Academic Administrator Day in the Life

I’ll be honest: I started doing “day in the life” posts because I liked the idea of sharing the experience that is my piece of the puzzle of academic librarianship. But today, I’m writing this one because I need to give myself a pep talk about what I do all day. So here’s my day. I’m hoping I show myself that I am busier, and more productive, than I realize when it’s dinnertime and my to-do list stretches out ahead of me. And while I do that, maybe I’ll shine some light on what administrators do all day, over in our cushy ivory towers. (snerk.)

8:15 — Roll into campus. Buy coffee and a breakfast sandwich then walk across campus with the Provost, a VP, and a colleague from Advancement as we head to the Leadership Forum meeting. Congratulate colleagues on the super-successful Bicentennial party on Friday. Talk with another colleague about endowments and scholarships.

8:30 — Leadership Forum. Discussions of ongoing strategic planning efforts, small group discussions, next steps, information sharing. Some communal venting. Talk with the President about some paperwork issues that her staff and my staff are collaborating on regarding our International Education China visit, and confirm that the MOU on our applied learning grant has been received.

10:15 — Walk to my office. Email. Read 20 new messages, triage/forward/respond as appropriate. Check my calendar, cancel my meeting at 11 because I have nothing new for that librarian and we both have work to do. Email email email — ordering tech for the new Center, approving communications, delegating tasks to secretaries, forwarding messages to librarians, snarking with staff over beer cans found in our library trash overnight, more checkins on the paperwork for the China trip. Email around trying to figure out who has the log in info for IPEDS, as I realized that I was conflating the April 30 deadline for ACRL data with the April 6 deadline for IPEDS data, and April 6 is SOON.

11:00 — Work on an adjusted budget for the Applied Learning grant, considering a 3 year timeframe rather than 5, and a 25% reduction in overall funding. Come up with two workable options in prep for a conference call tomorrow morning.

11:30 — Lunch. Go get a quesadilla, bring it back to my office. Begin prepping for 12:30 Applied Learning Think Tank meeting. Review notes from last meeting, print starting point docs for the group, head over to the Center.

12:30 — Applied Learning Think Tank. Today’s topic was Learning Outcomes. Discuss discuss discuss. Take copious notes. Thank them effusively for engaging so sincerely.

1:30 — Pause before going back to my office to talk to a faculty member about possible internship and service learning synergies and collaborations. Good stuff, and useful. Talk with a Center staff member about an email we need to address jointly.

2:00 — Meet with a faculty member about start-up funding for an applied learning project involving Cuba. Agree to fund the start-up, discuss a bunch of useful and interesting things.

2:30 — Read the reports on the agenda for the SUNY Council of Library Directors conference call. Find the login information for the Zoom meeting. Pull it up, and throw it on the second monitor to wait. With help from Institutional Assessment, I successfully log in to both IPEDS and ACRL stats forms and assess what they want us to assess this year, and write an email to relevant library staff asking for data not in my keeping.

3:00 — Conference call starts. Discussion of strategic reorganization planning process with Ithaka S+R, of delivery options for ILL materials, and then…

3:20 — Log off conference call because my student appointment shows up. Answer a bunch of questions about library services for a sociology student doing a class project. When she leaves she lets me know she’ll be sending her roommate over for a library research consultation because “she’s taking two Art History classes and she’s kind of scared and she needs to know about this”.

3:45 — Spend 15 minutes tweaking and finishing artwork/layout for table banners for the Center for Applied Learning. Nice creative outlet in a short window of time.

4:00 — Walk to the President’s house for a reception thanking and honoring the faculty mentors who support our Presidential Scholars (students doing seriously cool academic and independent research projects). Talk to a whole lot of colleagues about stuff personal and professional. Talk to a few students about the hilarity that is Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Talk to a faculty member about the email problem from the early afternoon. Frustrate her with my response, leave frustrated.

5:20 — Get home, and take possession of my kiddo. Play-doh, make spaghetti and meatballs, and queue up Curious George.

6:30 — While she eats I sit down to work at my laptop and send a few more emails, one about the other email (because email is recursive), decide that I feel like I got nothing done, and decide to write this out while the kiddo covers herself in red sauce, and asks for seconds, and devours all of it.

And now it’s 7:15 and it’s bathtime for tiny humans, and I guess maybe I did get some things done today. I hope you did, too.

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