GenX women in higher ed from around the globe

Posts Tagged ‘Women’

In Praise of Female Friendships: Women Professors, Women Students, and Academic Generations

In Liminal Thinking on 2013/01/15 at 23:10
Denise Horn, writing from Boston, Massachusetts in the US.

One evening last month, I met up with a small group of young women, and went home feeling uplifted, happy and inspired. These are women I have known for many years, and they are more than dear to me. They are funny, smart, witty and adventurous. We have traveled together, had countless dinner parties together, gossiped, and learned together. The common bond between us (aside from a mutual affinity) is that I was once their professor and they were once my students.

I have been teaching in my university long enough that I have witnessed the development of several classes of students from young, naïve, bright-eyed 18-year-olds to savvy, confident and sometimes cynical young men and women. And over the years, long after they have graduated, many of these students still see me as a mentor, but many see me as a friend. They are not afraid to come to me for advice, nor are they afraid to offer their own.

I have felt so enriched by these relationships that I am always surprised by fellow faculty members who never see beyond professor/student roles, and those who are very clear that they want no other role (except, perhaps to write letters of recommendation for grad school). I understand the need to keep a student at arm’s length when one is directly supervising the student. As a feminist, however, I believe in the vital importance of the mentoring relationship, particularly between women. I also appreciate that women often relate to each other in non-hierarchical ways that offer the possibility of fostering deeper relationships—not mentorship, but friendship.

I think of the long friendships I have with many of my former students in terms of academic generations, in which my experience of growth is joined with theirs. Among the relationships that I cherish most, for example, represent my first and second years of teaching–I was younger when I met them, and, in a sense, grew up with them. They were looking to me for guidance and advice when I was in the process of figuring out my own life—navigating the unfamiliar territory of a new career and a new university, going through the growing pains of intimate relationships, and for all intents and purposes, becoming an adult.  Each one of those friends/former students from that time buoyed me up with her wit, her curiosity and her creativity, without actually knowing she was helping me learn as well.

Our profession is inherently social and personal—we are, after all, engaged in shaping minds and fostering learning. As women academics, we are, by nature of our gender, role models to countless young women, and I take that as a serious responsibility. Our strengths, our weaknesses, our successes and our failures can always be material for teaching and mentoring—in the true feminist sense of the personal being political.

Yes, being an academic and being a teacher are intellectual pursuits, and worthy of the respect that many professors demand from their students. But the satisfaction of our jobs may actually lie elsewhere. When, someday, I look back at my career, I’ll think of the books and articles I’ve written, of course. But, I will see those as artifacts of a former me who explored ephemeral puzzles and was fascinated by esoteric theories. The “real” me, the lived me, will be traced in different ways: those that I have loved, those that I have cherished, and the academic generations of women who have or will have taught me so much, even as I was teaching them.

 

This post was also published in Inside Higher Ed

A Hall of Femmes for Women in Academia

In Anamaria's Posts on 2012/05/30 at 00:19

Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, writing from Lund, Sweden. 

Not long ago, the Swedish design duo Hjärta Smärta, composed of Samira Bouabana and Angela Tillman Sperandio, initiated a project aimed at recognizing the talent of women designers. They noticed that most of the books in their field showcased the work and the biographies of male creators, and wanted to fill the gap by including all those major female figures in the world of design. They admired their older counterparts’ artistic muse but were looking for also for some inspiration in the biographies of these highly successful but less known female personalities in the world of design.

The result is now known as the Hall of Femme, a nice pun on the Hall of Fame that does not include as many women as the team at Hjärta Smärta thought it should. Besides having a blog (in Swedish) which gathers their design-related posts from around the web, Bouabana and Tillman Sperandio authored also several books based on extensive interviews with the grand dames of design such as Lillian Bassman or Carin Goldberg.

After I had read about the Hall of Femmes I thought immediately that this is exactly what I would love to do: collect the life stories of the big names among female academics. It is true that we here at UVenus are representing the younger, Gen X, women, but, as the saying goes, we stand on the shoulders of giants. The life narratives of these first ladies of academia are documents about the history of the process of bringing in and recognizing women’s merits as researchers and professors at the university level. They are also potential models and terms of comparison for our own lives and struggles today. After a long and successful career, perhaps one looks with different eyes at one’s working life, and at one’s priorities. This could be an inspiration for us younger women in the academia, and perhaps also a comfort, to know that these women we admire have shared our own passions and our own occasional desolation.

I always wondered about such things as:

How did the women professors in any given country active in the 1960s or 70s cope with the patriarchal biases so much more present and visible at that time?

How did they solve the “life puzzle”, combining academia with families?

Did they feel recognized for their work and how (and when) did that recognition come?

As for my imaginary interlocutors, there are many, some dead, some still with us. I would have loved to talk to Marie Curie or Rachel Carson, for example, but that chance is gone… I would love to talk to Nobel Prize winners such as Elinor Ostrom (Economics), Carol W. Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn (Medicine). Or with some of the women authors in my field of study, social sciences, professors like Katherine Verdery,Wend yBracewell, or Helen Wallace. Of course, I would also like to go outside the English-speaking world and get the opinions of women, both young and old, such as Leyla Neyzi, Daniela Koleva, or Barbara Törnquist-Plewa.

We all need role models, and have such people as references in our everyday professional and private lives. Let us recognize their impact and acknowledge their contribution.

Who would you like to include in the Hall of Femmes of Women in the Academia and why? Which questions would you like to ask these prominent female figures in the world of higher education and research?

This post was also published in Inside Higher Ed. 

 

Barefoot Teaching

In Liminal Thinking on 2011/02/08 at 07:07

Denise Horn, writing from Boston, Massachusetts in the USA

I’m preparing for my fifth trip to India, my second with students. I run the Global Corps Practicum program in Hubli, Karnataka State, a month-long workshop on community development and social entrepreneurship. Students are paired with Indian students, and together they conduct the field research and organizational building necessary to solve community problems. I work closely with a well-known organization, the Deshpande Foundation, which funds the program, provides the much-needed community links, and gives our work credibility within the community. It’s a crazy amount of work for myself and my two intrepid teaching assistants (not to mention my students, who have been preparing for the trip for the past few weeks), but in the end, it’s always satisfying.

I’ve been running this and similar programs for some time now, and when I look back, it’s my experiences in southern and southeast Asia that I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve described my love affair with Thailand in other posts, and have found similar love for beautiful Bali and chaotic India. They are very different cultures, but when it comes to teaching there, I think I’ve found the common thread that shapes my enjoyment: teaching barefoot.

Read the rest at Inside Higher Ed (link here)

 

Why Women Should Be Fellows

In Uncategorized on 2011/02/05 at 04:50

Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, writing from Evanston, Illinois in the USA

“What is a fellowship?” This question opened more conversations than I can count over the last four and a half years of my professional life, and it lacks a straightforward answer. Some ‘fellowships’ are in fact scholarships (Rhodes to study at Oxford; Gates to study at Cambridge). Others are grants (Fulbrights for independent projects) or funded internships (Junior Fellows at the Carnegie Foundation; Urban Fellows in New York City). All three categories and a multitude of additional permutations share a fundamental commitment to mentorship. As we women of UVenus know, we need all the mentors we can find, and thus, I encourage young women to pursue such opportunities with alacrity.

I remain amazed at how reluctant some students seem to throw their hats into the admittedly three-ring circus of applications, nominations, and interviews required to reach the goal.If doctoral candidates in this country receive payment from their institutions, why should someone – particularly a young woman listening to her biological clock – veer off track for monetary support she does not need?

Because fellowships are not about financial capital. They are about cultural capital.

When I address young women, I make an unorthodox argument for fellowships. The simple argument highlights the people you meet from outside your immediate institution and field of study, who will expand your ideas and ease your access to the halls of power. Moreover, money can make certain types of dreams come true. However, my gratitude for the fellowships I held stems not from my non-existent rise to power or my spare change but from the flexibility it gave me to follow my own eccentric path.

We all strive for work life balance, and we all know how ephemeral it seems. A good friend who walked away from her own expensive education and high-profile career to raise her children says, “We can have it all. We just can’t have it all at once.” During my years ‘at home’ with my sons, my fellowships facilitated my peculiar professional juggling act. They served to certify my status as a scholar when I had no institutional affiliation to follow my name. Folks I knew from various fellowships still invited me to write reviews and attend conferences. When I collected the courage to put together conference panels, my former fellow fellows would accept my invitations to apply with me. I know that the fellowships on my CV caught the eyes of senior scholars who might easily have skimmed past the proposal of an ‘independent scholar.’

When I was ready to rejoin the formal work force, my experience with fellowships saved me again. My alma mater offered to pay me for the advice I had previously dispensed for free. I remain in a non-traditional role for a scholar. As I have written here before, no one really cares if their fellowship advisers have an active scholarly agenda (although I think they should). My current job carries no truck with editors or selectors. My certification as someone in whom other foundations invested continues to carry some weight. My choices may seem weird, but others are less likely to see me as intellectually unworthy.

Fair? No. True? So far as I can tell, yes. Do I have a significant statistical sample? Absolutely not. Do I know other women from the rolls of British Scholarship recipients who have profited from their fellowships as they carved peculiar individual paths through their professional and parenting lives? Absolutely. Perhaps we find the courage to constantly recreate ourselves, because we won the fellowship lottery once and think lightening might strike twice. Perhaps the fellowship safety net gives us the sense of security we need to strike out on a tightrope over the professional abyss. No matter what motivates us – and yes, of course, each makes her own decisions for her own reasons – fellowships play a part.

Every woman (and man) should have the freedom and the courage to find her or his own way through the treacherous terrain of personal and professional goals. As yet, the constraints seem too many and the solutions too few. Fellowships broaden horizons and help fellows find their footing on slippery slopes.

In an ideal future, I would like everyone to have all these advantages, but as a first step, I want more women to be fellows.

Evanston, Illinois in the USAElizabeth Lewis Pardoe is a regular contributor at University of Venus and an associate director of the office of fellowships and teaches history and American studies at Northwestern University, from which she earned her B.A. (1992). She earned M.Litt. (1994) and M.Phil. (1995) degrees in European History as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University before completing her Ph.D. at Princeton University (2000)For more, visithttp://elizabethlewispardoe.wordpress.com or find Elizabeth on Twitter@ejlp and LinkedIn.

Who Is Your Role Model?

In Uncategorized on 2011/02/01 at 03:35

Who is your academic or higher education role model? Who are you trying to model your career after?

Ana: Although I don’t have a given professional or academic role model, I have had the chance to meet individuals that inspired me, by their professional integrity, ideas and core human values. Mostly, they are people trying to induce change and to make the world a better place, by promoting outstanding professional and intellectual achievements while keeping high ethical standards.

Rosalie: Dr. Carolina Hernandez. She did the seminal work on the Philippine military during Martial Law period and inspired me in that research direction. She’s the successful academic who is also a policy mover; internationally-renowned but committed to mentoring young scholars. Her travel schedule is a killer as a Delta million-miler. Despite her stature, she’s very accessible as a person and extends assistance to scholars needing “introductions.” We hung out together several times in Tokyo in 2004 and had great conversations about balancing career and family.

Meg: My mother was a public school teacher. The passion and creativity she brought to her profession was infectious. She ensured that each student had the opportunity to succeed in her classroom, and offered them control over their own learning. She brought teams of instructors together to explore innovative teaching techniques. She trained teachers in her school district and in other districts. She seemed fearless to me.

Afshan: I have a few academic mentors, and friends. They are mostly people who have shown me that you can be a great researcher, a great teacher, and still be a mentor to your students. But I don’t think I have a role model. Certainly nobody I’m trying to model my career after. Is that strange? I have never actively charted out my career path, nor do I feel the need to.

Mary: I am encouraged by strong women who are seeking a new path within higher education, women who inspire me to fight the fight. In addition to the brave writers at UVenus, two women who come to mind immediately are Drew Gilpin Faust and Ruth Simmons. These women are not just the presidents of Harvard and Brown; they are passionate advocates for change who are creating a new vision for higher ed. Their pioneering work inspires me to do things differently and to make change happen, NOW!

Denise: I was very lucky to attend a grad program with a strong feminist political theory faculty–they did more than teach theory (incredibly well), they also modeled academic and professional behavior that I strive to emulate. One professor in particular, Mary Hawkesworth, was and is an incredible mentor: she let me know that she thought my work was important and interesting and she pushed me hard in my writing and research. It’s because of Mary that my first book was published, and I can never tell her how grateful I am for all the support she’s given me over the years. I hope someday to be that person for my students…

Deanna: My role models are reflective of the observations I’ve made from my time working in Graduate Studies. I admire Angela Failler for her research, Mavis Reimer for her communication style, Hinton Bradbury for his flair and quirkiness, Diana Brydon for her use of social media, Clare Bradford for the accomplishments which brought her to my campus, and finally, Mary Churchill with her ability to juggle so many roles and projects while still maintaining such a warm and approachable aura.

Anamaria: I do not have an academic role model. I am an improviser and a borrower of the worst kind: I don’t even remember my sources. Always thankful for the inspiration that people, in general, give me every day.

Heather: My academic role model is Laura Patterson, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer at University of Michigan. In the early 1990s she saw the possibilities in combining technology and student records, and currently oversees complex administrative and research computing. I’ve never had the opportunity to meet her, but in my dreams, my career will follow a similar trajectory from Registrar’s Office to CIO.

Elizabeth: I have joked for some time that I am in the market for a role model, but I have yet to receive any offers. I have models – plural. Women I admire as great administrators, mentors, mothers, writers, or scholars. I can’t find one person who has done all things I want to do the way I want to do them in the same order or at the same time. Time for a reality check?

Itır: I actually do not have a role model or someone I am trying to model my career after. I am just trying to be the best version of myself as an academic. Honestly I don’t believe in role models because I believe one would learn a lot not only from the best but also the worst sides of others.

Lee: My role models are all outside higher education or followed a really nontraditional path (or both – see my post): one was my supervisor who also has a Masters in Law on top of a PhD in French, another has a PhD in history and started her own academic search firm, and the last has a PhD in Comparative Literature and is a mom/translator/lactation leader/teacher/writer/editor/publisher/activist/etc. My career doesn’t resemble any of these three women’s careers, but what I take from them is their bravery and ability to forge their own definition of success. If I can inspire one person the way they inspired me, then I’ll consider my strange career a success.

Who is your role model? Who are you trying to model your career after? Add your comment below or tweet your answer to @UVenus and we will post it on the blog as a comment.

 

“We Need to Talk”

In Uncategorized on 2011/01/29 at 03:52

Guest blogger, Liana Silva, writing from Kansas City, Missouri in the USA

One of my students plagiarized this semester. Not once, but twice. I graded both papers in a week’s time, so the severity of the offense seemed even worse. Instructors who have encountered plagiarism will remember that brief moment of hesitation, the slow passing of time as you wait for Google (or Turnitin) to bring up the results, the quick beating of your heart as you see the lifted passages appear on your screen, the determined swish of the cursor to “Print.” Now imagine that twice in one week. It was unnerving but also sad.

We’ve read the numerous articles on plagiarism (like David Callahan’s article in Huffington Post or Carson Jerema’s post in Macleans.ca). However, as a new, female, adjunct instructor, other concerns about my identity as an instructor come into my head.

From that first semester as a teaching assistant, I have been trying hard to convey my authority to my students. I was aware of my position as a young, new, female graduate student of color; I had also seen how some students treated other female teaching assistants who seemed less authoritative, less “professorial.” I wanted my students’ respect, maybe even more so than their admiration. Through my dress manner, tone, and the way I addressed them inside and outside of the classroom, I tried to show them I was in control of the classroom. During the semester I opened up and relaxed a little; I became friendly, chatty, sarcastic, and witty. But I always made sure I held command of the classroom. Some thought I was too stern or too serious, but honestly I always worry about being too “nice.”

Over the years, I’ve seen students do respect me. I also feel more confident about my position as their instructor. However, I’ve also noticed a difference in their interactions with me: they open up about their personal lives more often than they do with my male colleagues (whereas they usually have students come to them to talk about books, readings, ideas discussed in class). They question my decisions more than my male colleagues. Conversely, it seems to me male instructors I have worked with seem more confident in their standards than the female instructors. Even with my years of experience I still wonder if I’m too “nice” or too harsh. Is being “nice” wrong? Not really. However, it is when other instructors equate being “too nice” with not being strict enough with your students or with being easily swayed by their appeals. As I confronted the student who plagiarized, the same concerns popped into my head.

I slowly pulled out the plagiarized essays with the internet articles as evidence, and went over my talking points in my head. As I explained what I had found, I repeated to myself “don’t let X try to sway you; this student failed the assignment.” But I also wondered “does this student understand the gravity of the situation? Did the student understand what they did? Am I being too mean? Maybe the student deserves another shot.” The right and left sides of my brain battled it out. On one hand, I wanted to make it clear this was unacceptable, and there would be consequences to this unethical behavior. On the other hand, I wanted to give this student the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, I worry that showing sympathy or emotions of any kind will undermine my authority as a female instructor. This situation probably did not warrant sympathy (after all, this student plagiarized two WHOLE papers), but if I did not wonder so much about my tenuous position as a female adjunct instructor of color at a new school I would probably feel more comfortable talking with the student about their actions.How many of my male counterparts have the same dilemma between being too strict and too lenient?

I asked the student what happened that they felt they had to plagiarize. The student said nothing. I asked if they had plagiarized other papers in the class. Response? No. The student said they only did it one paper. I showed the student both essays, with my evidence. No response. I didn’t know what else to say, so I mentioned how plagiarism was unacceptable in a college writing course. No response. As the student walked out, they asked, “is there anything I can do?” “No.” I went to my office, drank some water to calm down my nerves, then walked to my next class. I was a minute early.

This post was also published at Inside Higher Ed.

My Degree is My Mistress

In Graduate Studies & Students on 2011/01/22 at 01:35

Deanna England, writing from Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada.

I think I’m having an identity crisis. I recently joined sites like LinkedIn and Academia.edu based on the suggestions of those around me, but the thing is, I don’t really know what I am. Am I a student? Am I staff at a University? Am I a writer?

I know that the easy answer is that we all juggle multiple roles in life – employee, child, girlfriend, puppy-owner etc. But when it comes to my professional life, I struggle. I’ve talked about theawkwardness factor already – that’s certainly something that defines my sense of self and belonging in the Academy – and I’m probably allowing it to rule my sensibilities too much. I’ve been invited out for post-class drinks, and to house-parties with my classmates, and I’ve yet to attend. True, I’ve had valid reasons for missing each event, but I confess, I also didn’t try too hard to re-arrange things to make it work.

Read the rest at Inside Higher Ed (link here)

 

Academic Boredom

In Under the Rain With No Umbrella on 2011/01/20 at 04:35

Itir Toksöz writing from Istanbul in Turkey

I am a person who is easily bored. It is in my character. I get tired of things easily. Not just of things, but also of people, of places, of food, of music etc. Once I achieve something, for me the taste is gone. I then jump on the next idea to get a new natural high out of what I do. This does not mean that I am a restless soul in every way. Luckily I harbor a stable core as well which lets me keep life-long friendships, favourite cafes that date from my university years or keepsakes from years ago. But this does not change the fact that I need novelty to feel alive every so often. The need for novelty often presents itself in the form of a new topical interest and new minds to connect with.

In that sense, an academic career seemed like the right path for me. That would be where I would be able to encounter new ideas, improve myself, sail towards new horizons, engage in interdisciplinary research, interact with like-minded people with diverse interests, push my own limits, push the limits of my students. It would be fun. An academic career sounded promising for my easily bored self as it offered enough flexibility to let me explore the limits of my own mind. My own field, international relations was a right choice in that sense because in international relations, there is always some new development somewhere in the world which is relevant to what one is doing. I never thought I could be bored in academia.

Read the rest at Inside Higher Ed (link here)

Teaching, Advising, and Academe: Thinking about 2010

In Guest Blogger on 2011/01/08 at 00:49

Janni Aragon, writing from Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada

The end of the year offers some time to review the previous year and think about teaching. I am thankful for all the students who are engaged and generally want to learn. These students fill my cup and make teaching a real blessing. I am also thankful (at times) for the students who just are not sure about the material and this entire “college” thing. These students make me work more to catch their interest and attention in the subject matter and in the discipline of Political Science. These are the students who come into my office and want to chat and I am lucky to be part of their college experience.

I am fortunate to work with students as an undergrad advisor and perhaps professional mentor. This part of my job makes me work in a more individualized role with students during my office hours or via email and I have to admit that I really enjoy it. It is great when I can tell a student that she only needs a few more courses in order to graduate. Talking to students about courses and possibilities provides us a chance to think interests and career aspirations. In these moments, I am listening, mentoring, and at times giving advice. The advice is not always what the student wants to hear.

It might seem odd, but I am also thankful for some difficult students. This also includes teaching assistants who report to me and for all intents and purposes work for me. Each of these different situations have made the next one easier, and frankly, I also do not suffer any fools anymore and am quite comfortable with saying no than I was in years past. I have found it liberating to be fair and honest with students. Surprisingly, most of the students have later thanked me for my honesty or for being firm about a deadline and my expectations.

Over the years I have continued to engage in the professional organizations in my discipline and on my campus. While it does add one more thing to do to my busy schedule, the chances to network with other instructors and administrators reminds me that I do more than teach and advise. I am also part of a community of people in academe. I find that the networking aspect seem to take place at times when I really need to nourishment and reminders. I am thankful for the conferences, caucuses, other meetings, and frankly for social media. I have made more connections on Twitter during the last 13 months, than in the previous 5 years.

Getting back to teaching, though, I have had some bright and motivated students in my class this last year and they have made me teach better. They have made me excited to walk in the classroom and discuss some new article, idea or clip of a video. These moments remind me how much I love my job. Ultimately I know that I am content with my job in higher education. It was a great year!

This post was also published in Inside Higher Ed.

Where Do You Hide?

In Conversations on 2010/12/24 at 00:22

A couple of weeks ago, Lee pitched an idea for bringing several of us at UVenus together around a single question and Meg and I thought it would be a great way to end 2010 as we take a break for the holidays in the USA. We’d like to make this a monthly feature at University of Venus and we want our readers to participate! If you tweet your answer, one of us will post it on the blog for you.

Lee: I love how University of Venus brings voices from across academia and around the world, but I had always wished there was a way to bring our voices together in a more informal discussion about, well, whatever. The catalyst for me was reading Bitch Media’s Grand Rounds blogger discussion about TV’s Grey’s Anatomy. The discussion was insightful, funny, and it felt like people I would want to talk to about my (guilty) pleasure. This, I thought, would be a perfect format for us at UVenus. I feel like I am a part of a family at the University of Venus. I think it’s about time we get to know each other a little better and geek out and share that with the rest of our readers.

Where do you hide on your campus when you need to get work done?

Lee: I hide in my office. It’s in a converted house just on the edge of campus and doesn’t appear on any campus maps. My students can’t find me, and the way the house has been partitioned, there is nowhere for the professors and instructors to congregate, thus we just huddle up in our offices. It even has a (fake) fireplace.

Denise: I’d like to say I have a place to hide on campus, but I really don’t. The student center coffee shop? “Oh hi professor Horn! Can I talk to you while you try to eat that really messy sandwich?” The library? “Oh Professor Horn! I was just researching that paper–are you busy?” My office? “Hey Professor Horn, I know your door is closed, but do you have a minute for 12 of us?” So….yeah. I hide at home.

Afshan: The only place where I actually get anything done is at home—after the kids go to sleep! If I do work on campus, it’s limited to grading or preparing for class, and I do that in my office. ALL my other work happens at home . . . often in the wee hours of the night.

Deanna: I don’t! Since I spend all day “working” on campus, I tend to do my “scholarly” work at home. Or I come in to my office on weekends in my socks and pj’s and get twice as much done in half the time!

Meg: Recently, I have been working on drawing boundaries as part of my professional development. My favorite hiding spot is in my office, door closed, with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. I have everything I need in my homey office.

Elizabeth: Despite Northwestern’s notoriously poor relationship with Evanston, the university and the city create a fairly seamless community. As a result, I can’t hide. Somebody finds me. Always. My husband calls it a small English village of 80,000. To make escape even less possible, I grew up here. If I don’t run into someone from work, neighborhood or both, I will run into a friend of my parents. In truth, I love it and wouldn’t change a thing.

Rosalie: Nowhere. If it’s reading or writing an article/book, I can’t do do this in our campus. We have a common faculty room where silence is impossible. The library’s serials section is the only air-conditioned room with the desired quietude, but the library being a hill away, it’s not worth the trouble hiking across searing heat or a downpour.

Mary: I like to hide in plain sight. Campuses are often unofficially divided into distinct faculty/student and administrative areas. As an administrator on a wireless campus, I can get a lot of work done in a comfortable chair in the corner of a student lounge. When I do run into other administrators, they are usually co-conspirators and they nod or give me a wink and move on.

Itır: I also do not, cannot hide on campus. Actually I am generally so busy that there is no time to hide. When I need the quality time on my own to do work at most is when I need to grade and when I need to write a paper. For both I need uninterrupted time which is a luxury to get on campus. So I also hide off-campus.

Anamaria: The offices at my various workplaces (I have a total of three) are spaces for interaction with my colleagues and students. The space for creative work, like writing, is my retreat at home. I have the luxury of a room of my own where I can just close the door and separate myself from the world. Sometimes I like to have another silent working person in the same room though, it works like a preventive means against procrastination, he he! I wish I could work in cafés, but I cannot concentrate (not even on reading, even less on writing)…

Heather: I currently work in an open area, near the main entrance to the building, so I greet a lot of foot traffic and visitors asking directions. When I need to focus, or when I need to hide out, I go to the dining hall. It is spacious, bright, and looks out onto the courtyard with beautiful stained glass windows. Between meals, the hum of students working and talking provides a cafe-like atmosphere.

Ana: I live in Berlin and my institution is in Romania. I am always hidden and have to work to make myself seen. I do this mostly by writing. I can send an article or a review or make a comment online. Sometimes, I make myself seen by attending a conference.

Happy Holidays from the writers at University of Venus!

Let us know, where do you hide to get work done?

 

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