Monday, May 31, 2010

Committee Meetings Can Make You Feel Like a Kid Again (In a Good Way…Seriously)

I had my first faculty meeting the other week. It was longer than I expected, but it didn’t feel drawn out. I remember attending meeting in college and thinking that, for the most part, they were empty exercises in procedure meant to give college students practice for when they were real adults. And I dreaded revisiting that feeling, especially since now there’s not much to practice for.

We did talk about student retention and student performance, many of the same subjects I discussed 10 years ago as a student senator. But as a professor, I feel as if I can better turn talk into action. Also, my ability to focus (or maybe I simply have fewer distractions) allowed me to zone into the topics and big picture behind those topics. Either way, time marched more than trudged, and I’m looking forward to more progress at our next get together.

Also, Robert’s Rules of Order—the absence of them—made communication less complicated. No doubt Robert’s plans have their place, but not in meetings where I’m present. I guess my presence brings a sense of order in itself, and anything else is mere superfluity.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Was Picking the Smartest Man in the NFL a Dumb Idea?

"Like a smart jock, right?...Now ain't that an oxymoron?"
--from the movie Renaissance Man

"Can't read defenses? He's a Rhodes Scholar. He can read 'em in Latin."
--from the HBO show Arliss

With the 207th pick in the 2010 draft, the Tennessee Titans picked Myron Rolle out of Florida State, a Rhodes Scholar & future MD. More significantly for the Titans, he’s a safety and should provide depth to their underachieving secondary.

A lot of speculation as to whether his scholarly interests will detract from his football responsibilities. I know this is where I’m supposed to defend him for being a renaissance man and a true student athlete. And no doubt he deserves praise from me and everyone else who’s heaped him w/ adoration. But any wariness an NFL team had of him concerning his non-football goals are actually legitimate.

When a teach drafts a player, they are making an investment. And if they have reason to believe that player won’t develop for some reason (injury prone, lack of talent, other interests, etc), then that team should be cautious. Granted, being afraid a player will retire early or be distracted because of an interest in the medical profession, is definitely different from most NFL red flags (and is much better than some recent former Titans players’ off the field activities), but it must be taken serious.

For example, if you’re hiring someone for a job, and that person is overqualified, then you would be right to hesitate because the person may be gone soon. Now, Rolle isn’t quite overqualified in the usual sense, but he definitely has qualities that make him less likely to drape his life in football, which is really what a player needs to do in order to succeed in the NFL, especially someone with the talent of a 6th round draft pick.

This is not to say I was upset the Titans drafted him. In fact, I remember sitting in front of my tv pumping my fist profusely when his name scrolled across the screen. But I do side with NFL execs whose jobs lie with not only whom they pick but whom they do not pick. And the more players you pick who don’t work out, the greater your chance of being out of a job.

All this said, does anyone have Myron Rolle’s contact info? I’d like for him to guest lecture one of my sports & lit classes.