David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
The Results of the Bracketology Task Force

March 30, 2019

Given that it is the time of the year that most committee meetings are being sidetracked by conversations about March Madness, I indulged myself by returning to one of my favorite previous blog ideas: creating a bracket of 64 for Higher Education.

The original Higher Education Bracketology was a series of blogs that allowed me to analyze in a little depth a number of issues related to higher education. This time I actually commissioned a small task force (a version of "The Open," the 11th seed in the Make-Up Regional, see below) to design a new higher education tournament. Today, I am proud to present to you the Field of 64 World of Committees tournament, the results of the Bracketology Task Force (BTF).

The BTF decided to capture all about the wonderful world of committee meetings in their final seeding of 64. They created 4 regions: Committee Purposes; Committee Make-up; Committee Amenities; and Committee Clichés. The meetings and conversations were heated at times, which usually just confirmed someone's argument about a seed.  For instance, when some of the task force were tired and wanted to call it a day, another member suggested they "plow on until 5:00," and instantly all members realized that they had to finally concede their 16th seed for the Cliché region.

There is so much intrigue: For instance we all know employee health is important but what chance does The Wellness Committee have against the Duke of Committees -- The Committee of Committees in the Purpose Region?  The Committee of the Committees makes the rules! So sad to know that Wellness will go down faster than the response rates on the annual Wellness Survey.

The Amenities Region is the most competitive in my humble opinion.  The cookies versus bagels debate can start right away, and I know I speak for a nation of grateful academics that Power Bars didn't even make the tournament.  Equally intriguing is the "Round The Table" Agenda item versus the "Other" Agenda item.  Let's go back and forth between people trying to make their visit to the state capital interesting versus everyone else just wanting to stay quiet and get back to real work.

Looking at a second round match-up in the Make-Up Region, how can you not salivate at the idea of "The Turgid" battling "The Boots on the Ground"?  That is a classic Goliath versus David showdown.

Of course, all of us will be watching the Cliché Region closely.  Already the buzz is about how the "three kinds of lies" couldn't get a better seed than 8.  On top of that, it has to go up against the smug self-importance of "social science is not a real science."  Wow, nothing can sum up the tourney better than that match-up.

You can see the full match-ups below.  Remember, no betting on the tournament. I checked with HR on that.

Purpose Regional

Make-up Regional

Amenities Regional

Cliché Regional

1 – The Committee of Committees

16 - Wellness Committee

1 – The Empowered (4 Upper-Level Administrators)

16 - The Complainers (Mix of disgruntled employees)

1 – Coffee

16 – Coke products (or whatever company the college has contracted with)

1 – Do I have a motion to adjourn?

16 – What do you say we plow on until 5:00?

8 – Compensation Committee

9 – Diversity Committee

8 – The Veiled Support (Mix of administration, faculty and an admin assistant)

9 – The No Accountability (Mix of minimal employees with no mission, bylaws or expectations for attendance)

8 – Cookies

9 – Bagels

8 – There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics!

9 - C'mon the social sciences are not a science.

5 – Retention Committee

12 – Student Misconduct Review Board

12 – The Town-Gown (Administrators and community members)

5 – The Separate But Not Equal (Cross-mix of employees, but primarily made up of department owning the issue)

5 – 3:00pm-5:00pm

12 - 8:00am-10:00am

5 – I can't turn this damn thing on. Anyone know the number to the Help Desk?

12 – Damn, it's hot in here.

4 – Curriculum Committee

13 - Policy Review Board

4 – The Party (Small group meeting infrequently and only for social reasons)

13 – The Punishment (Large group volun-told to participate)

4 – Video conference

13 - Cell phone on speaker

4 – Shut up about millennials or Gen Z students.  They are all just lazy!

13 – What do the minutes say?

2 – President's Cabinet

15 – Information Technology Advisory Board

2 – The For Show (Everyone invited, all asked for input, decision made prior to meeting)

15 - The Bridge (Mix of junior faculty at the cusp of tenure)

2 – U-shape tables

15 – Classroom seating

2 – With all due respect to my esteemed colleague . . .

15 - Honey, stay in your lane!

7 – Training Committee

10 - Institutional Review Board

7 – The Con (Any numbers of employees and the outside consultant)

10 – The Need-Your-Voice (3 or 4 students along with a mix of staff and faculty)

7 – Candy Miniatures

10 – Pens/notepads

7 – I want it on the record that I disagree.

10 – Did you clear that with HR?

6 – Tenure & Promotion Committee

11 –Strategic Planning Committee

11 – The Open (Open to any interested employee)

6 -- The Turgid (5 way too earnest employees)

6 – "Round The Table Agenda" item

11 – "Other" item

6 – Oh, I'm sorry, was that not PC enough for you?

11 - Yeah, like we have half a million lying around to do that.

3 – Senate

14 -- Student Appeal Committee

3 – The Boots on the Ground (Operational leadership)

14 - The System (Mix of staff from campuses and off-site locations)

3 – Handouts

14 – PowerPoint

3 – I still want to know why you cut my program!

14 - According to Gardner . . . .