Decisions, decisions.

I’ve now been Associate Dean for a while, and am prepared to share what I have learned  about how I make decisions.  There's a special blurb on meetings.

Principles
Here's how I try to make my decisions, listed in approximate order of importance:
  1. Follow relevant policies and procedures from the university and school;
  2. Follow relevant precedent;
  3. Adhere to horizontal equity (treating like people alike);
  4. Adhere to vertical equity (treating different people differently);
  5. Be just.
Here are some things I try not to do:
  1. Reward bad behavior;
  2. Act in a dynamically inconsistent fashion (so that I make different decisions about the same thing at different points in time);
  3. Act in a way that would be embarassing or indefensible to the media or a California taxpayer
  4. Encourage (even implicitly) people to waste the time of others, including my own time.
I try to respond in a timely fashion to all reasonable requests.  However, I am not particularly patient and get annoyed when asked unreasonable questions.  Two examples of the latter: a) short-notice or late requests for things that could reasonably have been foreseen; b) questions which I have answered before (especially recently and/or repeatedly .. and watch out if your question is answered in the email that you're sending) .  I may well ignore your question, if you have previously ignored my answer to the same question.  Also, the internet is a wonderful resource; consider using it before asking me, especially if you have been at Haas for years.  Many Haas administrative details are available on the web; ditto with campus personnel issues.

Questioning a Decision
I realize that some of my decisions may seem questionable.  That said, I ask that you be reasonable in your questioning.  The ADAA position is not a full-time job, and is grossly under-compensated in terms of teaching relief and other benefits.  The university expects me to continue research, and so do I; please do not cut into this time unnecessarily.  I did not choose to become ADAA, and would be happy to be relieved of the job.  I neither enjoy it nor think that I do it particularly well.  Please believe that I try to make decisions efficiently, fairly, and reasonably.  I am also juggling many balls in the air, not all of which can be publicly revealed.  I ask you not to challenge each decision I make, or to ask for an explanation; please act as if I act benignly.  I have other things I'd rather do than defend each decision; I hope you have better things to do than questioning minor decisions.  And be warned: I have a policy of discouraging those who question minor issues of phrasing in my communications.

If you still wish to challenge a particular decision of mine (especially a minor decision, even if you do not perceive it to be minor): read on.  I know that few of my colleagues act out of narrow self-interest, so I will likely interpret this as a sign of  interest in the decision-making process and act accordingly; those interested in such processes are well-suited to administrative roles in the future.  I'll try hard to accommodate your revealed preference and ask you to perform appropriate service soon.

Alternatively, if your question is purely self-interested then simply write out "Beyond Yourself" 50 times by hand, and present this to me when we meet to discuss your gripe.

Why I don't take Most Administrative Meetings
The primary objective of a research university is the production and dissemination of knowledge; that's also my goal.  I try to avoid wasteful meetings because they distract me from doing my job efficiently.

I am prepared to take meetings where confidential or sensitive information is conveyed, or where I should be present for a decision.  I'm always happy to meet and talk with my students.  However, administrative meetings to exchange information tend to be wasteful; I neither convey nor absorb spoken information well "on the fly".  Most academics prefer  to read, digest, and think; me too.  I especially dislike being a piece of room meat; others should feel free to converse without my presence.