>After the crankiness of the last post, I thought I should write something nice about my colleagues. One of the benefits of being somewhere relatively small in size, at least in faculty terms (smaller than we should be given our 20,000+ students), is that faculty in other departments and colleges notice what you’re up to. And then they send congratulatory notes and little tokens of appreciation. This is totally weird to me, but it’s kind of nice. I feel a bit like Liz Lemon when she visited Cleveland on 30 Rock — people are being nice! Strangers make eye contact! I’m *pretty* in the midwest! Etc.
Anyway, here’s what I mean. As you’ll recall, I won one of the university-wide teaching awards this year. This a big deal at our university; despite our status as a metropolitan research university, the faculty take teaching seriously, and a teaching award is not the kiss of death that it might be at an R1. The whole award series — for teaching, research, advising, and outreach — is taken seriously, and a big spread is done in the news that comes out of the public relations office. And the rest of the faculty read that thing religiously, it seems. I’m still getting congratulatory e-mails and comments and so forth.
But what I want to especially comment upon are two congratulatory notes I got from faculty in other colleges, both professional schools. One of them sent me a hand-written note on his personal stationery. Inside was taped a piece of paper on which was written “Open and see greatness!” Inside that was a print-out of my profile and picture from the spread in the online edition of the above-mentioned spread. Too funny! And then more recently I got another card from the dean of one our science-related professional schools, and inside was a *laminated* version of my picture and profile from the print edition of the news spread, made into a bookmark! This is totally not the kind of thing that would have happened at the big R1s where I went to college and graduate school, so it’s a little bit of a culture schock, but ultimately I find this all kind of charming. And it gives me some hope for the future of this university, that the kind of work that I do matters in some way to my colleagues, and that they see it as valuable and worthwhile.