The slow professor

At last, someone agrees with me and does not needle, preach or scream about “time management.” I who graduated a year or two early from high school, I who finished college in four years and graduate school within “normative time,” I who took more than one unattractive tenure-track job over well-paid contingent positions in desirable places because “you have to be on the tenure track,” I who did not change professions when I wanted to because people said I had done a Ph.D. in a certain field and now owed a debt to that field, and must “make a contribution to it with my work” … I am the last person who needs to be told, as I have been since graduate school, increasingly, to work faster, and faster, and faster.

I also do not need to learn to say “no.” People who think saying no suffices, are people who have never actually been overworked, someone said recently, and they were right. If you are overworked and say no, the answer is: “All right, we will just dock your pay, then.” That happened to me this semester. So all the people with academic advice can just go suck eggs.

Meanwhile there is a new book, that I am sure I endorse. Look:

In their new book, The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy – fittingly, with a snail on the cover – Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber apply the principles of the “slow” movement to academia. Proudly proclaiming themselves “slow professors,” the authors offer insights on how to manage teaching, research and collegiality in an era when more professors feel “beleaguered, managed, frantic, stressed and demoralized” as they juggle the increasingly complex expectations of students, the administration, colleagues – and themselves. “Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary academic life,” they write. Today’s professors, they argue, need to slow down, devote more time to “doing nothing,” and enjoy more pleasure in their research and teaching. It’s time, they say, “to take back the intellectual life of the university.”


3 thoughts on “The slow professor

  1. I think academic careers are almost impossible these days. The attacks on professors are deliberate! It should not be so so hard!

    I am in awe of the way my older Ph.D daughter handles a career, bringing up two girls as a single mother and managing to have a lot of joy in life. She is not an academic, however, but a product manager for an internet firm. When she encountered the inevitable obstacles to her path forward she could escape, find a better deal.. Her skills are greatly appreciated where she is now. It’s a lot harder to walk away from a tenured position.

    This is a loss, though, to academia, because she was doing brilliant, even essential work on German and French feminist writers that will never go anywhere. Her thesis was fascinating, but how many will ever read it?

    1. That is stellar, DEH! Thank you!
      Hattie, your daughter is doing the right thing.
      She can still publish her thesis, and should.

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