Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random bullets of Wednesday

  • My Chair rocks. She had asked me the other day if I wanted a winter squash from her garden. Sure, I said, expecting a big ol' squash. But no; today she brought in a whole whack of pumpkin flesh - already peeled and sliced up for me. She also brought three pumpkin recipes from the Vegetarian Times. What a sweetheart! I made a pumpkin soup tonight - yummmmy.
  • I handed in seven - count 'em, seven! - curriculum proposals today (two new courses, five tweaks of the program requirements, etc.) Not bad for my first few months of this job, I'd say. The admin person I handed them to looked through them, and all their attendant sheaves of "consultation forms" on which other departments had signed their approval. Her eyebrows rose into her hair, and she looked up and said to me, impressed, "You've been very busy." And then informed me that, due to a misunderstanding, I was a day late with the proposals and they wouldn't start their way through the rounds until January. (Hilaire laughs bitterly.)
  • Had a meeting today with a couple of people about the possibility of putting a team-taught graduate course on the books for next year and beyond. Ahem - I must be careful, here...there is so much I could say... Let me just ask you, bloggers - and this is a real question: How much reading did you do in a graduate theory course, typically? A book a week or the equivalent, am I right? That's certainly been my experience, but it seems I will be seriously butting heads with one guy over this. I'd be curious to hear what kinds of reading loads others faced - I really don't think my graduate programs were unusually demanding.

8 comments:

Psychgrad said...

How long of a book are you talking about? I would say maximum would be 4 articles. Normally, 2 or 3, perhaps with a page feedback.

Hilaire said...

I usually would read, like, a book-book each week in a course. Like, up to a 300-page monograph. If not a book, then about 3-4 lengthy articles. In History, grad seminars were *always* on a book-a-week schedule. So were almost all of the grad courses I took, in fact (across disciplines - I was in interdisciplinary grad programs). Goodness, once it was _Being and Time_ in a week! (Which was ridiculous, I'll grant you that.)

Maggie said...

We easily did a book a week, or anywhere from 3-6 articles. Book a week is really, really common from what I hear from my friends in other disciplines.

heu mihi said...

A book a week, absolutely. Unless, occasionally, it was a seriously long book by Derrida or something (his book on painting...what was it called...), and then we'd maybe have two weeks, but in the second week there'd usually be some other kind of supplemental materials.

Maggie said...

Oh, I should add that the only time this was *not* the case was in a philosophy sem I took once, where the whole term we read only two books-- but they were two huge, hugely difficult (infamously difficult) books, and we read them line. By. Freaking. Line. I kid you not.

Psychgrad said...

Sounds like we read less in psych graduate courses. With our class sizes being so large (approx. 20) and each student having to give a 30-45 minute presentation, we would not have time to discuss a book a week. Many classes hardly do justice to a chapter or two.

Dr. Shellie said...

You might enjoy (bemoan? lament?) this article on stress levels in Canadian academics:
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=b7c6e439-3c50-4c3d-a121-7168219ee778&k=90392

Soundbite:
"Far from being places of quiet contemplation, Canada's schools of higher learning have become high-pressure workplaces, with one in five professors reporting health problems as a result of job stress, says a new study."

and, amusingly:

"The study says two decades ago, an academic career was considered a prestigious and relatively stress-free job."

In fact, the article is quite general and not specific to Canada.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, Maggie and Heu Mihi, for confirming that I am not crazy with this expectation. (And Maggie, that sounds so painful but also perhaps rewarding? There is one text i would have liked (?) to do that with. It was a text I gave up on. Did not understand - this kind of disciplined reading would have helped, I guess.)

Psychgrad - Yes, it sounds like the expectations are a little different in psychology - which makes sense, actually, when I think about it.

And Dr. Shellie - Thanks! I shall go read it right away!!