In a middle-management job that has become increasingly complex, department chairs must cut costs in a time of shrinking resources, write grant applications and meet with potential donors to increase department resources, manage growing pools of adjunct labor, and respond to new calls for assessment.
Their roles are important because they are increasingly critical to a department's success and its professors' morale. A strong department chair can expand the unit's stature and improve its performance by recruiting top faculty members, attracting more students to its majors, creating a climate in which professors can excel at their jobs, and revising curriculum to keep up with new scholarship. But if a chair doesn't woo enough donors, faculty members may not be able to travel to as many conferences as they would like, or do as much research. If a department's leader fails to promote the group's work and convey its importance, deans and provosts might overlook the department when deciding where to allocate limited dollars. And if a chair is ineffective at mediating conflicts between colleagues, the simmering tensions can disrupt day-to-day work and undermine collaboration.
Yet, even though the job is becoming more pivotal, it remains a role for which few faculty members are properly trained. ...
And that's when it becomes most evident that the skills most professors have honed to become strong teachers and researchers aren't the ones they'll flex as they run a department, says Jeffrey Buller, dean of the honors college at Florida Atlantic University. In short, what attracted faculty members to academic life in the first place—the autonomy, the camaraderie of colleagues, opportunities to teach and do exciting research—isn't the stuff that department-chair appointments are made of.
My favorite lines:
"The kinds of things that I had to do as chair on a daily basis kept me from doing what I thought was important,"
"You can get up in the morning and think, I have two hours to do this or that, and by the time you drive in in the morning, those two hours are gone."
"I can't wait for this summer, when I'm done being chair,"
It might seem that the range of scents humans can detect is infinite, but scientists have
managed to sort them all into 10 basic categories, ranging from peppermint to pungent.
The classifications are meant to be the olfactory equivalent of the five basic tastes: sweet,
sour, salty, bitter and umami (savory).
To come up with the 10 scents, neuroscientists turned to a 30-year-old database that contained
profiles of 144 odors. Each odor was assessed by human subjects, who were given a list of 146 words
and asked to rate how well each word described the odor. The researchers wanted to see if they
could look for patterns in those responses that would help them group the odors.
Using statistics, they analyzed how the 146 words were used and how they were related to one
another. Some words were almost always used together, such as
honey. Others were rarely or never paired, such as
By the end of the analysis, the researchers came up with a total of 10 distinct groups of words
that tended to be used together.
The result was a list of 10 key odor categories: fragrant, woody/resinous, minty/peppermint,
sweet, chemical, popcorn, lemon, fruity (non-citrus), pungent and decayed.
First a little background for those who don't follow Major League Baseball (why don't you?): The Houston Astros are bad...really bad. The team is in the supposed process of rebuilding after moving to the American League from the National League this year. They are currently 31.5 games out of first place. That means they would have to win 31.5 more games than the first place team in order to catch them--and they would have to pass the other 3 teams in front of them. With only 32 games left in their season, that seems, shall I say, unlikely. How have they accomplished the feat of incomeptence. Easy, they cut costs. Running a baseball team as a cost-minimizer will lead to bad baseball. But, on the bright side, Forbes is claiming that the Astros are on pace to have one of the most profitable seasons in baseball history.
Before we delve into how things have been absolutely awful, let's concentrate on the peculiar manner in which the Astros have been extremely successful. According to Dan Alexander of Forbes, the franchise is the most profitable in MLB history.
We probably should have made sure you were sitting before that last sentence:
The Astros are on pace to rake in an estimated $99 million in operating income this season. That is nearly as much as the estimated operating income of the previous six World Series championship teams — combined.
The reason is quite simple: Owner Jim Crane has reduced cost dramatically as the club tries to rebuild and move forward in the American League.
We are very disappointed that, earlier today, Forbes released
an article that includes significant inaccuracies relating to the
Astros' finances. The Astros do not disclose financial information.
However, as MLB will
confirm, the information reported in the Forbes article relating to the
Astros' revenues, the Astros media rights fee from CSN Houston, and CSN
Houston's per subscriber rate are all significantly inaccurate. As a
result, the conclusion about the Astros operational profit is
How dare you call us profitable!
Apparently it's better to suck on and off the field.
With reference to Colorado proposing a 30% tax on recreational marijuana sales (15% excise tax and 15% sales tax),
Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian group ... said that as long as federal marijuana laws continued to be unsettled, collecting taxes would be challenging. Moreover, he said, there is no way to predict how many customers would continue to buy on the black market.
After Prohibition ended in 1933, states levied taxes on alcohol, in part because they were desperate for revenue after the Great Depression. But that shift, Dr. Miron noted, was undertaken with the full support of the federal government.
“It’s easy to get a little overexcited that legalizing marijuana is going to solve the world’s budgetary problems,” Dr. Miron said. “But the question for the tax revenue part of this will be how much the federal government allows these markets to come completely above ground.”
The revenue collected from a tax will hinge on the relative price-elasticities of demand and supply. The less price elastic the demand for a good, the more revenue can be collected with a tax--because people still buy the good even at higher prices. With federal support for marijuana sales it is likely that demand for legal marjuana would be much less price elastic, and a state tax would raise much more revenue for the state than without federal support--making the tax more effective at raising revenue.
But then again, I guess it depends on whether the goal of the tax is to raise revenue.
And I wonder if the demand for Doritos has increased in Colorado?
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous