Saturday, September 25, 2010

Save Cummins Falls

Cummins Falls
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
I had the opportunity this morning to see Cummins Falls near Cookeville. Cummins Falls was the largest waterfall in Tennessee under private ownership, but it was sold to a developer who intended to build 80 homes around it. When the economy crashed, the developer's bad luck was the conservation community's good fortune. Now the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation is raising the money to pay for the property in order to turn it into a state park.

It's not a substantial hike, but it's a fun one, with a steep cliff climbed with the aid of a rope, and a hike through the creek to the falls. At least at this time of year, when water is low, you can play around the base of the falls.

Nashville Hiking Meetup has committed to buying an acre. You can read more about the campaign here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes, you can have a life

This quote pretty much sums up the level of work-life "balance" expected of a new professor:

"Many of us have hobbies and things we prefer to do that may not be related to work. Integrating the two can be a great ally to a new faculty member and to a seasoned faculty member as well. Copying a segment [of the faculty handbook] that can be read during a morning walk on the treadmill or over a cup of coffee at a coffee shop can serve to support both pleasure and business at the same time."

See? You can have a hobby. Just as long as its one that is necessary for health or one that doesn't consume much time. And as long as you can multitask so you don't actually lose valuable work time.

Here are some other ways you can be more efficient on the tenure track:
  • Microwaved meals let you revise your dissertation not only while it cooks, but while you eat, too!
  • Into volunteering? Read to the blind! They will surely appreciate the journal articles you record for them as a change of pace from all those Tom Clancy books.
  • If you're into something more active, like knife-throwing or roller derby, be safe. Don't try to read at the same time. Don't worry, this is the perfect opportunity for graduate student meetings. Besides, your students will benefit from seeing you model work-life balance. Win-win!
  • On the other hand, do not try to combine graduate students and dating. Instead, limit your pool of potential partners to faculty members within your department. You'll learn about department politics and get some nookie.
  • Into travel? One word: Conferences.
  • Many new faculty make the mistake of talking too much in faculty meetings. One way to keep your mouth shut is to bring your Blackberry. Your colleagues will think you're texting, but you'll actually be getting ahead by writing op-ed tweets.
  • You need mentors. Remember to always meet over lunch for maximum time savings.
  • Don't spend too much time on class preperation. Limit it to the time that would otherwise be wasted by doubling prep time with shower time.
  • Children? Despite conventional wisdom, they're not a problem. Just use the handy parenting tips in the Baby Be of Use series.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The unexpected benefits of capoeira

Strength? Check. Practice singing out of tune? Check. Buff men staring deep into your eyes? Check. Some of the benefits of capoeira are pretty predictable, but then there are the extras I never anticipated …
  1. French pronunciation is starting to make sense. While I recognize that, objectively, English pronunciation is at least at arbitrary as French, I've never been able to wrap my head around the Gaulish Romance language. But figuring out the subtle difference between Spanish and Portuguese, while confusing at times, somehow points Portuguese in the direction of French. Suddenly, French doesn't seem as bewildering. (Irony: French was the first foreign language I ever studied, not that I recall any of it.)
  2. I can follow choreography now. I've always had a hard time translating movement, not only making my own body do it, but even figuring out what the authority figure up at the front of the room was doing in the first place. I struggled through step aerobics back at the Y and never could handle the "advanced" class. Fast forward to Friday night where, through failure to pay attention on my part, I accidentally ended up as part of a dance rehearsal and was cruelly forced to participate. It's not that I was any good, but suddenly I was able to blunder my way through. (But no, I am still not joining your dance troupe and risking having to perform in front of people.)
  3. An excuse to wear white pants after Labor Day. I suppose this might be more useful to me if I wanted to wear white, like, ever. If I ever find someone to marry me, I won't be wearing a white gown, and there's a reason I don't play tennis. But, you know, now I can be a fashion rebel any time I want, as long as I throw a few meia lua de frentes whenever any good Southern matron scowls at me. (Still looking for an excuse to wear plaids and stripes together, though.)

Friday, September 17, 2010


Assistant/Associate Professor of Higher Education Administration/College Student Personnel, the University of Tennessee.

Maybe I've been falling down on posting open jobs in the field. Thing is, this year the majority of the postings I'm seeing are looking for a specific subfield rather than being open. There's been several for student affairs or community colleges.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jobs so far

It feels like there are a lot of job postings this year that request a specific area of specialization ... like not mine. Today alone the ASHE listserv included ads for faculty studying community colleges, student affairs, and access.

My vague sense was that last year a lot more jobs were open specialty.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Hey look, Vanderbilt is hiring. But they wouldn't be looking for me, even if they wanted to hire their own graduates.