The Dentist or a Faculty Meeting



Upon coming out of today's faculty meeting, a colleague said in passing that she would rather have been in the dentist's chair than in the meeting.

I was surprised. I do not know what it is like at other schools but at my school we have norms that people observe in order to move business along in a collegial fashion.  What could be better than working with a group of selfless and wonderful bright yet humble people in order to solve problems. When we are go into decision making mode nothing can stop us. For example,

1. There are no hidden motives. People say why they are asking a question and its relevance.
2. Once a faculty vote is taken no one puts his or had up to again voice opposition to the outcomes as in "even though you just voted 50-3 against me, I still think you are wrong." No that does not happen.
3. No one views him or herself as someone around whom the law school rotates. For example, if we are thinking about raising the grading curve no one says, "I oppose this because I need to give low grades." Instead they think of the overall impact on the students.
4. No one says, let's give higher grades whether deserved or not because of the "market."
5. No one raises his or her hand to speak unless he or she is sure she is talking about the issue before the faculty.
6. If the discussion is about a motion to amend no one puts up his or her hand to talk about a unrelated part the proposal.
7. No one asks for more data that are unrelated to the decision.
8. No one ever just raises his or her hand to say things like, "I just don't know what to think."
9. No one thinks that when you are grading on a curve the grades are still based on absolute as opposed to relative performance.
10. When an issue is carried over from one meeting to another, people who were not at the first meeting do not jump in assuming their points have not already been made or that they have something novel to say.

These rules clearly make faculty meetings preferable to the dentist chair. J