Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Playing with numbers

That thought was going to start a little blog on who does the majority of the research on a campus. At our meeting this morning the Dauphin had played with the number table I had put together on the research productivity for last year. He commented that the data showed that after one became a full Prof that the effort seemed to decline. I am glad he did it, since I had been intending too, since one of the reasons I keep generating the data is that when we started 9 years ago this was something that we noted, not only here but also in one of the national studies that we referenced. Had I time or a student I might have them color code the data for each year, but it means going back and flagging when everyone got promotion and it seems a bit of an effort for now. Still there are academic and societal reasons why one might expect this to happen and I did write on it once, though this was before the advent of blogs.

The other numbers I am playing with are all those slides I have been merrily scanning in with one hand while doing the rest of the work with the other. Well they are all tif files and just as scanned in, and they sit by the gigabyte on the hard drive. So now, to use them, I have to open each file (in Photoshop) crop, rotate, color correct, light balance, sharpen, resave and each one is done. This is not brain-dead work and takes a fair while, and then after having done a fair few I have to move the files into the various bins assigned to the relevant project (and titled by whatever whim grabs me). However this will mean (oh what a silly hope) that one day I will just open the drive and pull out immediately all those pics that will allow me to give a properly illustrated talk. Uh huh! And how many thousand of these have we to do? But at least working on that over lunch I did find four slides that will fit nicely into the Seminar for Friday.

One of our key toys broke a part this morning and so we are not doing a lot until it gets fixed. (Lots of emergency phone calls). Oh and in the meeting this morning Sniffer sort of hinted to Dauphin that perhaps if Dauphin was running for the Tsar's Crown that he might want to engage in some positive PR to cover a certain recent problem. It was one of those moments when you are not sure that you really want to be there, and the response was very non-commital - Heee!


At 9:49 PM, Blogger ~profgrrrrl~ said...

Just something you might find interesting ... my department (which is heaviest on the senior end, then the very junior side) is working on an agend ato not only provide tenure-oriented mentoring for us kiddos but also "what now?" type mentoring for the senior folks, to help them explore what roles they might be playing in the department, support for new lines of research they may wish to undertake, etc.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Heading out said...

I have tried to involve senior (but otherwise relatively unproductive) faculty in several programs and for a variety of reasons. I had one great success in turning someone into a highly motivated and enthusiastic participant from then until he retired. There were a couple or so of the "well since you ask and are offering 3 months summer pay" variety who worked well and helped, but otherwise did not move. The rest are probably best not spoken of since one or two still raise my blood pressure just thinking about what was involved, and who got landed with the mess (on too many occasions) that had to be cleaned up (since most of these were Federal contracts with deliverables).

At 2:19 PM, Blogger ~profgrrrrl~ said...

That's really too bad. I'm sure this is a really naive thing for me to say, but I just can't imagine getting into this profession without a love of learning -- endless, lifelong inquisitiveness. That's what drives me, and I can't imagine it going away. Even when I was in a job that sucked the life out of me, it was there.

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Heading out said...

This is, I suppose the sad part of the job. I took one of my grads to the reception last night and he commented that he had seen that I really love what I do - and for many of us this holds true over an entire career, But one of the things we found as we have followed faculty productivity over the past decade is that a lot of folk, including some that we invested heavily in as "high flyers" found other priorities as they moved up the ranks and often got "turned off" through a variety of reasons. What you do with a tenured faculty member who no longer teaches effectively and has no research is one of the great concerns that administrators, particularly chairs, have to wrestle with all the time. (This last motivated a bit by one of Jimbo's posts).


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