It has been a while since I have blogged.   I have been trying to ground myself and focus on what matters, like shopping online.

During a particularly painful faculty meeting under a totalitarian dean, I found myself going fetal.  This lead me to think that maybe something from childhood could give me comfort.

It turns out that many children’s books are written about academia. Some examples:

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: This is a book about a law professor who, after throwing a tantrum that is not tolerated by the Dean and Associate Dean, starts his own institute. Sadly, things get out of hand as he brings more faculty aboard, and he casts himself away from the institute.

THE GIVING TREE: Written from the perspective of a Dean, who, after giving and giving and giving to a particularly needy faculty member, finds she has nothing left to give. This leaves her stumped.   At the end, the faculty member sits on the tree stump, symbolizing the typical governance structure of a university at which faculty members grind deans down.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM: Sam I Am is clearly the harbinger of curricular reform (green eggs and ham). He keeps trying to explain to the faculty that they really would like the changes. The faculty , entrenched in the status quo, refuses. After several faculty meeting no votes, the  faculty  discovers that they like curricular reform.

IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE: Written from the perspective of a Dean who likes to say “no,” (and who has perhaps read The Giving Tree), the book describes what happens if you give a faculty member what he or she wants. While the book is essentially a slippery slope argument, it is a must-read for deans who hate faculty members and like to say no to them.

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU: A story about a faculty hiring committee and a Supreme Court clerk.

THE CAT IN THE HAT: This is the story of why committees are bad. Two bored faculty members, not focused on teaching or scholarship get together with a rabble-rousing faculty member and make much commotion. Of course, not much comes of it.

DRAMA LLAMA: The entirely fictional story of what happens to someone who creates drama at a law school. The Drama Lllama becomes alienated and eventually has no friends. In reality, they are likely to be popular at AALS and even rise to the level of Dean.

If you want to be comforted about your life in academia, I highly recommend these books.