Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Afternoon with the Community

2:30-3:30 p.m.
I stop by Platner on my way to a tennis match. This isn’t on my schedule, but I am apparently incapable of going all day without going into Platner. The people in Platner are all very excited to see student Sharon, who will be coming to do my workstudy job at 3:00p.m.

On the way up the hill I run into my friend Callan and convince her to come watch the tennis match with me. We watch Freshman Katie Davidson and Sophomore Madison Stern play against Lewis and Clark while chatting with Katie’s parents who have come to watch. They play well, but I have to leave before the conclusion of the match. At 3:20 I rush off to my next meeting.

3:30-4:30 p.m.
I meet Owen Newcomer in my office and we walk over to the Spot. Dr. Newcomer was my professor for American Government my freshman year. We chat about a plan to redevelop the stretch of Philadelphia St. between the College and Greenleaf. Dr. Newcomer is impressed with the use the new student lounge is getting and I tell him about the increase in the community presence on campus since this new campus center was built.

The Part of the Job I Wouldn't Want

1:30-2:30 p.m.
I go meet with Vice President for Enrollment Lisa Meyer and Director of Admission Kieron Miller to make a difficult admissions decision. They present me with two pretend cases of students whose parents have connections to the College, but whose academic records aren’t quite what we would like. One of the students isn’t so bad, his essay is fine and he seems to have potential. I decide to let him in. The other has a low GPA, low SAT scores and a truly horrible essay. I decide that he is not prepared for college level work and it would be unfair to him to admit him. I then have to call someone pretending to be the student’s parent and explain this to them. I would not want to have this conversation for real.

I get back to my office early, so I write a quick note to our newly hired Dean of Faculty, Charlotte Borst. I am sending her a copy of a recent QC, which contained and article about her. When I finish the note I close the note card and realize that I have written the note upside down. I recopy the note, the right way this time.

Time with the Faculty

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
I have lunch with faculty members. Some I know well and others I haven’t met before. I have fun and get an appreciated chance to relax in a busy day.

12:30-1:30 p.m.
I am a little nervous about the faculty meeting because I haven’t had as much time to prepare as I would like. I haven’t even procrastinated to get myself into this situation! I tell the faculty about the two visiting writers who will be spending a week at Whittier next fall, through the Woodrow Wilson Fellows program. Both specialize in East Asia. I am jealous I won’t be here to see them. Dr. Price runs an efficient faculty meeting and we are done in less than an hour. I go back to my office briefly before my next meeting.

Important Meetings

9:15-10:00 a.m.
I go meet with Jeanne Ortiz, the Dean of Students. Jeanne and I are supposed to go look at a dorm, but we get into a discussion about the Student Bill of Rights and then the media shows up. I am then interviewed and photographed a lot.

10:00-10:30 a.m.
We move out to the lower quad to watch student Sharon and my friends paint the rock. Many more pictures are taken. I try to keep my heels from sinking into the grass. I am wearing tennis shoes tomorrow. I then go back to my office and have many more photos taken. I decide I am glad I am not a celebrity. I try to prepare for the faculty meeting this afternoon, but then my next appointment arrives.

10:30-11:45 a.m.
Elizabeth Power Robison arrives and briefs me about an alumnus that we are going to go meet. Vince Daigneault ’85 is a trustee of the College and is the Vice President for Wealth Management and a Financial Advisor at Smith Barney. We are hoping he will use a portion of his annual gift to challenge the senior class with an offer to match their donations to the Whittier Fund. Along with faculty salaries and scholarships, the Whittier Fund pays for things such as HVAC. Elizabeth explains that HVAC is Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. An HVAC issue that they are raising funds to deal with is replacement of the air conditioning system in Hoover. As someone who has sat through freezing classes with a loudly rattling air conditioner making it hard to hear the professor, I am fully supportive of this project, which will apparently cost several million dollars.

Elizabeth and I go to Mr. Daigneault’s office to meet him. While waiting we meet another Whittier alumnus who points out the office of yet another Whittier alumnus. We chat about the amazing, cross-generational connections among Whittier alumni. I had no idea, and am rather impressed. We then meet with Mr. Daigneault, which goes well. We have a nice chat and he likes the matching idea. I don’t horribly embarrass myself or make him loose faith in Whittier students, so I figure that is good.

A Busy Morning Already

6:15 a.m.
I am awake. I am trying to remember when was the last time I was up this early, but I am too tired to remember. Even when I was interning for UNHCR this summer I didn’t have to be up this early.

7:30-8:15 a.m.
I go to the steps of the athletic center to begin the “walk and talk.” No one shows up, but I do see a number of athletes that are up this early. I walk around campus listening to my ipod and picking up trash. I come across a lot of flyers for some club in Uptown. I pick up some, but there are hundreds, so I quickly give up. I contemplate climbing into the bushes after some other trash, but decide I am not that enthusiastic. In 45 minutes, walking at a rather sedate pace, I cover most of the campus. I wonder how many laps Dr. Herzberger does walking quickly.

8:15-8:45 a.m.
I go back to my room to change for my day. My roommate is just waking up. I am only a tiny bit bitter.

8:45-9:15 a.m.
Meet with my assistant, Kristin Wiberg. She shows me my office and I check my e-mail. I think about checking my facebook, but decide that college presidents probably don’t do that. I am surprised that the office is very much a working office with stacks of paper and projects in process. I guess I expected a palatial suit, but this office looks much like many professors’ offices. I even see a plastic cup that looks very much like the ones in the CI!

Kristen shows me several of the fliers I had seen earlier and asks me what to do about them. I suggest that she call the club owner and tell them they are trespassing on private property. She does so, and asks facilities to pick up the fliers. I am a little annoyed that someone has left this trash on campus that facilities now has to pick up when there are way better things they could be doing, like fixing our many leaky faucets.