I am sitting on my screened in porch and watching an especially hard rain!
For the past few months, and years, we have been blessed with more than our share of rain.
I have, hurriedly, been snapping photos of the beautiful spring buds on our trees as Southern Illinois University in Carbondale…as I know that a hard rain like today…will cause them to fall to the ground!
While the rain is is falling, I am also watching my friend, David Gorman, in a live art show from Park West Gallery in Michigan. Park West is a great company and David is one of our favorite people affiliated with it!
As I was, quickly, photographing the campus this afternoon, before the rain and storms began, I ran into Monica Mason Raines, who I know from our civil service council days. She is always such a bright and cheerful person and she consistently seems glad to see me! Monica told me that she enjoys all of the photos that I post of the campus!
So…hard rains come to us in nature and in our lives. We seek to be good human beings…and help our neighbor…and put others before ourselves…and yet…difficulties and trials and tribulations still happen to us.
I think of our beloved SIU and the difficulties that have buffeted her over the past twenty years.
The dedicated civil service staff has been working with and suffering with their school, ‘cheek to jowl,’ as the English say… and neither asking for recognition or praise!
The university is, truly, the life of the staff!
I have often said…and continue to do so…that if university administration would seek the input of their dedicated civil service staff on the, paramount, problems of student recruitment and retention…we would not be in the shape that we are!
No university employee is closer to our students…than our civil service staff. They are the ones that counsel the students when they are sad and lonely….they are the ones who remind the students to study for their exams…they are the ones who function as surrogate mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers for our, precious, students, who are lonely and sad and who miss home and family!
In the university community the professor is praised and lauded and we are often reminded how essential that they are. This is all appropriate and good and I have know, countless professors who were dedicated, night and day, to SIUC! But, the people that go unsung and unheralded and unheard…are the civil service staff…who worry and and care and struggle and give, all that they have, to our most valuable university citizens…our students!
Most of our students do not come from academic families! Most of our students parents are not PhD’s! They seek someone to identify with and someone to bond with…and someone that represents SIUC…to them!
I was a member of the university community for over 32 years! I have been affiliated with SIUC for over 40 years! I, throughly, understand the university culture. I completely understand where the emphasis of importance is placed in the hierarchal structure of academia!
I have worked with several chancellors in my career. I worked, closely, with one who told me, plainly and unvarnished, that the faculty came first and then the administrative professional staff and finally…if there was anything left…the civil service staff!
I told this chancellor that if he said this, insult, to me again…that I would walk out of his office!
SIUC chancellors and presidents have called on me for help…numerous times! Now, please understand, I do not mean in a condescending attempt to make me feel valued…I mean…because they were in trouble!
I told a chancellor, once, that if he insulted my intelligence again…that our meeting was over!
Please do not misjudge us…we may have been raised in the country…but we are not fools!
Southern Illinois University needs it’s civil service staff…desperately!
The university does not need it’s staff because they are the ‘salt of the earth’ or they perform the, distasteful duties, that faculty do not have the time for…or that are beneath them!
SIUC needs it’s civil service staff…because they are the primary reason that the university has continued to be a viable institution of higher education in the state of Illinois! And the civil service staff will be the, glue and the propellant, that projects the university forward into the 21st century!