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October 17, 2008 - 6:27pm
Drama Mama is officially leaving the building. This is my last post for Mama PhD. Just so you know it’s not because I am getting “outed” at my university as someone concerned with issues of parenthood and academia (see last week’s post) or because I got my ego crushed a few months ago (see my post on sodium laurel sulfate) or because this doesn’t count as scholarship (although I still might consider Mama PhD the musical).
October 17, 2008 - 3:21pm
I know: I’m the one who chose to write, and to complain about the problems inherent in one’s own choices is tiresome. Hemingway says it more colorfully in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, when he upbraids himself for getting discouraged (and hungry, supposedly) as an apprentice writer in the early days in Paris. “Outside on the rue de l’Odeon I was disgusted with myself for having complained about things. I was doing what I did of my own free will…. You God damn complainer. You dirty phony saint and martyr,” he says.
October 16, 2008 - 10:21pm
Maggie's post on temperament and leadership really gets it right – check it out.
October 15, 2008 - 9:45pm
This isn't a question, per se, but it's too good not to quote. A longtime correspondent writes (edited for relative anonymity): Our chief academic officer (CAO) just submitted his resignation. He will have been here (less than three years) when he steps down. Over the last decade, we have had more 'interims' than 'permanents' in that role, and few have lasted more than a couple of years.
October 15, 2008 - 9:35pm
Today I travel to my lone academic conference of the year (not counting conferences within driving distance). Like many professors who teach at regional state institutions, one conference a year is all my university pays for. When I was starting out, I attended more, and paid for much of the costs out of my own pocket. While some conferences feel like a waste of time and energy, at their best conferences can be exciting ways to meet other interested scholars, learn about ground-breaking new research, get feedback on developing ideas, and network.
October 15, 2008 - 8:16am
Isn’t it funny how after you learn a new word you are suddenly aware of it being used all over the place? I feel like this happened to me with the academic career-family balance thing. Although there was general talk about balancing career and family as I went through my schooling, until recently I lived in a zone where there really was no recognition of the intricacies of balancing kids and academia; you just figured it out (or not).
October 15, 2008 - 12:47am
I wrote a while back about my feeling that the complexity of technology is accelerating so rapidly that we can’t even understand how little we understand about it anymore, so I was interested to read this essay by John C. Orr over at The Kenyon Review, called “Back to the Future: The Continuing Appeal of The Education of Henry Adams.” (The book for which this blog is named.)
October 14, 2008 - 10:25pm
This story didn't surprise me. Having been on this side of the desk for a while now, I can attest that I've heard deans, HR directors, department chairs, and even vice presidents say candidly that adjuncts are underpaid. We pretty much all agree on that. (I've never heard a counterargument beyond "nobody put a gun to their heads.") It may be surprising to hear it from a podium, but it's nothing that hasn't been floating around for some time.
October 14, 2008 - 7:39pm
I don't want to say that I have as much contact with students as a typical faculty member, but I suspect that I work with more students over the course of a semester than some faculty members do. And I don't just mean the emeriti who teach one seminar section each summer -- I probably work, in one capacity or another, to educate and enable and coach and facilitate the efforts of something like forty or fifty students each semester.
October 13, 2008 - 11:31pm
I have the relative misfortune of following in the footsteps of some pretty good managers. Right now a brain-dead predecessor would come in handy.

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