Director Day in the Life: Day 2

6:30: Alarm.

8:30: Out of the house, reluctantly. To my office, check email quickly, read interesting replies from last night’s discussion on SUNY Directors’ list, ask the library secretary a few questions about our financial management systems, gather my current notebook and relevant folders and head across campus

9:00:  Academic Cabinet meeting (Provost, Deans, Director of Libraries).  Discussed a variety of projects and issues of broad academic and administrative relevance.

10:30:  Back to office.  Read rest of my email, forward a SUNYLA listserv message about the new Chancellor to the Provost.  Discussed Distance Learning funding streams with the library secretary.  Start considering and researching a fine appeal from a faculty member.  Add several items to my to-do board.

11:30:  Lunch.  Do some web-based stuff for my vacation in France, IM with some friends, check in on FriendFeed and Twitter, and search for my campus ID card.  MIA.  Probably at home.  Actually go get lunch at the cafe, where I chat with a member of the Math faculty about Comic-Con and his undergraduate research students (though not in the same sentence!).  Returned to my office to eat, and started this post.

12:45:  Meet with Reference Coordinator to discuss fall services, including hours, schedules, interns, and adjuncts.

1:20: Talk to secretary about some billing issues for ebooks on last year’s budget, scheduling a few meetings, and other staff issues.

1:40:  Email!  Again!  Some more!

1:45: Work on budgeting issues, mainly awareness of current fund levels in various accounts and the encumbrances we have posted against them for the coming year.  Finally hit the jackpot and found exactly the report I was looking for on the SUNY management system.

2:30:  Took the newest librarian on a walking tour of the academic quad, explaining some shortcuts, how to avoid going outside during the winter, and which buildings are so insanely designed as to be an impossibility to ever figure out.

3:30:  Talked to secretary about further billing stuff.  Talked to staff member about workshops and poster printing for six sections of a music school course.  Stared at budget information, trying to make sense of it.

4:45:  Eyes are blurring over the spreadsheets, so I’m calling it a day!


  1. Just a thought. I noticed that you lumped “email” into a single task. Many people do this. “Email” becomes this disdained, necessary evil. It becomes a hated thing that threatens to overwhelm and undermine productivity. But in my opinion, email is not all the same. Sure, there is maintenance and sifting and deleting (which can be streamlined with the proper use of filters), but email is basically “communicating.” Few things can be as important for an administrator of any kind than communicating. I would much rather have ten emails to answer than ten phone calls to return. No, email doesn’t take the place of interacting with people, and I am not advocating that anyone hide in their office and just write emails all day. But a quick response to a colleague’s or staff member’s question, a request to a vendor for pricing, a thoughtful response to a request for feedback on a proposal– those are all different tasks, and simply because they are done using the medium of email does not make them less important than some other activities.


  2. Pat, I agree completely. However, for the purposes of Day In The Life stuff, I simply don’t have the energy to describe the 45 different small communication tasks accomplished via email individually…. so “Email” is what it’s gonna be. 🙂


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