May 23, 2013, 11:00 am
A few weeks ago, I discussed how I discovered toward the end of graduate school that mentoring is a fantasy. In short, what I mean by this is that in any advising situation both parties often have expectations of how the relationship will work and that these expectations do not always align with each other or with reality. I came to this realization after one of my dissertation readers suggested I add a bit of Heidegger to my project. (If that sounds like the set-up to an academic punchline, well, it’s Friday, right?) Eventually, I declined, and my reader didn’t bring it up again.
As I’ve reflected on this event again recently, I’ve come to a new realization, summed up neatly in this post’s title: the point of grad school is to learn to say “no.” Let me explain.
When I was finishing my undergraduate work, I found myself looking forward to grad school as an opportunity to stop…
May 23, 2013, 8:00 am
Whether your summer plans involve writing, teaching, travel, or relaxing, we’ve got something in the ProfHacker archives to help.
Plan Your Time: Anastasia points out that we often fall prey to an illusion of an “Endless” Summer and suggests that “more unscheduled time or perceived freedom can be dangerous, with the temptation of grandiose planning and over-commitment.” Last summer she experimented with an alternative calendar app to help plan her summer.
In Summerproofing Your to-Do List, Jason usefully warns that
It can be very easy to reach August with May’s goals largely untouched. This is perhaps especially true when you’re not teaching
Jason lists several task manager tools and approaches in his post, pointing out that it’s worth spending time now to set up whatever system you’ll use to track your summer goals and actions. In Get the Most From Summer With Well-Made Deadlines,…
May 21, 2013, 11:00 am
[This is a guest post by Austin Kocher, a Ph.D. student in geography at the Ohio State University. You can find his minimalist blog at austinkocher.com or see some of his work online here.--@JBJ]
Qualitative data. The phrase conjures up stacks of spiral-bound field notebooks, a dented-and-scratched voice recorder, and most of all, perpetual disorganization. While chemists have lab notebooks and accountants have spreadsheets, qualitative researchers are often left to invent a data management system entirely from scratch. Not one to turn down a challenge, in the summer of 2011 I tried find a workable and productive solution to managing a busy year of interview-driven research. Here’s what I did.
Interview data – like any James Cameron movie –is 90% pre- and post-production and only 10% on-site action. I needed a centralized and secure system for managing contact…
May 16, 2013, 8:00 am
Last year, I reported on the website Quartzy, which can be used for inventory management. The site is nominally marketed towards use in the life sciences, but we have found it to be very useful in our physics department. Since last September, there have been a number of updates to the website, which might be useful to ProfHacker readers.
First, a major wish-list item of mine has been added to the site: you can now directly link protocols to inventory items. The key here is to think of protocols more broadly than just experiment protocols. In our department, we are using protocols to post introductory lab directions, and now we can associate a given protocol with the inventory records of the equipment used in the lab. This is a key functionality as we have students assist us with set up of labs; the students will be able to easily access information on types and quantities of equipment…
May 14, 2013, 8:00 am
I’ve just wrapped up my first year as a junior faculty member at a new institution. Overall it’s been a wonderful transition, but I have run up against that familiar problem for academics: the encroachment of other duties into research time. Teaching well is essential, of course—as indicated by the many posts here at ProfHacker about the classroom—and every faculty post requires significant service. The time demands of both can creep into any crevice in a faculty member’s schedule, however, pushing research further and further into the ever-receding future. For me, at least, a haphazard approach to research time just didn’t cut it.
A mentor of mine suggested a simple hack to prevent such creep: add dedicated blocks of “research time” on your calendar and treat that time as you would any other appointment or class. If treated seriously, this method preserves valuable blocks of time…
May 8, 2013, 11:00 am
As this academic year winds down, it’s time to start thinking about next year (after you finish up your semester, of course!). Looking back over the previous year is likely to remind one of things that didn’t go as well as they should have, and to spark ideas for how to do things differently in the future. However, as Jason has written, it’s important not to overcorrect. In some situations, it might be best to stick to one thing to change with regard to your research, teaching, service, or personal activities. That way, you can better track what effect that change has.
Next year, if you could change just one thing under your control, what would it be? Please share in this week’s open thread!
[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by Fabio Penna]
April 25, 2013, 8:00 am
In the fall, I reviewed the Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad. A few weeks ago, Belkin contacted ProfHacker and asked if we would consider reviewing their Ultimate Keyboard Case. I’ve been putting this keyboard through the paces for three weeks now (disclosure: Belkin provided me with a pre-production model for review). Available in May, this bluetooth keyboard case will retail at $99 ($129 for the white version).
Out of the box, set up was very easy. The iPad snapped into the protective case, and the bluetooth pairing was intuitive (though instructions are provided). One of the features I find most attractive about the Belkin keyboard case is the fact that it protects the back of the iPad. The Logitech case, if you will recall, left the iPad aluminum backing naked and vulnerable to dings, scratches, and other catastrophes. Not so with the Belkin. The iPad fits nicely…
April 22, 2013, 8:00 am
Do you ever promise yourself that you’ll do something, only to let it slide?
Many of us have good intentions that we don’t act upon.
One way to clarify your commitments and to take action towards your important goals is to involve other people.
Find an Accountability Partner or Community
A good accountability partner should be able to ask you clarifying questions, offer you encouragement and support, and hold you to your commitments. Depending on your personality type and the kinds of goals you want to work towards, you may want a partner who is primarily supportive or one who will be more firm with you if you start to back away from your commitments.
Several online communities exist to help motivate and track personal goals. 43 Things has been active for several years and allows you to see the goals that others have set and comment on them to provide support and advice….