Mike Combi Comments
Mike Combi 20080118
Though I would normally defer to Len's wisdom and experience, I question shifting the whole "vision" toward the interdisciplinary initiative. These are 100 faculty positions over 5 years in a university with over 3000 T&TT faculty. That is a only a 3% increase, which would mean possibly 1 junior faculty position (or maybe none) for AOSS over the next 5 years. While this would certainly be nice, is it worth basing our whole central theme on it? After 3 years on SACUA and 3 years on the Research Policies Committee, if, as they say I had nickel for every time some executive officer talked about enhancing interdisciplinary research (i.e., inter-college in Michiganese) ... Despite all the talk we still are dominated by issues like AOSS faculty not teaching LSA courses, having AOSS grad students rather than Physics or Chemstry, and concern over AOSS SCH's even several years into Mary Sue's interdisciplinary education initiative. Did you even remember there is one of these?!
We have a much higher likelihood of progressing (and getting more hunting licenses and internal support) by working on our own core strengths. I don't mean to say that we should not push ahead in emerging areas like climate or space weather, because those are important areas nationally and globally for AOSS, and we have real expertise capability already. Basically I think we should mention interdisciplinarity, but focus on our own future.
Is this called developing consensus?