Libby Gruner

Libby Gruner is an English professor at mid-career who started her family in graduate school. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two children, whose 7-year age gap means that she will be the parent of a teenager for quite a while yet.

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Most Recent Articles

March 23, 2009
I’m not sure I’ve ever had a week like this as an academic. My week started with a meeting, and it will continue with meetings and teaching and conferences and travel — and, maybe, a trip to the Grand Ole Opry? No, I know I’ve never had a week like this.
March 17, 2009
  The students are back on campus, and it’s as if the volume has been turned up again. All week it was quiet. The library computer terminals were turned off, our offices hushed; there were no lines in campus eateries. I’ve heard folks joke that a college campus is a great place to work when there aren’t students around, and I understand why: we get a chance to enjoy the loveliness, to have the terrific facilities almost to ourselves. But there’s no buzz when the students are gone; it’s really too quiet, as if the purpose has gone out of things.
March 2, 2009
  I read a piece in the Chronicle recently about learning to use unstructured time productively. Or, that’s what I thought it was about. As I read further, however, it seemed more to be about convincing people (and yourself) that you’re working when it doesn’t look like you are. That’s, of course, a very different animal, and one that academic mothers in particular may have trouble with.
February 23, 2009
  Just under a year ago, I wrote my first piece for Inside Higher Ed. It wasn’t for this blog, which was still in the planning stages; rather, it was a piece on teaching and tae kwon do. It was a “coming out” of sorts — it was the first time I’d written anything public about my tae kwon do practice, which still felt rather new to me.
February 16, 2009
February was somehow a month of deadlines for me. There was a short commissioned piece to write, a column, an abstract, and… I’m forgetting what else, but it seemed like there was more. So far I’ve met the deadlines (though I often get to this blog at the last minute), but with every one met, another one seems to come up.
February 9, 2009
I’m wondering if I should make Jill Biden my role model. It’s too late, of course, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen of her so far. Raising three kids, teaching, going back to school for the doctorate later in life — she was impressive as a senator’s wife and, to me, even more so as the “Second Lady.” News reports snark at her for going by “Dr. Biden” when she’s not an M.D., but where I live that’s the norm: I never went by Dr.
February 2, 2009
There’s a block of time on my calendar this morning marked “work at home or behind closed doors: grade” and another one commanding me, an hour later, to shift over to my research project for another couple of hours. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
January 26, 2009
This week I’m planning my summer class, ordering books and sketching out the syllabus. I’ve also just put in a request for my fall schedule (courses already set, of course — this is now about times and rooms). I’m organizing a lecture for next fall, and I feel as if I’m already a little behind on that one. I’ve bought tickets for a trip to England this summer, and I’m looking ahead to the week in September when we’ll take my daughter to college and wondering how that will fit in with my teaching schedule.

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