Downhearted Blues

I gets up in the morning with the blues
3 different ways
I have two mind to leave here
I didn’t have but one say staySon House “Louise McGhee”

I am just gathering thoughts here.

My final department meeting was last week. I still have a job, for now. I will become part of a large department at a four-year comprehensive UW school, and we have yet to begin the task of figuring out how that will work, what it will look like, especially in light of program closures at UW-Superior and UW-Stevens Point.

I have been feeling paralyzed by grief and rage at the dissolving of my institution, the University of Wisconsin Colleges.

To say that my resolve to keep doing this job has been crippled by more than 3 years of continuous shock-and-awe reorganizing and restructuring is an understatement. So far it hasn’t helped me to know that my feelings are echoed by my colleagues all around Wisconsin, all of whom get up and keep doing the best they can at their jobs.

I get up in the morning every Monday after a night of severely broken sleep to face my students who are either a) very worried about what this new change means for them, or b) not worried because we (faculty and staff) have been able to maintain a semblance of normal operations for them over the past several years of continual budget cuts. I do my best to teach them what they will need in future semesters to be successful students and citizens, no matter where they end up.

Then I eat lunch at my desk while reading emails and downloading documents related to the very large committee I’m a part of that has some fairly enormous tasks ahead of it.

Then I drive 35 minutes to the other campus. Then I have a 90-minute meeting that lately has just been us coming up with all of the questions we don’t have answers to (yet) but that have to be answered before any substantive work can be done. (This is repeated ad nauseum for all of my colleagues across the UW System, some of whom have three or more multi-hour meetings per week plus their full 4 course load.)

Then I drive 70 minutes to my house, with my thoughts chasing each other on the hamster wheel that passes for my brain at the close of the day.

It’s a shame, a lowdown dirty shame.

And it’s not sustainable.

The day my third mind to stay changes to “leave” will be an interesting day.






What It’s Like, Today

These are my thoughts now
brittle like the bottom of a new ice cream cone
like iron heated once too often
like stands of October corn
like Grandma’s hip
like old paper
crumpled and scattered for the cat
to paw at under the refrigerator.

[from notes summer 2014; first draft 7 June 2015]
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Almost no one reads my work. Should I care?

My friend Paul’s ruminations on academic publishing are worth a read.

The Modern Scientist

I recently read an article that has been going around social media in which the authors argue that basically no one is reading academic journals. They argue that in order to be heard, and in order to shape policy, professors and academics should be writing Op-Eds.

The article, which I’ve linked to here,  should be read with a few caveats. First of all, the authors suggest that the average academic paper is read in total by about 10 people. They provide no evidence or information about how they arrived at that estimate. Second, they are writing from the standpoint of social science and political science. In other words, the results may not apply to other disciplines. That said, I believe there are many reasons to take their idea seriously.

There are too many articles published every year.

There are so many scientific and academic journals operating right now. For example, the popular…

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