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Friday, June 28, 2013

Why I'm out of Advice Business, Thomas

1. Fundamentally, I have already laid out my system. I have nothing more to say. You can consult the archives.

2. The advice might work for a few people, but it is really predicated on my own highly privileged professional situation. It is advice to myself. If you've benefited too, that's great, send me a check. I think my system of working works for people like me and I stand behind it, but I don't wish to argue any more for my particular positions about the management of academic work.

3. My own priorities have shifted a bit. What I really want to do now is continue with my research projects but also win a teaching award or two. Since I am not a great pedagogue this will be an enormous challenge. I might not win an award at all, so the real goal is simply to be a much better professor. I am also interested in faculty governance, having backed quasi-accidentally into being president-elect of university senate. I feel I always need to put myself into positions in which my weaknesses are exposed and I can experience growth.

4. I think I am a good mentor in private, and can keep that aspect of the advice business going. I am now more interested in collaborative work, where two people help each other by reading work. I could also give professional development workshops to faculty, but I think I also need to listen to what faculty at a variety of institutions are saying, rather than simply laying down my own ideas.


Thomas said...

That clarifies things a bit, and I'm glad that your decision was based on some general judgment about this business itself (I'm pretty open about my doubts in that regard, but for now this is what I do).

Leslie B. said...

I have now figured out the Schuman difference. Your problem is not "advising down" but advising to another planet.

Your assumptions: the person has a situation in which they have the materials they need to do the job, but they do not have a lot of experience writing for the longer term.

Schuman, never got such a job and so knows a very different part of academia. Meanwhile was a professional writer before even starting graduate school, so does not have problems with deadlines, having writerly identity, etc. So it just isn't the same world.

I am not sure why professors at R1s are so upset to find out that professors at non R1s are not able to operate in exactly the same way as they are, but they do seem to get upset about it, a lot. I have had this dialogue a lot:

Person: Why don't you X?

Me: I would love to, but it is not possible and I am not kidding: here is why.

Person: I see, it really is impossible.
Why are you even at this institution?

Me: Against my own better judgement, to be sure. But as I recall, you were among those who said that if I did not come here, I was not "serious" ... so I am here and dealing with being here. I am surprised you were so adamant I come here, since you now so disapprove of it ... and it is not as though I did not explain to you the constraints under which I would be working ...

Schuman has yet a third situation, and all of these are real situations. My real question, still, is why all the main advice available is about writing and making tenure at R1s, which is the only thing we learned in graduate school and is precisely what we should NOT need advice about. But I have ranted and raved about that advice gap before.