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

November 23, 2009
Last week's blog post sparked some interesting conversation in the comments, both about the books I mentioned and about the question of whether girls civilize boys.
November 16, 2009
A couple of posts in the last week about gender balance have caught my eye. Both came from Susan O'Doherty, whose Career Coach pieces have spurred all kinds of interesting comments on the blog as well as new ideas for me.
November 9, 2009
How did it get to be November already? It was 70F here today, so it doesn't really feel like November, but my calendar's pretty clear that not only is it November, it has been for over a week now. Which means, of course, that Thanksgiving is almost here, and the end of the semester is close on its heels.
November 2, 2009
I learned a few days ago that one of my high school teachers, Otis Benson Davis, died last week. O.B., as we all called him (only behind his back - -to his face he was, of course, Mr. Davis), graduated from Kent School in 1942 and returned to teach there full time in 1949. He retired from active teaching only a few years ago, in 2006.
October 19, 2009
When we dropped Mariah off at college this fall we didn't really think we'd see her before Thanksgiving. The drive, for one thing, is punishing: 550 miles, most of it on I-95, and however much googlemaps says you can make it in 8.5 hours, we've never done it in less than ten. Ten and a half, really. My schedule's unusually busy this semester and a weekend away seemed an impossiblity. And, with Parents' Weekend only six weeks after the beginning of school, we wondered how much there would be to talk about anyway. With e-mail, facebook, and cellphones, wouldn't we feel up to date?
October 12, 2009
Dana Campbell came at the new census data on "opting out" last week from a rather different perspective than mine: the perspective of the opter-out, if you will, rather than the opter-in. And I agree with my fellow Mama, PhD that we need more subtle distinctions and more, not less, discussion of the work-family issues that make career "choice" increasingly a chimera.
October 5, 2009
I've been going to a lot more meetings this year than I've done in years past — it's a mark of my current position chairing our new First Year Seminar program. There are, it seems, endless meetings on the way to establishing a new academic program: I go from committee meeting to faculty meeting to student interview and back again, usually carrying not only the materials I need to consult in the meeting but also the book I'm about to teach — or have just taught.
September 28, 2009
Once a week or so I leave my house in the morning at the usual time, bag packed, computer stowed—but instead of heading straight to my office I go elsewhere. Specifically, I head to a very public, chain bookstore café — one with free wifi — where I order a cup of coffee, plug in my laptop, and work for a few hours before heading in to my office. The place is hardly welcoming. It’s the opposite of “Cheers,” where “everybody knows your name” — in fact, that’s part of its appeal. I am anonymous here, and I relish the anonymity.
September 14, 2009
Updates from my daughter, now in her second week of college, come in the form of facebook status updates and text messages. We’ve talked a couple of times as well, but we’re certainly not having the daily phone conversations that some of my friends and colleagues have reported as the norm between college kids and their parents. This doesn’t really surprise me: we’re text people, in our house, vastly preferring to compose our thoughts in words on paper (pixels on screen?) before we send them out into the world.

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