external review and site visit
i actually dusted my office this weekend, sprucing up for our department's external review visit. somehow, our graduate school managed to bring a veritable supergroup of sociology luminaries to minnesota to conduct a four-day review of the minnversity's sociology department.
most academic departments periodically engage in some sort of internal and external review process. in some cases, such reviews are precipitated by major crises. thankfully, we seem to be rolling along rather well. our last review occurred in 1995, just before my arrival in the minnversity. we were a fine department then, but by most measures we're even stronger today.
i don't think we have any major skeletons in our (collective) closet, but i'll confess that i've been nervous the past few days. a chair is responsible, directly or indirectly, for everything said by our grad students, our undergrads, our staff, and our junior and senior faculty. not to mention, of course, the dang dust.
still, we were fortunate to obtain a really good external review committee and i'm looking forward to hearing their recommendations tomorrow. here's a li'l reminder from george herbert about the virtues of rigorous self-examination:
Summe up at night what thou hast done by day;
And in the morning what thou hast to do.
Dresse and undresse thy soul; mark the decay
And growth of it; if, with thy watch, that too
Be down then winde up both; since we shall be
Most surely judg'd, make thy accounts agree.
* i view my office as self-dusting, as the rapid paper flow creates powerful cleansing air currents.