So I had a meeting with the kind person who handles the budget for the Humanities Division.
Back up: Amanda handles most of the books here, and the last official budgetary responsibilities I’ve had were as Treasurer of the Theta Pi chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in 1992-93. I can and do balance checkbooks, etc., but I was completely unfamiliar with the budgeting and reconciliation process here in Minnesota.
That has changed.
The associate took an hour out of her time to talk me through the process and show me just what all those numbers meant, where they came from, etc. It was eye-opening, and I have decided to pursue some further lines within this overall field (putting in for certain committees, getting more data, etc.).
Next up: How are we using our space?
My first post about being a quasi-administrator in a faculty world consists of this quote from Gerald R. Ford, who was Minority Leader in the US House before being appointed Vice President and later ascending to the Presidency. It seems appropriate.
I was in the House of Representatives for 25 1/2 years, and when I disagreed with the occupant of the White House, whether it was Democrat or Republican, I used to say, “How can he be so autocratic, so dictatorial, why doesn’t he understand that the Congress is doing the right thing?” Well, when I moved from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other end and occupied the Oval Office, my perspective changed significantly. And then I would look down at the Congress and say, “What are those people doing over there? How can they be so irresponsible?”
While it is a bit over-the-top to suggest that taking on some small administrative duties is akin to becoming President of the United States, I think I get what Ford is saying here. What has struck me the most is how much even this very, very minor (yet very important) role has changed my perspective on How Things Work In A University.
I don’t know how regular this series will be, but I’m hoping it turns into something.