La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Catching up

Posting has been infrequent of late due to the demands of work. A little bit of explanation before I try to get back into regular posting. Since coming back to Tech this fall, work has picked up. I'm teaching two courses in our Master's program in International Affairs--methods and international political economy. I've also been getting lots of odds and ends for research projects tied up.

This is my fourth time teaching methods (twice at GT before and once in Mexico last year), so it is not really a new preparation. However, since I realized that I will be teaching methods for the foreseeable future, I am beginning to turn my lectures into powerpoint slides, which means that it has added some to my prep time. The investment will hopefully pay off in the future. Since I require the students to do modest linear regression papers, I spend a lot of time teaching the first semester students how to write a literature review, figure out how to use existing data sources to measure their variables, and then execute a small regression model. In some ways, I bring the work on myself by assigning the projects, but students have said that they really learn a lot from the process. I believe that learning statistics is like learning a foreign language; you don't really become proficient until you have to use the language. Also, like languages, you can quickly forget what you know if you don't apply your learning regularly.

The graduate seminar on international political economy is a new prep for me, though I have taught the undergraduate version on three occasions. Because this is a professional master's program and our undergraduates are so well prepared, the graduate seminar is only slightly more advanced than the undergraduate version. It still takes time grading seminar papers every week.

In addition to teaching, I've been busy finishing up several projects. I've finished revisions and resubmitted two articles for publication, which have already been accepted. I've written a book review essay on five books for another journal. That leaves one more revise and resubmit to finish before the end of the year. I also have two papers that I'd like to revise a tiny bit before sending out to other journals (since I'm trying to keep up with Munger's advice to always have three papers submitted to journals). Then, I need to finish revisions to my book project, including finishing the comparative historical chapter on Brazil, Argentina, and Chile that I began last spring. I can do all that between now and January 10, no?

Aside from that, all of a sudden, my service responsibilities have grown significantly. I'm on a hiring committee, have been on a new ad hoc committee for a big one day campus event, and will soon start work on developing the capstone course for our joint degree with Economics (that, at least, should be rewarding).

All of this is just to let regular readers (and lurkers) know that I haven't forgotten or abandoned the blog. (And, unfortunately Paul decided to go on vacation at a time when I didn't have time to browbeat him about it.) And in a way, it's a good sign that I've been too busy with other things to blog as often, if you think about it.

posted by Michelle @ 6:41 PM,


At 11/11/2005 8:36 PM, Blogger WTOTW said...

Lucky me!

At 11/15/2005 10:59 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

You dodged a bullet there!

At 11/18/2005 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck. It seems to be a busy time for everyone. All that academic stuff getting in the way of good leisurely blog reading...



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