How should you respond when a student says something you said or did was domineering, insensitive, racist or sexist? What if you think that criticism is unfair or inappropriate? What if you think the critic has a good point and you feel bad about it?
I’ll get right to the point, because I know you don’t have much time. A new semester is looming, and you are overwhelmed. It could be because you’re early in your teaching career and still feeling your way. Or it could be related to the impossible amount of work you are facing, as teaching loads grow ever heavier. But some of it arises from a common problem that you can help to alleviate yourself: You are overpreparing for class.
Asking a professor whether you should pursue a Ph.D. is a little like asking The Rock — aka Dwayne Douglas Johnson, the world’s highest-paid actor last year — whether you should become an actor.
Once you enter a doctoral program, the main problem isn’t necessarily that you can’t finish. I know very few people who left graduate school because they weren’t smart enough to finish — it happens, but it’s rare. More often people leave because they just decide getting a Ph.D. isn’t for them. The truth is: It’s very difficult to understand what academic life is like until you actually try it, and lots of people try it and decide it’s not a good fit.
This, then, is why you should be wary of any advice you receive from professors about graduate school: It’s coming entirely from people who decided that academe was a good fit for them.
Summer vacations and travel can sometimes provide time to reflect on the arc of our adult life. These reflections can be a negative or a positive experience.
The popular media is full of examples of bad leaders in government, academia, and business. But the most common kind of incompetent leader isn’t the ranting, narcissistic sociopath that might immediately come to mind. Rather, it’s the “absentee leader” — those in leadership roles who are psychologically absent from them. These people were promoted into management, and enjoy the privileges and rewards of a leadership role, but avoid meaningful involvement with their teams. Absentee leaders kill engagement and productivity. Research shows that being ignored by one’s boss is more alienating than being treated poorly, and that the impact of absentee leadership on job satisfaction outlasts the impact of both constructive and more overtly destructive forms of leadership. The chances are good, however, that your organization is unaware of its absentee leaders, because they specialize in flying under the radar by not doing anything that attracts attention. Nonetheless, the adhesiveness of their negative impact may be slowly and silently killing your organization.