Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Another Introduction

Thoughtful, hmmm? I'll give it a whirl. I'm a second generation university professor with fifteen years of service under my belt. As a daughter to one academic, sister to another, this seems to be the only world I really know (though I did a few years of dotcom consultation, I find the corporate world alien to the core.) I network a lot across disciplines, but in a very superficial manner. I tend to be a bit cynical about academia because of my long history. Said cynicism stands me in good stead when new management trends are inflicted on the institution or calls come for "relevant research."

I teach at a mid-level university with definite ambitions (I'm speaking here of the university's, though I have my own). From the sleepy school which hired me, this feels like quite a change and part of my interest in this discussion is examining the shifts both in myself, the individual, and the institution in which I teach. I also feel quite the disconnect between my very esoteric specialization and the constant call for applicable "real world" results.

One advantage at a teaching focused smaller university was that getting tenure was easy. I am thankful, as I had two toddlers in hand at the time. Honestly, parenting consumed a lot of my life since the childrens' birth (and youngest's special needs diagnoses). It's only been over the past two years as if I felt I could do more than a conference paper or two in the academic year. I'm rediscovering my academic writing as well as my research skills. Much of my self-identity has been tied up in my teaching and service (the latter largely unnoticed and unrewarded) because my writing has languished. I'm seeking to focus some of that energy and identity on my research.