Tuesday, March 30, 2010


For many years I had a clipping up on my door from the University of Richmond's alumni magazine. It was from an interview with a major donor who had made his fortune in a field well outside academe, and in it he was asked what his major was. I no longer have the clipping, but to the best of my recollection he said something like, "I did everything wrong; I majored in English." He went on to explain that his undergraduate major was not career training in any conventional sense, though he was, of course, prepared to learn in whatever field he chose. But the damage, for me, was done: majoring in English is somehow doing things wrong.

read the whole post here

Thursday, March 25, 2010

in bloom

I came into the office Monday morning wondering if the cherry tree would be in bloom. It wasn't, but a thunderstorm roared through later in the day and by the end of it there were pretty clearly a few blossoms out. Today it's out in full, showing off against its usual backdrop of red brick, black leaded glass panes, and grey skies. We're supposed to get temps down to 30F Saturday morning, but spring is definitely here nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mothering at Mid-Career: Getting Over It

When I saw the piece on "the other 'F' word" in this week's Chronicle, I have to admit it took me a while before I felt like reading it. Really? I thought, are we still talking about families and the academy? Aren't we done yet?

Apparently not...
(read the rest here)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mothering at Mid-Career: Unknitting

There are some undertakings so overwhelming that, if you knew too much about them before diving in, you might never embark on them. Having children, for example, is way too daunting if you think about the time and money spent, the income and sleep lost — you'd never do it if you drew up a detailed budget beforehand. Writing a dissertation — or a book — is a similarly unmanageable project that might cow anyone who really thought hard about how long it would take for how little reward. Sometimes I think the academy, or the human race, reproduces itself only — to borrow Samuel Johnson's quip about second marriages — through the triumph of hope over experience.

read the rest here...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Blog U.: Mothering at Mid-Career: Talking about Teaching - Mama PhD - Inside Higher Ed

It's an odd thing, writing a blog. Folks I know — or colleagues I don't know, for that matter — can stumble across it in ways they're unlikely to come across my academic work, but they don't often let me know they read it.

today I talk about one time when someone did let me know, and why I'm glad about it...

Blog U.: Mothering at Mid-Career: Talking about Teaching - Mama PhD - Inside Higher Ed

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ps: this piece should really have a link to Becca's recent column on social reading...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On Getting (and asking for) Help

When my son was about three we took him out to a restaurant where kids were welcome. He sat in a high chair with a tray, and we put things on it for him to eat. I can't remember exactly what it was that he was so intent on, but I do remember him chasing a piece of food around the tray with his fork, trying — and failing — to spear it. "I got it, I got it, I got it!" he chanted. Then, almost without taking a breath — "I need help!"

I feel like that a lot.

this week's post at the Mama, PhD blog at Inside Higher Ed...