Thursday, March 01, 2007

Filing Papers

As long-term readers will know, for the past few years I’ve been involved in a faculty-driven attempt to start a field research program at my campus. At the start of this academic year we were told that the program might be shut down due to the possible sale of our field site, and we’ve spent the last few months fighting to prevent that.

We lost the fight.

Of course there’s currently lots of spin that we didn’t actually lose, and lots of talk about how excited everyone still is about field experiences, but that doesn’t change the fact that our current program is being shut down1.

This morning I’m spending some time cleaning up my office, and I keep coming across papers related to the program. Even though they’re just generic paperwork (budgets, plans for future courses, lists of past courses, summaries of research findings, etc.), they’re filled with hope and excitement. They represent hundreds (and probably thousands) of hours of work by many people in just the past few months, most of which was spent trying to document our successes and justify the program. Now they represent dead weight that needs to be moved out of my current-documents pile and into an archived folder. Who knew that sorting papers could be so depressing?

1 This decision also makes most of the research that I (and my students) have been doing for the past few years meaningless.

1 comment:

Radagast said...

Visit me on...

The few students doing research with me have now switched their focus (from doing research) to making sure that someone else is able to use our work. We certainly weren't doing groundbreaking stuff, but we are going to do our best to transfer everything to people who can continue to use it.
March 3, 2007, 8:45:47 AM PST – Like – Reply

Sorting papers is always about throwing away or deprioritiing past hopes. Thank you for explaining why it is so hard for me to clean my desk.

Is there any way a Canadian group can take over your research so it's not all lost?
March 2, 2007, 8:46:19 AM PST – Like – Reply

Aw, damn. I'm very sorry to hear that.
March 1, 2007, 10:26:23 AM PST