I spent the morning off campus working through a long-term research project. It was a long-overdue chance to reconnect with something that many of us academics love -- reading books, making notes, building a conceptual framework around a topic, constructing an argument. When you spend your time in administration trying to build policies and procedures, you can forget about the other things you enjoy building.
It felt slightly silly to be at the coffee shop doing my research, because the only other person who was scheduled to be in the office today was a secretary. Surely I could have been just as productive in the empty office. But it turns out that letters we sent at the beginning of the week alerting our students to various levels of problems with their GPAs were received today, and the floodgates of calls and questions opened up. In the afternoon the phone barely stopped ringing. And the wisdom of my off-campus research retreat was revealed.