Wednesday, January 31, 2007

To Be Loved

I have described our Herculean efforts of yesterday. Today is a day for rest. Breakfast in the solarium and a brisk walk. We stopped for latte in the A.M and wine in the P.M.. In between, a couple of galleries that might appeal to the students. The affection the Italians feel for us is hard to ignore – especially the waiters. Every time we leave a tip I notice the waiters making eye contact with each other and more often than not one is touching his cheek with his index finger and pointing at his eye. No doubt this is a comment on our generosity or refined dress. (Except for Marvelle, who really needs to smarten it up a bit.)

My only concern during the week, other than making the summer program in Italy as rewarding as possible for our students (just think of the opportunities to study comparative law!), is for the untenured faculty at my school. I know they miss me and that the lack of emails is example of how much they respect what I am trying to do here. I have become, in a sense, the de facto associate dean for their development. Every day I try to drop in on one or two and encourage them by describing how I became so successful. I know they prefer me to the official Associate Dean, Celia (or as they call her “Busy Bee”), who seems to come around just to pump up the stress level. I am sure I relax them, in part because I am such an easy-going guy, and I think the Dean made a wise move by keeping me in a unofficial role when he declined my offer to act as Associate Dean for Untenured Development.

Now the good news. The way Hugo has designed this summer abroad program opens up so many possibilities that are just not there when the students are “on location.” He has raised the idea of a split summer program – 3 weeks in Rome and 3 in Florence. It is rare that a summer program gives students an opportunity to study in two cities but one of the advantages of a video summer program is that they can “travel.” This means more work for your beloved band of gypsies but tomorrow we are off to Florence.

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