Friday, October 2, 2009

administrative gardening

I think about my work as an administrator and teacher in a University School of Music–(fostering community, building trusting relationships, continuing ideals)–as something akin to an organic gardener or farmer's relationship to the land. The short-term gains to be had from treating the land or the institution as a set of resources from which to draw personal gain (the equivalent of jacking the whole operation up on chemical fertilizers) are outweighed by the long-term costs of such exploitative extraction. Instead of taking everything we can get from the soil of our institution(s), we need to work to enrich the land, build up the layers of fertile topsoil with care, attention, kindness, generosity, and attention. With love and commitment, even. I'm not sure about a metaphor that matches hard caring work in a University with compost, but there it is. Stewardship and selflessness enrich community and continue institutions. Selfishness, elitism, hierarchy, prestige-mongering, and grandstanding destroy them.

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