In one of my favourite novels, The Rebel Angels, the Warden of Ploughwright College insists that the university is not defined by its students, but by its professors. Students come and go, he notes, but professors remain year after year. “They are the minute hand,” he says, “we are the hour hand of the academic clock.”
And so “The Hour Hand” is the name that I have suggested for this blog. Because whatever else the Warden says in that delightful Robertson Davies novel, this insight is correct: every university is ultimately defined by its faculty members. Students not only come and go, their eyes are (to some extent rightly) fixed on the future beyond the academy. As for administrators, well, if professors reside in an ivory tower, administrators live in a gold and platinum penthouse on the top floor.
This blog, then, will try to give a view of the university from someone who is taking a longer view. The scholarly year has its own particular rhythm, and as it ticks by, I will, poised on the hour hand, provide what insights I can.