Thursday, March 31, 2011

Failure is the Path of Least Persistance

I just graded my class's second mid term, and I might have to get dentures because I've been grinding my teeth over it. I teach a core class that involves chemistry, physics, algebra, and easy calculus. We use a lot of tables to pick off data. I was extremely disappointed that 1/3 of my students were too lazy to interpolate data from a table, to use ideal gas law, or bother to get the right units. These are America's next generation and I would be horrified to have them working alongside my friend or working heavy machinery. Are we so lazy that we can't solve problems anymore?

Friday, March 25, 2011

March Madness

I just spent four hours doing email!

In the last 15 days, I've been home for only 2. I jet off to another conference on Sunday.

The first conference I went to was an international, invitation-only conference where I gave a short talk. It was probably the best talk of my life, and it was so well-received! I'd never felt so excited about my group as I had at that time.

Following a less-than-24 hr stay at home, I spent a week with my sister as she recovered from her mastectomy and received news about her treatment. I loved spending time with her, and was very sad to leave. I plan to go again as soon as classes are over.

Then, I drove to another conference in a town nearby. It was my first time to attend this conference after receiving my CAREER award, and this time it was very different. People I knew only in passing were congratulating me or shaking my hand. I had *arrived*!

And finally, I came home to my two-year old, my husband, and my in-laws who had spent the last two weeks taking care of Sparky. Without this kind of help, I couldn't do the travel that I just did. By the end of this extravaganza, My joints were tired and achy, but it's OK because I know it'll be better another day. Ugh, is it summer yet?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Send Love

Please send love and prayers to my sister, Dr. Mom, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Faculty Participation

Yesterday I taught, attended a faculty candidate seminar, participated in graduate recruiting (met with students, went to the lunch and dinner, attended the recruiting poster session), and said goodbye to my great postdoc. So... the point is that I did a lot, but it was mostly departmental "service" type stuff. In contrast, we've got some faculty members in my department that do NOTHING - and they make twice my salary.

I met with a graduate recruit who was sharp, mature, and quality. After my meeting, I escorted him to meet with one of these faculty members who does nothing. That faculty member wasn't there. He stood up the recruit. In fact, I can't think of a single time that this faculty member has showed up for anything. He has a reputation for standing up seminar speakers, so why in the world did we allow him to meet with recruits?

And he isn't the only one. We've got other members who don't participate in events, like recruiting. Graduate students won't sign up to work in your group if they've never met you, hello! These older non-participating faculty then complain that no one wants to work for them.

Back to the jilted recruit, I scrambled to find a warm faculty body who would talk to the recruit for a half hour. Having the problem solved, I just went back to my office and seethed.