Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Administrator's Day

After teaching, I went to the department administrator's office to ask for advice about movers, vaguely aware of something big and cellophany in the corner of my eye. I head back a few minutes later to get some coffee. "What are all the flowers for?"

"Today is Administrator Appreciation Day."

Oh. Well. Don't I feel stupid. Not having gotten anything for my department administrators, I'd like to take a moment to thank all the support staff who have supported me through the years.

For instance, thanks to the singing janitor at a university I visit often. His rendition of 1980's pop songs, belted out to the back beat of office trash cans being emptied, has helped me keep my nose down through annoying calculations.

Thanks to the the department administrator who put up my course website for me a few days after I gave birth, so that I didn't have to come into campus to deal.

Thanks to the department administrator who was always available for a quick chat, advice on where to find my advisor, and stories of colleagues who have left the department. When faced with teaching reviews that criticised how I dressed in class, she came down hard on the "it's none of their business" end of things, when I needed someone to talk to.

The difference between a department with an administrative office that is full of welcoming smiles and warmth and one that is staffed with even neutral people is palpable. I think I owe a few administrators from bygone universities a few e-mails.

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