Thursday, May 19, 2011

For tenure, remember not to....

Having some tenure issues here at my U.  There are some basic rules for tenure here, at least for the social sciences and humanities.
  • Publish your book with a university press.  This goes even if other faculty in your department have published with non-university presses. 
  • Do not publish an edited volume.  Period.  Wait until after tenure, no matter how absolutely wonderful and vitally important you think this edited volume would be.  Here (and the research U at which I was tenured) you will not get credit for an edited volume toward tenure.  No.  You.  Won't.  If your own monograph (or requisite number of peer-reviewed articles) comes out and you still have a year or two before tenure, go up early!  Then do the edited volume.  Though keep in mind it might only count as service, not research(!)
  • Same goes for textbooks.  Someone may ask you to do a textbook with them.  You might be flattered and excited about the possibilities.  Walk away.  Come back after tenure, if you still care.
  • Think twice about co-authoring a book with your beloved advisor.  S/he shouldn't even be asking you to do that.  They know they couldn't have gotten tenure based upon a book co-authored with their old advisor, even with a good number of articles thrown in.  Write you own book or X number of articles for tenure, then co-author.
  • If you are in a field in which many scholars write books and many write articles, and you are told that in your department at XSU expects articles, believe them.  I was told by my friend (an article-writer) that her department counts a book at a university press the same as an article at a not very good journal.  Yes, indeed.  Get out of there if you can, or else learn how to write articles (or rejoice as an article-writer, I suppose).

Finally, it doesn't hurt to make friends or "network" outside of your own department.  This is not only good for intellectual and emotional enrichment, but it is nice to have a reputation (a good one) once your file goes before the college and university-level committees.

Folks, I don't make these rules.  I've just been observing people ignore them too often at their peril.  I have more than one person in mind for each of these "don't"s. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The dreaded first week in May--over!

I'm finally done! Grades submitted an hour ago. Yeah!  No panicked inquiries from students yet, asking how they got the grade they did.  I like waiting until the last day to turn grades in.  I do so not only because I take my time grading, but also because students have calmed down by then and only the less reactionary and more conscientious students pose follow-up questions about grades (which is pretty rare anyway, knock on wood).

In addition to last week's finals, graduation, grading, son's special outdoor obstacle course all-day field trip, son's concussion (fully recovered!), son's birthday, Mother's Day, we also had to remember that it was daughter's "snack week" (had to bring in a different snack for entire class each day).  This afternoon was son's "ice cream social" at the middle school he will attend next year.  And tomorrow is "field day" for both kids--all sorts of things to remember for tomorrow (water bottle, running shoes, sunscreen, ...).  Oh, and tomorrow we need to bring a birthday treat for son to share with his class, since we forgot to do that Friday.  This coming Friday is the elementary school's "Spring Festival"--and I volunteered for something (can't remember what).  Enough!

Plus, our after school babysitter is a college student, and she is gone for the summer.  So now I only work until 2:15 before heading down to pick up the daughter. Husband does it once a week.  He hasn't chimed in about how else he will contribute to pick up the extra work now that babysitter is gone. I guess I can't depend upon him to volunteer these days.  He used to be very good that way.  It is hard being the parent with the supposedly "flexible schedule"--especially hard when you're the woman with the flexible schedule.

I hate early May more every year. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

There's more to this bad day?

With all the ceremonies and events today, my cell phone was off most of the day. I didn't even have it with me during graduation ceremony--since I couldn't answer it up on stage, what would be the point of carrying it? My S.O. can cover for me if there is any emergency with the kids.

Turns out, there was an emergency!  Son got himself a (mild) concussion!

It wasn't from sports, as I had always feared.  Not even from horsing around. 

The 5th graders had read a book about a blind person.  Then they all put on blindfolds and walked around the playground to gain some insight into what it is like to be blind. 

Apparently my son wouldn't last a day without sight.  He walked into the corner of a brick wall hard enough to cause a concussion.

He'll be OK.  Turns out there's not much you can do.  But I still feel guilty--doesn't it figure that the one day I turn my cell phone off for longer than a 75-minute class, one of the kids has an emergency!

He took my keys, and then my head exploded

Today is one of my busiest days of the year.  In addition to all the grading, there are several ceremonies/graduation events to attend.  So busy that I have to drive to work to save time.

Today my S.O. took my keys to work, along with his own.  I have always hated it when he uses my keys to make a short trip in the car.  I also hate it that he will sometimes make two separate trips to the same school in the morning just because my son likes to arrive earlier than my daughter.  This is just too indulgent and wasteful of time and gas.  The fact that he has my keys because he drove my son to school and then came back and used his own keys to drive daughter to school--that makes my head explode (almost).

Then he doesn't answer his cell as I frantically call while searching for keys to get to the ceremony in which I will be honored along with my student mentee.  Why doesn't he answer? Because he is busy listening to an audiobook on his iPod on the bus.  I also hate it that he relaxes on the bus to/from home, while I use the bus as an absolutely essential time to getting my never-ending pile of work done.  I hate it that he works 9-5:30 and does all his work AT work.  I work 6:15-7:30; 8:45-4:45; 6:45-7:30; 10-11.

Because he doesn't answer, I keep searching for my keys and miss the bus that would have gotten me to the ceremony almost on time.

See how several smaller resentments co-mingle into something bigger?  I'll get over it.  Venting helps--thanks! 

Also, this is such a major screw-up, I think he will make some concessions as my summer starts.  As it is, I work 6:15-7:25am at home, then 7:25-7:55 get the daughter ready and out the door.  By 8am, my work mode has shut down a bit, and I'm more prone to putzing around.  My own work will be MUCH more efficient if I get a solid 2-3 hours as early as possible. So for the rest of the kids' school year, I hope to get daughter ready 7:00-7:15am. And at 7:15 I'm out the door for 2 hours work in a cafe. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Names of foreigners

Academic blog posts abound this week about students who think the world revolves around them, and professors who would like to disabuse them of that idea.  So I'll add one of mine.

A student from Japan just asked me if she could have permission to use the vocabulary list from the study guide while taking the final (this is a no-notes exam).  She writes, "It's hard to remember... the name of foreigners."

OK, this is a class with a global focus.  The "names of foreigners" are thus foreigners for everyone in the class!  Not just foreign for a Japanese student.  And for the most part, they are names of prominent international figures--names anyone coming out of this class should know, regardless of the student's country of origin or first language. 

Geeeeeez.  She is already getting extra time on the final and has permission to use an electronic dictionary.  I think that is enough specialness for one person.  There are limits.