The Death of Universities
There are two kinds of people in universities.
1. People whose idea of work is going to meetings.
2. People whose idea of work is what we do BETWEEN meetings. You know, stuff like thinking, reading books and articles, writing new research.
Here's the problem: American universities are being absolutely taken over by by people of type 1. As a department chair, I can protect my faculty against some of this, but only some.
Whole floors of academic buildings are being converted from faculty office space (ie, place where work is actively done) to administrative office space (ie, places where work is actively prevented).
I have to deal with faculty, and graduate students, every day who can't believe the ridiculous, counterproductive, and petty edicts from above. They assume that I am the source.
The problem is not top level administrators, who (at Duke, at least right now) are the best I have ever seen. The problem is mid-level administrators who, knowing nothing about research, decide it is a "product" that needs to be managed and measured. And of course, we need to meet about it, a lot. Because that is what work is.
I can always just lay low. But what will happen to the new generation? A lot of the time faculty spend doing "nothing" is the most productive time they spend.