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Professor mamas 2011 - Page 7

post #121 of 196
I would totally take bunnies.

We haven't seen any rats in the last few days. One took the bait from the trap but failed to get trapped. The bait will kill them too according to the pest control guy. Our next-door neighbor has trapped four and not seen anymore either. He also said they're not the kind of rats that try to come indoors. He has learned a lot from the interwebz and even measured the tail of one rat to figure out what kind it was. I told him he was brave. His wife said "well, it was dead." biglaugh.gif Anyhow, hopefully they'll be gone soon. I might even try hanging clothes outside tomorrow....

Geo--I'm in awe.

kerc--good luck with the last-minute grant.
post #122 of 196
Thread Starter 

Wait - how is the summer almost over already??

 

I still have soooo much work to do, nevermind prepping for next semester!  Plus even my old preps are now new preps due to textbook changes. *sigh*  i must be insane.

post #123 of 196

Carita - I too want to know where the summer went. 

 

I'm prepping for 4 classes (3 actual texts - 2 sections of one).  One, I'm just brushing up the old prep.  #2, I'm getting most of the prep from my department lead, and the last, I should be getting the prep that the former instructor did.  2.5 weeks to get my stuff together.

post #124 of 196

Wow, Geofizz, your writing tally is an inspiration!!

post #125 of 196

Hoping you moms can help me with a professional issue. Would really appreciate some advice. I'm a tenured faculty member (assoc prof) and I've been asked by a younger colleague to write a letter of support for a younger colleagues 5th year tenure review. Here we do official reviews at 2, 4, and 6 years, and internal / department level reviews (stops at the dean) on the "off" off years. I have some hesitation about this particular colleague-- her publication record is definitely not where it should be at this point (though I know she has stuff in the works), and she has some issues with not being as good of a "team player" as she should-- i.e. dependability / reliability, meeting deadlines, etc. Of course she has some really good qualities and honestly if I had to make an up or down vote right now I would more than likely vote yes.

 

So if you were me would you

1) write the letter and give a fair assessment of positives and negatives

2) write the letter and only talk about the positives and just not address the negatives

3) tell her I don't feel comfortable about writing the letter for the above mentioned reasons

4) tell her I can't write the letter and give her a weasely excuse.

5) something else?

 

Thanks!

post #126 of 196

nola, i would go for options 1 or 3, or a combination of the two-- explain upfront that if you write the letter it will include x, y, z that needs improvement.  you're not doing any favors withholding why you don't feel comfortable writing the letter, as your colleague is not going to improve without feedback.  also, it will reflect poorly upon you, most likely, if you write a supportive letter for someone without strong qualifications or who needs some improvement-- or if it doesn't reflect poorly upon you, it will possibly penalize someone else down the road that you DO feel strongly about.  it's possible that if you write a good letter for a bad less-than-stellar candidate, then if you eventually support someone who is very qualified, the tenure review committee/admin will attach less value to your support.


Edited by hildare - 8/13/11 at 10:26am
post #127 of 196

I'm also a tenured Associate Professor. This is what I would do:

I would tell her that I was doing #1 unless she would like me to do option #3. When you write a letter of any kind, your reputation is on the line also. I would give her an honest assessment up front. This helps her know what she needs to work on for the tenure review.

post #128 of 196

OK, thanks for the opinions. The funny thing is that I was assigned as her mentor for 2 years. I was honest with her and was pretty clear in giving feedback as to how she could improve, and she just really hasn't done much of anything that I suggested. So she can't be surprised if I tell her what my hesitations are in writing the letter.

post #129 of 196
Thread Starter 
I've been working on my retention portfolio. What a pita. Lol. I really feel like I am doing it a disservice though because I put it off. Has anyone ever seen anything special or cool on these from a math person?

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post #130 of 196

Hi, all! I am new to this thread, but thought I'd introduce myself.

 

I've negotiated the spring semester off from teaching (unpaid), which means that I will have about six months with Baby before starting work again next fall. It may be early to ask such a question, but do you have any tips for returning from leave? I will be continuing a paid administrative position during the spring, which I can do from home, so I will remain in close contact with my department via email. Still, I'm a bit nervous about the return-- leaving the baby with childcare, pumping, getting enough sleep to do my job, etc.  

 

Thanks, everyone!


Edited by laura1982 - 6/18/12 at 10:41am
post #131 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura1982 View Post

I've negotiated the spring semester off from teaching (unpaid), which means that I will have about six months with Baby before starting work again next fall. It may be early to ask such a question, but do you have any tips for returning from leave? I will be continuing a paid administrative position during the spring, which I can do from home, so I will remain in close contact with my department via email. Still, I'm a bit nervous about the return-- leaving the baby with childcare, pumping, getting enough sleep to do my job, etc.  

 

Welcome Laura!  And congratulations on the new baby!

 

As far as your question goes, the main advice I can give is to make sure you find child care you feel comfortable with and make sure you have enough hours of care to get your work done.  Some people manage to survive on minimal childcare and work from home with baby, but that situation was the most stressful for me.  I was always trying to get work done at home and never fully there for baby.  If you can find child care close enough to go nurse during the day, that's great, too!   

 

And a minor gripe... I am the only tenure-track person in my department and thus the one with the least power/control/etc..  My department head, dean, and computer IT guy are now all related to each other.  I'm annoyed with how the computer lab is being run yet I feel completely powerless to do anything about it.  I just went and had a talk with one of the full professors here basically asking to make sure that the issue makes it into our faculty "retreat" next week.  I need someone else to fight for this one.  I don't really want to piss off the dept head and dean by explaining that their son is not the right person to run the computer lab.  Ok, gripe completed.  Thanks.
 

 

post #132 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybee View PostAnd a minor gripe... I am the only tenure-track person in my department and thus the one with the least power/control/etc..  My department head, dean, and computer IT guy are now all related to each other.  

 


I'm LOL at myself. I was reading along, not aware it was you, Kaybee, and I was thinking, "Geez this sounds like Kaybee's department." duh.gif Sounds like a good strategy you mapped out.

 

 

 

Strategies for returning from leave. Well I never really had leave, but here's what I needed that didn't have:

1. Set work hours and keep them. If baby's sick or whatever then yes, let them get lax. But if you schedule childcare, use said childcare for work related stuff. I'm in the midst of a project (well trying to back out of a project) with a colleague with a pair of twins who are two? three?. She told me at the beginning of the summer that her kids were in daycare 2-3 days a week all summer. She's been on campus a total of 300 minutes all summer. Not working during those daycare times and then not understanding why she hasn't made time to review my paper. I'm not saying don't ever take time off, I'm saying just make a habit of working when you say you will and NOT working when you plan to NOT work.

 

2. In your time off, figure out what your backup childcare plan will be. Is it a friend? Is it a spouse? Does your dcp stay late if you have a night meeting? (for instance my kids went to Kaybee's house when I had a job interview dinner 2 years ago - daycare was long closed, dh was working).

 

3. Don't forget food for you. Life is really crazy when you're trying to leave the house as a mom. It is hard to remember everything. My husband has a checklist for when he's leaving the house pre-coffee (like to go workout in the summer). I had an index card in the car with everything I was supposed to have: computer, food, baby, diaper bag, etc. But for me food is essential to making my brain work well. (duh, I know). If I forgot my lunch when I had a baby I had no good option for lunch (especially since i was pumping when I was eating lunch and if I forgot my lunch I had to go to a cafe).

 

 

 

 

post #133 of 196

Thanks, ladies! Both of your posts provide some great advice. I have signed up for the #1 DCP in my community.

 

The advice about working at certain hours resonates, as well-- I think I can do all of my prep, teaching, and grading done in the M-F that Baby would be at school. Not only would that time be uninterrupted, I would also have the mid-afternoons and evenings to spend quality time together. I can't imagine working a 9-6 job and only getting an hour with my kid at the end of the day. There are definitely some pluses to academia-- and it's the minimal hours I'm required to be anywhere!

 

Again, thanks for the welcome-- I hope to get to know you all. 


Edited by laura1982 - 6/18/12 at 10:47am
post #134 of 196

Hi Professor mamas!

 

I just finished my phd and am currently doing a postdoc. I am on the job market for next year, though and am having a hard time imagining being on the tenure track. I managed to get through the phd having a lot of time with my kids (now ages 1 and 3). I worry that having a tt job, I will not have the time that I want to be the mother I want. I went on the chronicle.com forums and got very depressed, as the mothers there only seem to mention their children if they are having huge problems with them. I imagine here at mdc, moms are in a closer mindset to mine. So, my question for you is, how do you feel about the balance between work and children in your life? Did you ever consider part-time work or staying home even? Are you happy with the decisions you've made?

Thanks for reading!

post #135 of 196
I don't know. It's funny--I just logged on because there's an opening that's just perfect for my background at the institution where I received my master's degree. I know exactly what the position would entail (namely, that I'd be the only musicologist in the department) and it's the kind of job that I'd like because I'd have the flexibility to develop various classes and whatnot. In fact, we developed a world music class while I was working on my master's degree there and then my advisor and I team taught it. (I'm guessing he must be retiring, hence the position opening.)

The problem? My youngest is only 18 months old and the institution is at least a good hour's drive away. It would mean massive changes in our current arrangement because even if I tried to be on campus only four days each week, those would be long days with the commute. It's not possible to move there because DH is up for tenure at a different university in a different direction and he already has a 30-45 minute commute as it is.

So it seems like the answer is obvious: this is not a good option for me at this time (not to mention the fact that um, I have yet to actually publish anything from my dissertation whistling.gif ) but it's aggravating the fact that I feel like I *should* be applying and more productive than I am, while still wanting to be more involved with my daughters because people tell me that all too soon they'll be grown up.

And yet, that would be such a sweet position--especially if they finally do put in some sort of rail line between Denver and Fort Collins. Ack.
post #136 of 196

Lisa - would all of the courses have to be on campus (forgive me - I don't know much about your area)?  Would it be possible to be on campus only 3 days a week?  Would the compensation and long term benefits be worth the challenges?  Sounds so very tempting to me... but I also struggle with this issue (see next paragraph)...

 

I'm currently looking for a full time faculty position (tenure track or no).  DD2 just turned 2.  I'm really not sure I want to be gone from her full time hours, but I need to be gainfully employed.  Right now, I'm getting my letters of recommendation in order.  Hoping and praying to find a position that starts next fall.  Any suggestions?

post #137 of 196

My only advice would be to remember that your kids will be a year older when jobs start next year.  Things change.  If you are interested in the jobs, definitely apply for them and then deal with the details when you get an offer. 

 

And porcelina - congrats on finishing your phd!  That's a huge deal!  All I can say about balance is that I think I'm doing ok, but I'm stretched pretty thin.  I cut back on work when I need to and lean on my dh a little bit more when I need to and I take up the slack for him when he needs me to (he's a professor, too).  But it's easy for things to fall apart (like when a kid is sick!)  Occasionally I put in a desperate call to my mother-in-law who shows up to rescue me for a few days and loves feeling needed.

 

Am I happy with the decision I made?  Yes!  I like what I do, and I love the flexibility I have to do it.  I have taken time off (briefly) and I have worked PT for a year or so, too.  PT was perfect in the short-term, but it carries other stresses, too.  I wish I could drop to PT, mostly to be home in the afternoons so that our evenings weren't so short.  

 

And now, back to work!

post #138 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybee View Post

My only advice would be to remember that your kids will be a year older when jobs start next year.  Things change.  If you are interested in the jobs, definitely apply for them and then deal with the details when you get an offer. 

That's what DH said this morning (I saw the job opening after he was asleep). It's a 60-mile commute, so that would probably add up to 2-1/2 hours of commuting each day.

Carita--there might be online opportunities. It would depend largely on what their current student body looks like and who they're looking to attract. That could also be interesting because the music appreciation classes had 70 students and no TA when I taught there. They have some affiliates or grad students who can teach those classes, but my advisor usually taught one himself too.

Anyhow. I'm going to apply. If nothing else, DH helpfully pointed out that just having gone through the application process will be a good experience. I'm sure that's true. And I really do think I'd be a great fit there, having been there as a master's student and having enjoyed the culture of a smaller state school.

And still! bigeyes.gif Guess this means I'd better really get moving on editing and submitting the article I'm working on so that at least I can say I have an article under review if I am interviewed.
post #139 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by porcelina View Post

Hi Professor mamas!

 

I just finished my phd and am currently doing a postdoc. I am on the job market for next year, though and am having a hard time imagining being on the tenure track. I managed to get through the phd having a lot of time with my kids (now ages 1 and 3). I worry that having a tt job, I will not have the time that I want to be the mother I want. I went on the chronicle.com forums and got very depressed, as the mothers there only seem to mention their children if they are having huge problems with them. I imagine here at mdc, moms are in a closer mindset to mine. So, my question for you is, how do you feel about the balance between work and children in your life? Did you ever consider part-time work or staying home even? Are you happy with the decisions you've made?

Thanks for reading!


Never read those chronicle forums! It's a recipe for depression. Stay far, far away, especially where work/life balance questions are concerned winky.gif

 

I finished my PhD and began my first job (TT) when my kids were 2.5 and 6mo. They're now 5.5 and 3.5 and I'm in my second year at a new TT job. I'd say that so much depends on the kind of job you end up getting, the amount of help (and money) you have, and a lot of other factors. My first job was at a doctoral institution--a state university in the South, not an academic powerhouse necessarily but a solid research job. I taught 2/2 and was expected to have a book for tenure (I'm in the humanities). I'm now at a slightly lower-tier school, also a public university, where I teach 2/2/2 on the quarter system. The first year was really hard, mostly because I had a young baby and needed to prep all new classes. The teaching kicked my butt the first year, but by now it's infinitely easier, not only because I've taught a lot of the materials or courses before, but also because I'm more confident and relaxed about it all. My kids were with a sitter from 8:30-4 the first 2 years; now they go to kindergarten and preschool from 9-3. I pick them up from school every day (this term, as my classes are done by 2), and drop them off 3 days a week (dh does the other days). I don't get much work done on the weekends (at all), but so far it's working out just fine. I've had a number of publications in the last few years and more on the way, though my book is a long way off (partly a consequence of parenting, partly due to other factors). I've been to a couple of conferences but don't feel the urge to go to too many.

 

If I had a job at Yale or Columbia or something (I had campus visits at both, so it was a possibility), I suspect I'd be working much longer hours and feeling a lot more stress about it all. And (on the other side), I'd be miserable if I hadn't pursued a TT position or was working part time--often that involves MORE work for less $$, and a lot less satisfaction. So I think the kind of position one ends up with, and one's career goals, definitely affect the question of work/life balance.

 

post #140 of 196
Thread Starter 
I am at a non tt school, and I love the balance of time, but I don't get paid particularly well. Research is only when I have time, not demanded, so i don't have to choose work over kids, though I do spend time grading over vacation, etc.

You'll find the right fit for you, just choose your passion. The job you would be the best fit for is probably the one that will want to hire you anyway.


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