Yesterday I had lunch in the Student Center for the first time. I went to Panda Express, and my fortune cookie message read: “the riches of others makes you more valuable.” In a way, that’s a nice shorthand for describing the job of a Dean, as one of our major tasks is to make sure that the departments in our care are well supported and thriving. Money is probably the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the word “support,” and that is a necessary item, but another important aspect is the ability of department chairs to innovate, to try new things without unnecessary interference from above. I’ve started monthly one-on-one meeting with the chairs, and stress that the purpose of those meetings is not for me to give direction (or, worse, micromanage their decisions), it’s for me to become informed about issues and to help solve problems. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate¬†department successes, and discuss ways in which we can maintain positive momentum. Monthly meetings with 12 department chairs will take a lot of time, but they are well worth the effort. In the end, successful departments lead to a successful college!