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 18, 2011
Dean Dad seems to agree with T.S.
April 4, 2011
(I originally wrote this column for LiteraryMama.com in June of 2004. I’m revisiting the topic, seven years later, to note what’s changed and what’s the same for me in conference travel.)
March 28, 2011
I’ve been keeping tabs open in my browser, hoping I can get to them before the newsworthiness fades, but it’s been nearly impossible to keep up. What should I focus on, the report on the “pyramid problem” in higher ed, which explains why even though women are receiving more than half the doctorates in the U.S., we are still nowhere near achieving gender equity in the professoriate?
March 21, 2011
While Sue O’Doherty prepares for the empty nest, I’m happy to have our nest refilled this week as our daughter is home for spring break. She drove home Saturday and has been catching up on both sleep and reading so far.
February 28, 2011
My friend and colleague in Children’s Literature, Phil Nel, spent last week in the panopticon. In a series of posts titled “What Do Professors Do All Day?” Phil chronicled his time: in class, preparing for class, working on articles, shoveling snow, talking to colleagues — all of it. Then he summarized the experience at the end of the week.
February 7, 2011
My daughter Mariah used to have a Spanish teacher who would quell a restive class by commanding them to “press the pause button!” They all knew what he meant, and it (sometimes) worked. I’ve often wanted to try something like that myself — not with noisy teenagers, but with my life. With committee work, administrative duties, teaching, grading, reading, and writing, sometimes I lose track of myself for a while and simply move on automatic pilot. When that happens it’s time to “press the pause button.”
January 31, 2011
I have a big birthday coming up this year. Never mind which one — ok, I’ll be fifty — but somehow this one feels bigger than any previous big birthdays. When I turned thirty, my first child was still small and I was not yet finished with my degree. At forty, I had a second child and tenure. Those other milestones — the children, the degree, the job — all felt bigger than a birthday.
January 24, 2011
The two most e-mailed articles in my cohort last week seem to have been the “Tiger Mother” piece from the Washington Post (and various responses to

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