I began this very short essay with the title, “Self Importance,” but just as I got started, Lynn, a colleague of mine, showed me a photo of her car. It had been parked under a tree full of birds, and it was totally covered with bird poop. I began to relate what I saw in the photo with the institution of higher learning where I teach.

After almost 30 years of working with, meeting with, and listening to my scholarly colleagues, I see a strong correlation with Lynn’s poop-covered car. I associated each one of the splats on her car with input from one of the academics. The institution, in this case her car, was covered with crap, but the fundamental nature of the underlying body remains unchanged.

Soon a rainstorm began washing off her car, preparing it for the next round of ideas, thoughts, complaints, and proposals – none of which would have a substantial impact on the nature of the beast. About the only benefit I can see in this continuing, but relatively inert, barrage of stuff, is that it leaves the individual contributor feeling a sense of satisfaction without significant change. And that may be the best we can hope for.