So it Goes
Thomas C. Galligan, Jr.
"Do you still miss us?" Tony asked as he began to take the peel off
the orange he held in his hand.
"Of course I miss all of you," Amanda answered.
"All of us?" Tony flicked a piece of the peel into a nearby garbage
"That may be a slight overstatement," Amanda smiled.
"Iíd say. And I wonít ruin our time together by naming names."
"I appreciate that," said Amanda.
"But you deans are always overstating. Puffing, we Torts teachers call
"I know what puffing is. I prefer to call it enthusiastic
Tony waived to a passerby; then, he returned his attention to Amanda.
"That guy just presented a paper on the effect of mass tort litigation on
the litigation model we traditionally rely upon to teach. Pretty good. In a
minute heíll be surrounded by disciples in some coffee shop. Sorry."
"You sure you donít want some of this orange?" Tony asked.
"I bought it at that little coffee stand. Does the AALS give away fruit?
I havenít seen it. I was at a law library meeting last summer and that was an
event. We could learn a little bit from those publishers about how to throw a
party." Tony stuffed a wedge of orange into his mouth and wiped some juice
away from the corner of his lip. "I donít mind you deans being upbeat and
enthusiastic," Tony continued. "Itís just that Iím not sure I
always believe you."
"Iím offended," Amanda folded her arms across her chest, feigning
"Hi Amanda," a passerby interrupted. "Thanks for that advice
on Alumni Councils; it really helped. Letís get together later." Then,
the passerby was gone.
"What a club. And there you go with your alumni councils and what not.
Do you tell those councils the same stuff you tell your students? And do you
tell the alumni and students all the same stuff you tell your faculty? And then
what about the Provost or Chancellor or President or whoever it is to whom you
report; what do you tell him?"
"Her," Amanda gently corrected Tony. She had grown accustomed, if
not adjusted, to Tonyís constant habit of referring to anyone in a position of
authority whom he did not know as "he" or "him."
"Okay, sorry, her," Tony said, mouth full of orange.
Progress, Amanda thought to herself. When she had first gone into teaching
and corrected Tony, he would never have said he was sorry; he simply would have
shrugged his shoulders or said "whatever." Now, at least he
acknowledged the correction, if nothing more.
"But what do you tell her?" Tony asked back.
"Hopefully, I tell them all the truth."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I donít think you would ever lie Amanda; I trained
you too well for that. But to whom do you really tell the truth? The real truth?
Maybe what Iím most interested in is where your loyalties really lie."
"Where my loyalties lie? You mean who do I work for?" Amanda asked,
focusing hard on Tony and trying to ignore the passers by, traveling between
"I know who you work for; you work for the university. We all do. But,
where do you really count yourself; where do you put yourself? Are you an
administrator? A fund raiser? A faculty member? Do you care what your students
think, besides as possible donors? Are you a representative of the bar?"
"Iím all those things, Tony. And, of course I care what students
think. You know me better than that."
"I do. And I recall our conversation at the Recruitment Conference about
how you thought teaching was the best thing youíd done as a dean." Tony
paused and wiped the remaining bits of orange juice off his hands. "But
which is it? As George Thoroughgood said, ĎWho Do You Love?í"
"All of the above."
"Amanda," Tony put his arms out at his sides, palms up, saying her
name very slowly.
"Tony," said Amanda, mimicking his gestures and drawn out tone.
"You know what Iím talking about: alums say the school has to be more
"Iíve heard that," Amanda said nodding.
"The faculty says that the University doesnít understand what law
professors do, that all the central administration really seems to care about is
big buck grants for researchĖusually scientific research." Tony raised
his eyebrows with a flare of the inquisitor about him.
"I think law faculty feel that way now at every large research
university," said Amanda.
"So, you have heard it?"
"I have." Amanda nodded again.
"The University is interested in national rankings and making the place
supposedly better and they expect you to be the one to get faculty to write more
than they have ever written before and to hold everyone accountable. And to
recruit better students while they raise tuition without asking you and without
providing increased scholarships?"
"More or less," said Amanda, ambivalently.
"My experience is more more than less. Students, God knows, I think
itís the deanís responsibility to know about the students. So where do you
stand?" Tony leaned forward as his voice rose at the end of the question.
"You mean, if push comes to shove, where do I stand? If I have some
conflict between constituencies______"
"Now, that is a dean word if I ever heard one!" Tonyís
interruption was inspired by glee. "Constituencies," he enunciated
"Sorry," Amanda almost stammered.
"Donít apologize, I just always thought of myself as a colleague
rather than a constituent but so it goes. But if you think of it in the
political context, constituent is an appropriate word. Because, after all, like
any good political constituency, we faculty members vote for our leader. At
least at most places, we have some meaningful say-so in who will be an
acceptable dean. So we do get to vote for deanĖwho else gets to vote for their
"I agree with you."
"What do you mean you agree?" Tony said in mock amazement.
"I agree that the faculty decision on the dean is critical. When you are
an outside candidate for dean, like I was, the faculty vote of acceptability
means that the faculty is willing to have you join them as a colleague."
"Your constituents will have you as a colleague, you mean."
"Very funny. I wish Iíd never used that wordĖconstituent."
Amanda smiled. "But, the vote on acceptability as a colleague is pretty
important, donít you think?"
"I do. But Iím a constituent!"
"To get back to the basic question," Amanda gesticulated with her
hand, making a circle, "I view myself first as a faculty member with the
responsibilities of a faculty member."
"So, your ultimate loyalty is with the faculty?"
"I think it is, yes. But, now that means my ultimate loyalty is to and
as a faculty member. There are certainly times when my obligation to my students
or my university may force me to take a position contrary to the views or ideas
of one or more of my colleagues."
"Sure," I can understand that. "But the way you describe it,
it doesnít sound like you lead much. It sounds more like you just shepherd the
flock. First among equals kind of thing."
"Iím not sure, how much, first it is, Tony. And, maybe the way I view
the world means I Ďleadí less than someone with a different style but
thatís me. I think itís my job to try and make other peoplesí jobs
easierĖso they can teach, write, do administration, whatever."
"Amanda, you have gotten philosophical in the last year." Tony,
leaned forward and rested his chin on his curled up right hand. "A real
"Very funny. Iím not sure I feel more philosophical. Sometimes I feel,
like Tennessee Ernie Ford sang, Ďanother day older and deeper in
debt.í" Amanda sang the last little bit.
Tony winced. "I know, Ďyou owe your soul to the company store,í but
you said something about the decanal hiring process. What about situations where
the university asks for three names unranked or four or five?"
"That would be the universityís prerogative," said Amanda.
"I know they could do it. But should they? Doesnít the facultyís
vote of approval mean less in that context?"
"Of course it means less. And, I think it adds to the uncertainty for
"You mean it makes it all more stressful?"
"Thatís exactly what I mean," said Amanda.
"Tony," a man in blue jeans interrupted them. "I loved your
article on proximate cause in misrepresentation cases. Really well done."
"Thanks Barney letís get a drink later."
"Great." Barney smiled as he walked away.
"It was a good article," said Amanda.
"You had time to read it."
"Well, I looked at it. It looked good." Amanda smiled at her
"Thanks but back to you. Iím just a lowly professor. Suppose some
great law school called you and the President offered you the deanship because
"Or she," Amanda interrupted.
"Give me a chanceĖor she--wanted you to come in and help the President
shake things up with what the President thought was a staid, under productive
faculty. And, suppose the President offered you $50,000 more than youíre
making now? Loyalties change?"
"Iíd turn down the job." Amanda barely let Tony finish his
"$50,000, Amanda. And free tuition and assured admission for your kids
in the relevant College."
"All four of my kids?"
"All four! And agreements with other great schools which your kids can
also attend at no or reduced tuition." He orally dotted the "i"s
and crossed the "t"s, reminding even himself a little of the mythic
"Youíre tempting me Tony," said Amanda. "Just donít tell
"I wonít. But, do you take it?"
"Hypothetically, you make it easier to be noble and say no. I think
itís a prescription for disaster."
"Because, Socrates, how can I owe my loyalty to a faculty that the
President expects me to treat like an efficiency expert treats a business she
comes in to pare down and reshape?"
"So you donít think thereís any place for an efficiency expert law
dean?" Tony asked.
"I didnít say that. Iím sure there is but "it ainít me
youíre lookiní for!" And I think that dean should plan on a short
tenure. The honeymoon will be short and the pressure will be intenseĖfrom both
sides. Efficiency experts donít stay around too long do they?"
"Well, what about national rankings and all that stuff? Can your faculty
loyalty help you improve those?"
"I donít know. I donít want to compromise what I believe in to
improve some uncertain and certainly unreliable national ranking. Walter Gelhorn
never became a dean but I bet he had many opportunities. When I asked him once
why he had not taken one of those opportunities, he said, ĎI decided to stay
on my own street corner and try to make that place a little brighter part of the
"Pretty nice philosophy."
"It is," said Amanda. "And even though Iíve changed street
corners to become a dean, I think itís still a pretty good motto. I want to
make my street corner better and being supportive of my faculty and their
endeavors is how Iíll try to do that. Not by worrying about national
"But, what about unproductive faculty? How can you deal with those as a
first, or so, among equals? Donít you have to be the boss?"
"I suppose so. But in my career, I donít think Iíve run across many
truly unproductive faculty members. Most are incredibly productive and hard
workers. Some produce in some ways and not others. Others produce in all ways a
little. And there are a few amazing people who seem to do it all at onceĖbut
only a fewĖlike you. Some faculty came along when expectations were slightly
different and that change in expectations requires an understanding by all
involved that everyone is never always on the same page. I think itís our
joint responsibility as colleagues to deal with people who are having problems
performing in one way or another."
"Youíre being idealistic." Tony accused.
"Iíd rather be idealistic on this subject than not. Itís not my
style to go in shooting and screaming. It just doesnít work well for me."
Amanda furrowed her brow. A part of her had always wished she was better at
shooting and screaming but she wasnít.
"Thatís why I always thought youíd be a good dean." Tony pushed
an orange wedge into his mouth.
"Thanks, Tony, you can be sweet. But Iím not sure how good I am."
"Of course I can be sweet and I bet youíre great. Would you take that
job if you didnít have to be an efficiency expert and the faculty had ranked
"Iím happy where I am but youíre tempting me Tony," Amanda
smiled. "But, in the end, Iím a faculty member first and glad I have
"Arenít we all?" Tony smiled. "You remember what I told you
when you got it?"
"Tenure means never having to say you are sorry."
"Exactly right." Tony said, giving Amanda a thumbs-up. "You
know who the symbol of tenure is for me?"
"Indiana Jones," Tony nodded emphatically.
"No, not Harrison Ford, the character: Indiana Jones."
"Indiana Jones was a professor, remember? An archaeology professor I
think. Do you think he would have been able to run off all over the world and
chase down those neat artifacts and have all those adventures if he didnít
have tenure?" Tony asked.
"I never thought of it," said Amanda.
"The hat and the whip are a huge distraction, I agree. But the guy had
to have had tenure. Otherwise, he would have been stuck in some library or lab
someplace doing what some department head thought was appropriate. Or, maybe he
would have been at some dig site in the Middle West, not that I donít love the
Middle West, but thereís no temple of doom there. As a dean who professes to
be loyal to her faculty, your goal should be to try and make your tenured
faculty feel like Indiana Jones. They should feel empowered and free and willing
to take a stand."
"Iíll think about it. Iíll think about it." Amanda grinned.
"Itís always good to see you Tony."