David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
An AA Meeting Worth Acknowledging

November 22, 2011:  An AA Meeting Worth Acknowledging

This is going to be the lamest of original blogs.  And that's because someone else has said something better than me:  Recognition for the Administrative Assistant. (For the record, I believe many people have said things better than me.)  In this Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed piece, Brent Miller cites scenarios between professors and administrative assistants.  However there are some secrets these staff members would like to share with administrators.

1) Reconciling our pro-cards.  I'm pretty sure they don't mind doing it, but it would be helpful if we kept our receipts in some kind of order, as opposed to dumping them on their desks.

2) Needing our signatures.  You know, they don't want to come into our office every half hour with something new to sign, but leaving papers needing signatures out somewhere for us to see and sign doesn't always work anyway.  Trust me, there are times that I feel like Henry Blake with Radar passing way too many things under my nose to sign, but our signature is usually necessary for important expediency of something at the institution.  I've yet to find an administrative assistant driving a new car that I somehow authorized.

3)  Sorting through meeting notes for minutes.  Heck, I get a tired and distracted at my own meetings and lose my train of thought.  I'm amazed at how well administrative assistants can capture the essence of meeting discussions.  It is up to us to review them and help fill in the details, especially when discussing the differences between MATH190, MATH195, and MATH200; or, when reviewing those catchy Banner codes that might as well all be Greek ("Go to FANGSHU to see the student address, but SHNEEZENOT for the student schedule, and ignore KNUPFLIT completely for all student information.")

I know, as a general rule, that the most amazing people I have worked with during my professional career are the administrative assistants.  I can lose a chair or a dean and recover.  I'm honestly not sure I can lose an administrative assistant.  Everything literally could come to a screeching heart.

As a result, this blog is dedicated to the following for whom I have always been most thankful:


From the past

(I'm sure I have forgotten a few.  My apologies!)

You've handed me paperwork as I've run to a meeting.  You've told a persistent student I was out when I was really in (you might have even done that with a persistent Dean or faculty member). You've arranged for my car to be picked up for service.  You've booked my conference hotel.  You've showed me for the 100th time how to work the copier (by the way, what's my code number again?).  You've remembered my birthday (I am 50 next year; it's time to stop remembering it).  You've laughed at my jokes (talk about "other duties as assigned").  You've found endless number of rooms for my meetings.  You've warned me when the President was looking for me (even when there was no need to assume a warning was necessary!).  You've attended to the details.  You've attended the all-faculty meetings (couldn't have been an easy task).  You've simply been the constant in an administrator's life that is often anything but constant.

Wow, when I look at that list, I have to ask my faculty friends:  What have you done for me lately?

Happy Thanksgiving all.