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

April 16, 2012
Academics are some of the best complainers I know. In my field of English, I explain our penchant for complaining by saying that we are, after all, critics — and we can always find something to criticize. But it may be an occupational hazard for all academics — we spend an awful lot of our time, after all, grading, reviewing, and measuring, and things are bound to fall short more often than not. So we complain.
April 9, 2012
Last week I wrote about my day, as part of the larger #dayofhighered project of documenting what we academics do. When I left off, I still had about four hours of work to do, and I figured I’d be able to do it in the evening, after dinner.
April 2, 2012
To be honest, I forgot about it. Forgot that Lee Bessette, Aeron Haynie, and others had reminded me that today was to be the #dayofhighered, the day we recorded our activities to counter the canards promulgated most recently by David C. Levy, but prevalent “out there in the world,” that professors work short hours for high wages.
March 26, 2012
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to think about my relationship to technology in a very focused way: what is it for? Which applications enable my work, and which get in the way? Why do I check e-mail so often, anyway?
March 19, 2012
I walked into class last Wednesday and my students looked spent. They’d only been back from break two days, but it might as well have been two weeks. They were working on a paper for me, and it showed. They were exhausted, and in their exhaustion, losing focus.
March 12, 2012
I enjoyed Afshan Jafar’s piece a couple of weeks back about parallels between parenting and professing in the early years, and I imagine I’m not the only mid-career academic/parent of a teenager who was tempted to write the next chapter.
March 5, 2012
Today is the first day of my spring break. The day began at 5:45 am with a call from the local school system to tell us that there would be a 2-hour delay in school opening due to “predicted inclement weather.” I put the phone down, told my husband what was up, and tried to overcome the adrenaline that an early-morning phone call always elicits and get back to sleep—then realized that the call had come from my son’s former school system, not the one he’s in now. I was pretty fully awake by then, so I got up to check on his school—and saw the snow falling in large, lazy flakes, blanketing the cars but not, as far as I could see, the roads.
February 27, 2012
Since I took last week off from blogging I’ve got several topics rattling around my head that are a bit unformed, and certainly disconnected from each other. Here they are, my short takes from the past few weeks. Stay tuned; I may develop these further in upcoming posts.
February 13, 2012
Dean Dad’s Monday blog post, titled “Raising Arizona,” deals with two bills currently being debated in the Arizona legislature that could have chilling effects on higher education. The state is already dealing with at least one issue regarding K-12 education that those of us in higher ed would also do well to pay attention to.
February 6, 2012
A reader emailed recently to alert me to the publication of a new study of working mothers, in the journal Gender and Society. (An aside: I hate the term “working mothers,” as I think it devalues the actual work of mothering. I’ll try to find other ways to say it as I write about the study, but to date I haven’t found a good substitute.) The findings didn’t really surprise me, but they were confirmatory: most working mothers, single or married, find value, fulfillment, and meaning in paid work outside the home.


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