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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

It has been 540 days since my last blog post

Once upon a time, I had a blog. The last post was a subdued celebration of the election of Barack Obama. A lot has happened in the world since then. A lot has changed in my life, too. Consider this both my last post on Profesora Abstraida and my first post here. I can't promise regular updates, and I won't promise the same level of scrutiny of Mexican politics as before, but I will try to do more than short Tweets. In the meantime, here's an abbreviated update of what I've been doing for the last 540 days.

In November 2008, I interviewed for a faculty position in the Political Science Department at McMaster University. Everyone was very welcoming and nice, and I enjoyed my visit. Neither Brian nor I had never really been to Canada before, so he flew up after the interview for a weekend in Toronto. Though it was abnormally cold (according to my hosts), we enjoyed the Annex, the AGO, and Queen Street West.

January 2009 was a busy month. I heard that my tenure file had passed through the Institute-level committee, so things were looking pretty solid for promotion and tenure at Tech. I was also invited to interview at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. I was also offered the position at McMaster. Though I enjoyed my campus visit at Texas State, I had to respond to McMaster before their interviews were going to be concluded. McMaster, though far from 'home' in Austin, seemed like a better fit for me, and Toronto seemed like a better fit for Brian. So, we decided to make the move. I accepted the position (though we didn't tell anyone for several weeks).

In February, I received the official letter confirming that I had been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Tech.

In March, we used spring break to move several things to a storage unit in Austin and to tell Brian's family in person that we were moving to Toronto during the summer.

In April, we packed up the house and said goodbye, though things were so rushed that we didn't get to say goodbye to everyone personally. That made me a little sad. I also started a new website to chronicle all the great things Brian says.

In May and part of June, we stayed with my mom in Austin and visited Toronto to sign a lease.

In late June, we packed up the Jetta with our 3 cats and 80lb dog for the drive to Toronto. Most of July was spent Craigslisting and unpacking. August, more of the same. Brian's parents came to visit for 5 days in mid-August. Brian helped my grandparents move from Corpus Christi, TX to Flint, MI.

Classes started at McMaster in September. For the first time, I was teaching a graduate class in my area of research interest. So far, so good.

Over the holidays, I visited in Flint, while Brian went to Austin.

Spring semester, I taught intro graduate statistics and an undergraduate senior seminar in the politics of public policy.

In late January, my grandma passed away in her home in Flint. She left me a voicemail singing me happy birthday the night before.

In February, my book was published, and we went to Austin during reading week to visit and help my grandpa get everything settled.

In April, I received notice that my SSHRC Standard Research Grant was funded for the next three years.

...which brings me to now. I am happy in my new Department and University. We are happy in our new city.

And, I am looking forward to my second summer since graduate school in which I have not either:

a) moved our household internationally;
b) ran or participated in a summer study abroad program for at least 6 weeks; or
c) taught two courses during summer school.

I have lots of old projects to wrap up and new ones to begin. In the meantime, I'll try to post here periodically.

posted by Michelle @ 12:23 PM, 1 comments

Thursday, November 06, 2008

posted by Michelle @ 9:48 PM, 2 comments

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Presidential endorsements

I thought these lists were interesting, if not exactly surprising. Perhaps most Wikipedia contributors are democrats, and that's why Obama's list is so much longer?

At the same time, just like I don't care who Joe the Plumber endorses, I also don't really care who Christie Brinkley is likely to vote for.

posted by Michelle @ 9:39 PM, 1 comments

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why do we care about Joe the Plumber's opinion


posted by Michelle @ 8:46 PM, 1 comments

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama first to record entire campaign ad in Spanish

Also, the Obama campaign site has debate 3 'traducido al español'.

posted by Michelle @ 9:52 PM, 1 comments

Opie, Sherriff Taylor, and the Fonz for Obama

posted by Michelle @ 6:24 PM, 1 comments

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Only in the U.S.

...would this headline make any sense:

McCain Assails Obama's Plans as Socialist
GOP Nominee Recasts Campaign in Bid to Court Working-Class Voters

Otherwise, shouldn't working-class voters want 'socialism' (at least of the democratic variety)?

posted by Michelle @ 1:23 PM, 2 comments

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tell it, Ann

Wow. Brian told me this morning about reading Ann Richards's DNC speech from 1988. It could have been given at this year's convention.

I had the opportunity to hear Ann Richards speak twice while in high school. She could have you giggling one minute and crying the next. I'll never forget her pointing out that its the same company that makes Sara Lee desserts and uncomfortable girdles and other undergarments to keep women 'slender.'

In any case, if you are too young or too senile to remember her address, I highly recommend revisiting it. She was a great Texan.

posted by Michelle @ 12:32 PM, 0 comments

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Professors and time

Given the Georgia (state) budget crisis, higher ed institutions are cutting costs everywhere. At UGA, they are limiting professor travel, even if paid for out of pocket (not that I'm sure how professors can afford to do this with potential raise freezes and rising health & parking premiums, which result in a net pay cut), due to the perceptions that professors should be on campus, focused on teaching. Note, no one is really talking about how course offerings (fewer electives, no summer school, few sections and larger classes) are likely to affect students. I have at least one student who is now worried about being able to graduate on time if particular courses aren't offered. But, I digress... I really just wanted to share this:

Original context
. which should be added, how legislators and the public (to the extent they pay attention) think professors should spend their time: 95% teaching, 5% service, unless of course its sponsored research which accounts for about 36-37% of GT revenue.

posted by Michelle @ 12:33 PM, 1 comments

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thank you, Brian!

Brian just bought me a new toy productivity tool!

img from

posted by Michelle @ 11:10 AM, 4 comments

Mexico City slideshow

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Name: Michelle Dion
Location: Toronto, ON
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