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Monday, December 19, 2011

Inventory of Strengths

I am going to inventory my strengths in this post, for two or three reasons. I want to put myself up for a distinguished professorship, so I better have some idea of what my selling points are. I also find it helpful to figure out how to exploit the things that I already know how to do well. (A separate post will outline my weaknesses.) Thirdly, I want to continue writing in these 25 minute "boxes" in order to develop those particular muscles for "speed writing." I might run out of strong points before the time has elapsed. That is always a risk.

First, modesty. (That is a joke.)

More seriously, I see nothing immodest about taking inventory of strengths as well as weaknesses. One strength I have is the ability for honest and realistic self-assessment. That is a very significant talent to have. It is easy to puff oneself up or to tear oneself down in a sort of useless way. Real self-assessment is a little more difficult.

I think I am a good writer of prose. I am fairly erudite in my own field, with a very solid scholarly base, and adept at finding questions of significance to tackle. I am intellectually curious and have developed several areas of research that interlock with one another in interesting ways. I am also very independent of trends. I am more likely to influence the debate than to let myself be influenced by others. My perspectives, as a consequence, are independent. I have some ability to think critically and some theoretical "chops."

I am adept at time management and seeing research projects through to their completion, as well as generating new ideas. I can work with speed and efficiency, with no sacrifice of quality. I have no problem concentrating for a few hours and getting something significant done. I am tenacious and not easily discouraged.

Aside from Spanish, I can read a novel in just about any other Romance language (except Romanian). I have a decent knowledge of literature in the English language.

In my teaching I am good at coming up with new ideas for courses and at presenting very complex ideas. I am good at helping students develop their own research ideas. I am a compelling and engaging public speaker. I wouldn't think of using powerpoint in a public lecture.

I have a particular area of strength in mentoring and evaluation. I am good at helping others improve their writing and fulfill their professional ambitions. Some have said that I am "generous" in this area. I enjoy intellectual dialogue, and am a good listener.

I can write a poem better than some so-called professional poets. I am not a bad translator either.

I know how to combine these strengths to produce scholarly work that is compelling, intellectually demanding, thought-provoking, and imaginative. My time is up for this post, and I may have left something out, but it is a good start.

1 comment:

profacero said...

Aha. I'd actually say the same except that I fail to care for / cultivate all of these strengths. If there is a way to deploy them in service of my local organization, as opposed to my work or the larger community, I will do it. Hm.