Saturday, April 19, 2008

glums ii, & something much happier!

Much of yesterday was burned up in a university level promotion "workshop." A little background (consult last post if necessary): when one applies for promotion to a higher grade at Our Fair University, one's massive packet of materials ascends thru a number of bolges: a review at the department level; at the college level; at the university level; by the Provost; and then by the President himself. (By the way, just to make things the slightest bit more uneasy, every one of these reviews up to & including that of the Provost is technically merely "advisory": one is promoted, that is, at the will of the President – who of course is more than willing to take the Provost's word for it, happily.)

Anyway, this "workshop" consisted largely of a recap of the procedures that had been far more usefully spelled out at the college-level meeting last week, & an opportunity to get to see & hear from the university Promotion & Tenure committee, which consists of representatives from every college in Our Fair University. And they seem to be mature, level-headed folks, for the most part, all looking to make fair decisions. The one really unsettling moment of the proceedings, however, was when the representative from another college rather grandiloquently announced that he made a habit of never reading the lengthy self-evaluative narratives that candidates are supposed to produce: you know, those walk-thrus of one's work that serve the purpose precisely of explaining the value & relevance of your intellectual labor for members of other colleges who might have no idea of what you're doing. Oh my, I thought; I can't wait until I get on this committee, so I can judge the physicists & biochemical engineers without bothering to listen to their explanations of what they do.
On a far happier note: Michael Dirda reviews The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky in tomorrow's Washington Post Book World. This one's a dandy, paying attention (if perhaps too briefly) to both LZ's career & poetry & to the form & strategy of the biography itself. The money words this time around: "splendid"; "speed, clarity and zest"; "scholarly yet down to earth, full of good sense and useful information." Now who wouldn't want to buy that book?


Bradley said...

Good luck with all the P & T work; if you're on the committee when I come up for tenure, feel free to disregard my self-evaluation; it's probably just going to be more of that self-infatuated navel-gazing that I always indulge in, on the page and at the bar.

Speaking of bars, when you need a break from this whole process, we should all go out for a drink. We missed you the other night; my cell phone rang at one point, and everyone got excited, thinking it was you. But it was just some dumb friend of mine from grad school.

Congrats on another great review, too.

E. M. Selinger said...

Dirda is as good (and as independent-minded) a reader as anyone ever gets, Mark. You deserve to be really, really proud of this one!

I start the promotion process later than you--in the fall, I think. Hmmm... maybe I'd better check on that, come to think of it!

Ed Baker said...

Michael Dirda went to University of Maryland with me..circa 1964-67. He is about as good-as-it-gets like e.m.
says M.D. an "every-word reader" and yet lives down the street or three from me

is he still in that special place last page of the Book World?

will "buzz" online Post and see if Book World is there soon as I post this...kjuuvfkq (opps... wrong place... who ever said poet/artists were smart?)

Ed Baker said...

here is the review

Jolly99 said...

I can't wait until I get on this committee, so I can judge the physicists & biochemical engineers without bothering to listen to their explanations of what they do.

Bombs & bridges, not prose or poems! Serio, are integrals as difficult as mastering irregular verbs in french or even castillan? Hard to say. Have the engineers do some french, and a semester or two of filosophy and history: and have the poets spin some integrals, and econ. Poet I am not, but on occasion find the writing of the sort of Conradian sorts---gents who have worked in the real world---superior to the Woolfe or TS Eliot sorts...........

(have you, btw, witnessed the latest reductionist outrages from Hoblo/Valvettes? He's got his informal logic primer, and rips up some of those PoMos. Confound it, that's not verifiable! Nauseating as usual. Someone who searches for the "argument" of Moby Dick/Ishmael not only misconstrues Lit., he misconstrues argument)