Making time for service

I recently read a great blog post by ProfHacker called On Being Busy that essentially says we faculty members should try to make time to serve on various committees, and not rely on the old excuse of being “too busy”.  He argues that participating in university governance is really of service to both the university and ourselves.  Coincidentally, shortly after that my dept. chair asked if I would serve on the Arts and Science Council for the remainder of the school year, to fill in for a colleague.  I was happy to oblige, and have just returned from my first meeting. It was short, and not too contentious, but I can tell already that my participation will be quite a learning experience.  There are discussions on budgets, curriculum, new programs, and many other topics that concern a large number of faculty and students (Arts and Science has over 21,000 full-time undergraduate students, over 3,600 graduate students, and 930 faculty), and I find it quite interesting.  I also serve on the teaching stream committee for our university’s faculty association, as well as several departmental committees, and have learned a lot from them as well.  Yes, there are times when I really do feel like I am “too busy” and yes, I continually struggle with balancing the demands of my job with making sure I make time to enjoy the other parts of my life, but I encourage all faculty to consider getting involved in governance.  It’s too easy (as I admit I have done in the past) to focus on more immediate priorities.  Try to make time for some of the bigger picture issues, as well all need to contribute to governance at various levels, and I have a feeling you’ll find it rewarding.