Webber (Management, 1979, etc.) recounts tales from his lengthy career in post-secondary education, including the extraordinary and the mundane.
For the most part, the book focuses on the author’s positions in higher education, including his stint as a professor of management at Wharton and later as an administrator at prestigious University of Pennsylvania. At times Webber also provides insight into his personal life, such as his family and background. Each chapter is a few pages long, consisting of vignettes or retellings of thematically related stories. The collection is organized into larger themes such as teaching, fundraising and community relations. Readers interested in the internal workings of universities will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at how decisions are made, why professors of arts and science may be paid less than their colleagues in business, and the divergent career paths of male and female professors. No background in the university system is needed, however, to comprehend the author’s real-life tale of a dog eating his paperwork–the canine which gave this collection its name. The brevity of the chapters and resultant staccato narrative flow suggests that this book be read in short bursts, and the thematic–rather than chronological–organization precludes delving deeply into any one topic. Though this is a light, quirky read, written in a conversational style with wry and self-deprecating humor, Webber does not shy away from controversial topics. He briefly addresses underage drinking and animal testing on campus, as well as other public-relations challenges. Virtually any college graduate will enjoy this sneak peek into educational administration, politics and fundraising.
An entertaining, insubstantial glimpse into higher education.