I found out recently that I’ve been nominated for a couple of departmental committees for next year. I don’t know if this is typical of R1 universities, but our graduate student organization appoints graduate seats (typically one or two) in each departmental faculty committee. We do anonymous nominations at the end of each year, and then vote on the nominees for seats the following year.
I was nominated for the diversity committee (apparently someone out there is keen to the fact that I’m an ex-lesbian in an interracial relationship, because otherwise, dude, I’m totally whitebread Americana) and the seminar committee. I have a feeling that the seminar committee nomination is a thinly veiled attempt by someone in my lab to try to force me to go to more seminars.
I am notorious in my lab for skipping seminars, because so few of them are actually relevant to my research. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I am in an ecology and evolution department. It isn’t a perfect fit, because while there is an ecological aspect to my research, the majority of it is physiology or biochemistry. I just could not give two rats’ asses about population ecology or ecological modeling or, worst of all, PLANT ECOLOGY*. Ew. And since the plant ecologists and ecosystem ecologists make up the majority of the department, most of the invited seminar speakers are in those fields. I’m sure I would learn something if I went, but to be pefectly honest, I find plant ecology to be completely snooze-worthy. I’m sure the speaker would rather that I didn’t go to their talk than for me to sit there and yawn rudely through the whole thing, right?
Needless to say, I turned down that nomination. The job should go to someone who cares, and I, frankly, don’t. I accepted the other nomination, though. I have no idea what the diversity committee does, but I’m sure I can wing it.
* This is not a judgement on the importance of plant ecology or the work of plant ecologists. Just a statement on my ability to tolerate hearing about it in excruciating detail.