Monday, May 04, 2015

Day of reckoning

Now that the semester is over and grades are turned in (hurrah!), I can look back and reckon up the impact of my research course release. No one has asked for a reckoning, which indicates a gap in our culture of accountability--but just in case anyone is interested in how much a dedicated professor can accomplish with a one-course release and a measly $1000, here's the data:
  • Revised a journal article and saw it through the publication process.
  • Completed research and (most of the) writing for an anthology essay.
  • Presented a conference paper.
  • Attended a regional workshop on writing successful NEH grant applications and then led a workshop sharing that information with faculty members here.
  • Researched, wrote, and presented a talk on e.e. cummings for our campus colloquium series.
  • Served on an ad-hoc task force evaluating our course evaluation system.
  • Took an art history class that provided important context for my next big research and writing project as well as the capstone class I'm teaching in the fall.

Is that enough? Just looking at the list wears me out. I probably would have done a few of these things even without the course release, but I wouldn't have even considered the grant workshop, the art history class, or the colloquium talk--and without the funds attached to my course release, I would have had to skip the conference.

But the articles? I certainly would have worked on them without the research course release, but probably more slowly. The gift of dedicated research and writing time during the semester means that I can look forward to starting a whole new project over the summer, a multi-stage project that should take me through the next two or three years.

It all starts with a conference paper next month. Better get back to work!  

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