Open Access Tenure: Time Management

Thank you, everyone who has signed the White House petition for required open access to federally funded research. We passed the 25K mark, which means that there will be a response from the Administration. That doesn’t mean that more signatures are not needed though.  We’d much prefer to see a huge response so it’s known that many people are interested in this and supportive. Think about how open access might help you and go sign.

I’m two weeks into class. My pair became a trio (all of our homework is done in groups) and I spent a couple of hours online last night with her as we waded through the homework.  Though we really all need to do the homework individually to learn SPSS, it’s nice to be able to discuss “what do YOU think the professor meant by that question” with another person. Also, when you get the same results, you know you either both screwed it up or it’s right and that’s reassuring.

I’ve never taken a fully online course before and it’s a very different learning environment for me. We have readings, lectures in the form of Powerpoints–no audio, and discussion boards. Of course, this is also the first formal class I’ve taken since 2005 when I finished my Master’s Degree.  How has it been seven years already?

Adding a class has meant some interesting time management that I probably would not be otherwise employing during the summer. While the book chapters aren’t long, they are fairly dense and that means I need to stop every now and again to let my brain process rather than just try to plow through it all. I’ve reverted to rewarding myself with Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE for the I-just-want-to-read feelings.

I had to remind myself that this class is part of my annual goals for the upcoming year and that building in a little time to do some of the reading at work was an acceptable use of my time. (I loaded SPSS on my home machine, so that’s all being done there.) I’m taking this class to better support my students, it is continuing education that my AUL thinks is excellent, and my boss (pre-retirement) approved this. She knew I would need some of my time to work on this and encouraged it. A part of my brain can’t quite work with that but I’m trying.

I have a similar problem with my research. Too often, I’m promising myself a couple of hours of an unscheduled afternoon at work and those get eaten up with emails, a student appearing in search of detailed help, or committee meetings–though we’re lighter on those in the summer as people try to squeeze in vacations and conferences. I have to keep reminding myself that my research is a HUGE part of my job and how I will be evaluated and the administration supports using time at work to that end. Not a disproportionate amount, by any means, but maintaining it so you don’t feel like you have to take everything home.

Which I might be guilty of on a relatively frequent basis. Maybe.

My coworker and I were discussing our research days and a wistful desire to squeeze a few more in before we flip over to the new academic year. June is out, not enough people here to cover and I’ll be gone to ALA in less than two weeks, but July might work. Whole days may be out of the question but  I’m hoping to find some afternoons where I could go find a nice quiet outdoor place to curl up with my laptop and do some  data scoring, literature reviewing, and website searching for my current projects.  Completed research (or at least some serious progress) pushes one towards published research which does nice things for tenure track check marks.