Monday, October 05, 2009


So, my teaching schedule gives me two 11-hour days on campus (TuTh), and I am trying to pull my service work into that time frame, more or less. It's been helpful to show me how much time I give away, thinking "it'll only take 20 minutes."

Among the tasks that "will only take a minute" --

Former Students:
Finding an MA thesis example for an ex-student writing on representations of sex-work in the media. No one, not even veteran MA advisors, remembers that students can download whole MA theses from ProQuest to serve as models for their advisees. Voila!

Hooking another former student up with Human Subjects for his dissertation on rhet/comp websites.

Talking doc program applications and Plan B projects with current MA students.

Reviewing 25 paper abstracts for RSA.

Arranging "bonus rooms" for up to 50 extra participants at RSA through free meeting spaces at the Minneapolis Public Library for 2010. If you were among the 50 worst panels at RSA this year, the odds are good that you would have been cut if I hadn't found the extra rooms for free. And connecting the local committee to more room info for RSA.

Appying for $7,000 for a grad student preconference for RSA.

Modern Rhetoric Colloquium
Buying breakfast, lunch and dinner for my Modern Rhetoric colloquium, October 22-24. Also arranging recording technology.

Making slots for up to a dozen grad students to have roles at the Modern Rhetoric colloquium

Juggling papers, respondents and others for the Modern Rhetoric Colloquium, including the complex ego work involved.

Tomorrow, I need to work through the arrivals at the airport. Whom will I pick up? When?

Reading "single semester leave" applications for two colleagues, helping them write for a nonspecialist audience of their UMD peers.

Working with a colleague to shepherd forward her awesome book project with Baylor, including a little grant writing.

This one is a gift to me as well as service, in a way. Attending lectures and a reading group led by a visiting prof on issue of race and racism from a philosophical perspective. In my book, there is an ethical obligation to demonstrate to visitors on important topics like this that their presence is valued. At the same time, I benefit, to be sure.

Prepping for, then co-leading, a workshop on diversity and lynching education in the high school classroom for Duluth Public Schools.

Seeing proposals for publication of a teacher's guide on lynching ed rejected, again and again.

Preparing for my friend John's arrival from the UK. Lunches, class visits, Mall of America?

Peer reviewing an article for IJL.


All of this while my laptop is dead -- and waiting fixit at the U of MN service shop.

There are still some odd points -- the occasional social conflict with friends that needs repairing, the family crisis, the well-meaning emails from socially inept colleagues (a) telling me reassuring things about my future that in fact undermine all confidence in it, or (b) asserting, despite their clear lack of credentials or knowledge of my field, that I am not, in fact, a scholar of rhetoric (because they know what it really is, apparently). But, with this clearer division of service from reading and writing time, I can see more clearly what I do and how much of it I do.

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