It was one year ago today that I was offered my current position as dean. I well remember receiving the call from the provost asking me to take the position and laying out the general offer. It was definitely one of the most exciting moments in my career thus far.

One day later was the first public acknowledgment of my appointment, which is where this picture was taken. It was at the college’s annual potluck. It was rather precipitously decided that I would be announced at this event because the word had gotten out on facebook that I was the new dean. (My little sister wrote something about it on my wall, and some of my students saw it before I was able to delete it.) The university didn’t officially announce it until the following Monday.

This year’s potluck is also this afternoon. So, this is a good moment to think back and assess my first year as dean. I few people have pointed out how happy I look in this picture. And I definitely was ecstatic. It felt like everything I had ever wanted had suddenly come to fruition.

The main thing that’s on my mind as I reflect today is how naive I was about the job I was getting into. I look back and realize that I knew next to nothing about being a dean. I see just how minuscule my experience really was in such areas as management, budgets, fund-raising, dealing with a couple hundred students and all of their problems, and even many of the basic aspects, policies, and programs of the college I would subsequently lead.