30
Apr

Life of a Dean

A new dean had just arrived at Modern University and thought she might well profit from a discussion with her predecessor who had recently resigned. During a lunncheon meeting she asked the former dean how he had managed crises. His response was to give her three envelopes with the instruction to open #1 with the first crisis, #2 with the second crisis, and #3 with the third crisis. She accepted the envelopes and the rest of the luncheon was spent on pleasantries.

Things went extremely well for her during the first six months. However, she then discovered a major problem in the budget: the year was only half over and it was clear that she was going to overspend her budget by 10%. The ruckus she caused by pulling funds back from departments, failing to keep commitments, etc., was such that she was facing her first major crisis. She opened envelope #1 to find that it stated Blame the prior dean for poor planning. This she did, and the crisis was muted.

The next year her curriculum committee recommended, and she implemented, a reduction in course requirements for graduation. Faculty from the affected departments were enraged, as they felt that they had not been appropriately consulted. The new dean, sensing her second crisis, opened envelope #2 which said: blame a faculty committee. To her amazement, this worked and the committee had to shoulder the blame for poor consultation.

Later that year she was preparing budgets for the following year and realized that she would not have enough funds to provide raises for faculty and staff because of some unanticipated captial costs. This caused a real uproar across the college. Confronting her third crisis, she opened envelope #3.

It said: Prepare three envelopes.

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