Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Good Defense May Win Championships - Getting Defensive, Not So Much

It's that time of the semester. Everybody's overworked, overwhelmed, and exhausted. People have short fuses, and people are feeling totally stressed out. I get it. I'm right there in the trenches as well.

But, as we all have learned from our work in the classroom, the quickest to ensure that a section goes to hell in a handbasket is for the instructor to stop playing his/her game. As soon as students realize that the instructor has thrown out his/her playbook, that's when things get messy.*

This is not a post about teaching, though. This is a post (as you might imagine) about MUWCI, which had been progressing slowly but surely, until people lost their damned minds at the start of this week.

Now, lots of people are losing their minds. Some of these people are those with Deep Fears about what MUWCI will mean going forward. But that's no big deal, right? The collegial governance process is in place precisely to manage those Deep Fears and to address those Serious Concerns. I believe in collegial governance (call me crazy), and I don't see a reason to freak the hell out just because people are using that process as it is supposed to be used and for that which it was designed. In contrast to my views on this issue, however, a good number of people would like to throw out the playbook and instead to start playing the other team's game. This is driven by their Deep Fears that the whole thing will implode as a result of the offense of others with the Deep Fears and Serious Concerns.

Frankly, I think this is exactly the wrong way to play it. I think that getting defensive (as opposed to playing strong defense) is not playing to win.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to just keep playing by the original (carefully designed, thoughtfully constructed) playbook. If the coaches (i.e., administrators) lose their shit and start micromanaging the game, inventing new plays as they go along without listening to their players (faculty who have been deeply involved in the process, who have deep familiarity with the current playbook and with the playbook of the other team), that does not equal getting out in front of the other team's offense. All it equals is handing the game over to the other side. And that's just not good football. Er, policy-making.

*This is not to say that I don't think that one can/should adapt as a semester moves forward. But I do think that the instructor needs to demonstrate that he/she has authority over the field.


PhysioProf said...

Sports analogies kick fucking ass!

Dr. Crazy said...

PhysioProf, I sort of can't believe I did a post built around one, but this is what my life has become. 'Tis tragic.

PhysioProf said...

'Tis tragic.

NO! 'Tis fucking awesome!! w00t!