wearing a pair of heavy informal khakis or dressed in a neat tweed or rocking a pair of Crocs over colorful wool socks, they are a group.  Something about the persona they adopt reflects their independence, an independence that offers as many pitfalls as it does pay outs.

The silos, though, that I have heard discussed are not limited to disciplines, departments, or divisions.  The silos include our academics, admin, faculty, and staff.

I remember how hard Dr. Totten, my old old old Thomist prof battled the notion of compartmentalizing.  Perhaps I am homesick and snarky.  Tired of weighing whether I can sneak that donut charge past my wife’s eagle eye.  But the compartments, the silos, stand out.   And they trouble me.

One thought on “League for Innovations 2015, Day 4”

  1. Good points, Dr. Z.

    Your updates have helped those of us unable to attend the League for Innovation conference gain some insights.

    I am also troubled by the silos. As a social scientist, organizational culture, norms, and mores are to be expected. So are the hidden, unwritten rules included in an organization’s culture. These are normal and par for the course. Every organization from Disney to Ford Motor Company to United Airlines has their own unique culture. What is most troubling to me is how the silos are made. Not “kissing the ring” is a common way of finding yourself in a silo.

    More on that another time. Thanks, Z!

    The Suburban Professor


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