Which means the lobby and elevators are jammed first thing in the morning. But it also means that community members are coming together to perform the lynchpin function in the merit review process–in my opinion this peer review has been critical to the empirical success of the NSF since it’s founding in the early 1950’s.
Which brings me to the point of this blogpost: I think that where appropriate from the standpoint of expertise, more deans, provosts and even university presidents should participate in NSF panels. I think this would help them hone the qualities of “scientific taste” that they need for recruitment, retention and even promotion and tenure processes. I know, that during my sixteen year tenure in a decanal position at George Mason, serving on many NSF panels helped me a great deal in building out a high-performing faculty team at my academic unit. Of course, there will be conflicts of interest for proposals from one’s home institution and administrators would have to recuse themselves from those discussions and decisions.