The other side of the desk

source (my desk has never been this clean)

I’ve been on one side of the desk for a while now. Going from teaching to student and now back to faculty–I switched roles a few times. While in grad school, i was also teaching, making the switch from one side of the desk several times. Even in this position, I’m on one side or the other depending on who it is.

It’s an odd shift though–moving ‘officially’ back to the ‘decision’ side of the desk. It became more apparent the last few weeks of the semester. While guarding my time, I did make a series of decisions that would affect others. Grading, hiring a GRA, submitting grant applications, and negotiating for fall programming were all done at a desk of some sort. Albeit for me to say that there was a formal desk or negotiating table involved, but there was the back and forth banter that needs to exist for effective communication to exist.

I had not been responsible for those kinds of decisions in quite a while. While I was certainly not ‘drunk with power’ it did cause me to reflect about my decisions and how they would affect others. Grades were easy–students earned those, I didn’t give them out. This is not Halloween. The rest of it was a bit trickier. Politics, negotiating, and considering what would go into a GRA and school sites was a bit trickier because I was very aware that my decision would positively or negatively affect someone elses’ life, even if for just a moment.

It’s hard to be diplomatic when politics and other outside forces are involved.  As a new faculty, I’ve leaned heavily on my immediate peers and colleagues to help guide me with these decisions.  How do you handle these things?

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