Thursday, November 10, 2011

Professor Decathlons

A FB friend of mine posted an update where he said that he finished an academic triathlon, which involved a 10k run, teaching a class, and then jamming.  I had to disagree as the traditional academic triathlon involved one activity in each of three categories of prof-ing: teaching, research, service.  So, the AT would be: teaching a class, then proofing an article, and then writing a recommendation.

For the academic pentathlon, we add grading and an endless meeting.

For the academic decathlon, we have the following ten activities:
  1. Teaching a class;
  2. Proofing an article;
  3. Writing a recommendation;
  4. Grading some papers;
  5. Attending an apparently endless meeting (it has to end, otherwise the rest of the competition is moot);
  6. Reviewing an article for a journal;
  7. Holding office hours;
  8. Responding to a media request (which could mean saying no);
  9. Revising a grant proposal;
  10. Attending a university event (such as a model UN, a presentation, a ceremony, etc.)
Or are there other academic sports that would better test the complete academic athlete?  I did omit, um, reading.  Ooops.  The idea here is that any prof can and usually does do a number of these things in a given week.  Most of us do not run or play the guitar, as much as we would like to do so (well, guitar anyway).

Not a bad way to try to explain our unexplainable job to friends and family who just don't get what we do. 

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