This past Thursday a group of us from around the state met by conference call at 10 am central, 11 eastern; calling in from our offices and homes as it was convenient to do so; discussing our assignment as members of the Faculty Affairs task force, one of twelve such forces created by the NAPA group consultants and system-wide strategic planners appointed by Dr. DiPietro. Our assignment will be to come up with recommendations to guarantee quality faculty inputs and outcomes across all UT campuses and units, for the foreseeable future. We will focus mainly on three goals: educational excellence, research capacities and our land-grant mission. Of the three, I find the land-grant mission one the most exciting, because it fits nicely with my philosophy of how education should work; namely that it should be active and have immediate and as much as possible local impacts, along with inevitable global impacts, once people start moving about the world after initial local active learning.
There are eleven other task forces at work and along with us, their deadline is Feb 3, 2012. So, that is why I am calling this the Twelve Task Forces of Christmas. A lot of us will be thinking on our assignments over the holidays. Most of us are happy to do it, especially since, as usual, our jobs are flexible enough that we can choose when we think or act on our tasks. It’s not like we are cleaning up an oil spill or fighting a fire, with no choice but to do it now and all together.