Tuesday, July 19, 2005

timing -- and questions for discussion?

I've been thinking about time lately -- both in the practical sense, as I'm trying to maximize what's left of my summer, but also about the larger rhythms of academic life, and how those might relate to our discussion (or lack of discussion) here. There are points in an academic career that foster certain kinds of reflection, and certain kinds of questions: going on the job market, getting a job, going up for tenure review, changing career paths, etc. Milestones that we all recognize as significant and potentially life-changing. But there are also certain times in the semester that are better or worse for reflection. At the beginning of a semester, I'm full of good energy, am able to align my core values with my to-do list, and generally feel hopeful about the fresh start afforded me every 4 months. Towards semester's end, I'm glad about the upcoming change of students and courses, but it's not a time when I can clearly or deeply think about who I am beyond the deluge of obligations.

I had thought that the beginning of summer would be a good time for discussing some of these big-picture questions, since in April when they were pressing upon me I didn't feel up to the challenge of trying to organize anything. And then two major changes occured in my plans for June: I got a summer course to teach, and we moved house. And so I kind of flaked out on this discussion blog, although I've found it incredibly useful to learn of other people's experiences and ideas. But it seems to me that there's lots of people I still haven't heard from, and that maybe summer wasn't a good choice for many of us.

So... What are the topics you wish that Hall had touched on -- and that we could talk about? what are the questions or problems that brought you to this group in the first place? Should we continue or not?