Not long ago it struck me that I have had three different positions at the college over the past three years. In October, 2016, I was the Dean of Extended Learning, in October, 2017, I was the Dean of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning and by October, 2018, I was the Dean of Special Projects for the Vice President of Instruction/Provost. I wondered if those changes were reflected in my email habits, so I decided to take a look at that.

I started by downloading all of the email message headers to extract the To, CC, and BCC addresses for every email I sent for the entire month of October in 2016, 2017, and 2018. I selected October since that is normally a pretty busy month for community college administration. I then removed all addresses to people outside Cochise College since I was not interested in those contacts for this project. I kept only the identification portion of each email address (the part before the “@cochise.edu”) for this project and ended up with a list of names like fickv (Dr. Fick, the Vice President of Instruction/provost) and ambroset (Travis Ambrose, the Institutional Research data analyst).

I then inserted all of those IDs into a word cloud so I could compare my network for each of those three years.

Oct 2016: Dean of Extended Learning

Oct 2016: Dean of Extended Learning

In October 2016 I regularly emailed the same small group of people, and that is reflected in the similar size of the IDs in this figure. The most common name, galindog (Gabe Galindo), is the Director of our Santa Cruz center and we were frequently in contact concerning a pending closing of that center and our required teach-out. Lamont Schiers (schiers) was the college’s Vice President of Administration and he was a key component of the Santa Cruz shutdown plan. Other IDs are people I regularly contacted in the normal course of my daily business. Compared to the next two figures, this shows a fairly consistent contact with a small group of people and no one really stands out as getting a disproportionate share of my email time.

Oct 2017: Dean of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning

Oct 2017: Dean of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning

In October 2017 I was the Dean of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning and my email patterns reflect that change in my role. The most prominent names in this figure are routhieaux (Iris Routhieaux), who was my administrative assistant, ambroset (Travis Ambrose, a data analyst), and fischerj (Jordan Fischer, a data analyst). Gabe Galindo (galindog) is still prominent since the Santa Cruz shutdown was still ongoing. There are a few other notable changes between these two years. For example, in 2017 I contacted davisw (Wendy Davis, our Vice President of Human Resource) more frequently. My contacts with walshj (John Walsh, the Director of our Library Systems) grew significantly since I relied on him to provide data for our research department. Other names disappeared, like somersj (John Somers), who was a direct report in 2016 but not in 2017. The overall observation is that this figure, unlike the 2016 figure, has a few very large IDs, indicating that my mail pattern changed to focus more on just a few people rather than about the same focus on a small group.

Oct 2018: Dean of Special Projects

Oct 2018: Dean of Special Projects

In October 2018 I was the Dean of Special Projects and I reported directly to the Vice President of Instruction/Provost, Verlyn Fick, so it is not surprising that fickv shows up as an important contact. Travis Ambrose is still an important contact as I continue to work with Institutional Research, but now I request data rather than direct their work. Richardsonbarbara (Barbara Richardson, the Assistant Dean of Outreach) is chairing two different task forces that I am involved with so we have had numerous email exchanges.

While these three word clouds indicate the relative number of messages sent to any one person, what is not evident is the total number of email messages I sent during these three months. In 2016 I sent 507 messages, in 2017 I sent 589, and in 2018 I sent 150. The last year’s decrease shows a significant change in my daily work and is a reflection of my changing focus from supervising other people to independently working on projects and reports.

Finally, it seems important to point out that I completed this entire project using Python rather than R. For some time I have looked for a project that would lend itself to Python and this was a good fit. I suspect that I will continue to find other Python projects in the future.