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Posts Tagged ‘Academic Life’

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail asking me if I would accept a nomination to run for chair of a campus committee in the upcoming faculty elections (reinforcing my belief that being known on campus can be both good and bad). I have been on the committee for the past two years and I think it is an important job but I absolutely did not want to serve as chair. On some campuses, there might typically be competition for elected positions, but on my campus the average number of people running for open positions tends to be one. Because of this, I did not want to decline the nomination outright and leave nobody to run for the position.

My first attempt at avoiding the nomination was asking if the current chair was running again, since I didn’t want to run against him. Unfortunately, the current chair was not running and had nominated me. My second attempt involved e-mailing the current chair to see what sorts of duties the job involved. He confirmed by suspicions that the position was a lot of work and then said that he hoped I would run (hence, I suppose, the nomination).

Reluctantly, I accepted the nomination and headed to the most recent faculty meeting desperately hoping that somebody else would be running against me. When we reached that point in the agenda I was happy to see that not only was somebody running against me, the person running against me was infinitely more qualified than I was. The other nominee won in what I assume was a landslide (we do not reveal vote counts for elected faculty positions, only the winners).

In the end, this outcome was the best of all possible worlds; those who are in charge of things like tenure and promotion got to see that I was willing to run for an important campus position and losing means that I don’t have to actually hold an important campus position. Responsibility averted!

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A week in the life

I’ve previously discussed how much I typically work in a week and the challenges of accomplishing anything that isn’t teaching related, but I’ve never discussed what an actual work week looks like.  This post seeks to fill this gaping hole in the literature.  As a third-year faculty member, a typical (and simplified – excluding time spent responding to e-mails, etc.) might look like this:

Monday

7:30-12 – Arrive on campus between 7:30 and 8.  Review class readings/notes and teach two 50-minute courses.  Try to start reading for my Tuesday/Thursday class.

12-1 – Eat lunch, read the local online paper, catch up on my RSS feeds, and possibly continue reading.

1-4:30 – Hold office hours and prepare for Tuesday’s course.  Students and colleagues stop by my office sporadically.

Tuesday

7:30-12 – Arrive on campus between 7:30 and 8:30, depending on how much I need to do before class.  Finish course preparation and teach one 1.5 hour course.

12-1 – Eat lunch, read the local online paper, catch up on my RSS feeds, and start reading for Thursday’s class.

1-4 – Grade assignments.  I do not have office hours but students and colleagues stop by my office sporadically.

4-6 – Committee Meeting (I typically have about one commitment from 4-6 each week).

Wednesday

7:30-12 – Arrive on campus between 7:30 and 8.  Review class readings/notes and teach two 50-minute courses.  Try to continue reading for my Tuesday/Thursday class.

12-1 – Eat lunch, read the local online paper, catch up on my RSS feeds, and possibly continue reading.

1-4:30 – Prepare for Thursday’s course.  I do not have office hours but students and colleagues stop by my office sporadically.

6:30-8:30 – Grade papers or exams (this varies but I usually spend a few hours on some week night grading things).

Thursday

7:30-12 – Arrive on campus between 7:30 and 8:30, depending on how much I need to do before class.  Finish course preparation and teach one 1.5 hour course.

12-1 – Eat lunch, read the local online paper, and catch up on my RSS feeds.

1-2 – Office hours.  Revise and copy an exam for Friday’s class (this differs from week to week).

2-3 – Prepare outlines for next week’s MWF courses (depending on the amount of revisions I make to the outlines from the previous time I taught each course, this could take quite a bit longer).  Students and colleagues stop by my office sporadically.

3-4:30 – Work on dataset for summer research project.

Friday

7:30-12 – Arrive on campus between 7:30 and 8.  Review class readings/notes and teach two 50-minute courses, giving an exam in one.

12-1 – Eat lunch, read the local online paper, and catch up on my RSS feeds.

1-4 – Meet with students about independent studies, internships, summer research projects, and senior theses (these are likely to be spread throughout the week but it was easier to put them in one spot).

4-4:30 – Grade multiple choice questions from the day’s exam and tie up loose ends.

Sunday

12-5 – Begin grading exams.

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