Saturday, June 30, 2012


Today I get to celebrate that I'm two years done with my three year stint as "Area Dean for Computer Science" (chair).  Whoever the new person is, they're supposed to start July 1, 2013.  I've already starting encouraging the possible successors to step up.  (Indeed, I've already started to become a bit more ambitious.  I'm hoping to line up the next 3 or 4 people for the position;  no tag backs for a decade...)

It's not that I'm unhappy with the job.  (I realize that statement is a no-op;  I have to say that.  I'm trying to get others to take over.)  I'm pleased with what I've been able to do.  We tenured two faculty last year (Hanspeter Pfister and Radhika Nagpal);  we promoted another (Yiling Chen);  we hired a new faculty member (Yaron Singer);  and we've just had a junior faculty search for next year approved.  We're (still) a relatively small department with a lot of demands on us, and I came in with a clear goal for us for faculty growth.  I feel we've been successful in this regard.  There have been some other nice successes, such as the new SEAS Design Fair I helped manage and organize, which I expect will be an annual event.  And I'm able to act as the faculty interface with the administration in various ways, helping, I hope, keep things running smoothly.

But I'll also be happy to step down.  I'm overdue for a sabbatical already (the price of agreeing to a 3-year job).  I'll enjoy getting the time back for other things.  (Though I expect I'm being unrealistic, and that some other committee or administrative task will try to absorb the time.)  I like the "serve 3 years and out" model (though I see weaknesses in it too, in terms of setting up longer term infrastructures).  I enjoy taking on new experiences and challenges, so trying out "management" (if that's what this job is) has been interesting and educational.  But in one more year, another change will be good.


No comments: