Saturday, August 29, 2009
The orientation itself made it clear from the beginning what our goal will be in this program: in fourteen years we should each be full professors and chairs (not department chairs, but endowed chairs). That achievement is completely possible, and it is good to hear our professors have set the bar high from the beginning. We had a great discussion that laid out what the program we will go through is designed to teach us (how to research) and where our focus needs to be (on topics that excite us). The classes are important for teaching us methodology and familiarizing us with the literature out there, but research takes precedence. I especially liked that our coordinating professor made it clear that he doesn't like the distinction between teaching and research: everything we do should be focused on teaching. Classroom teaching is focused on our students but research is focused on teaching (and learning from) our colleagues in the "guild" of researchers.
Classes begin next week. We will be taking an organizational economics class that will show us a lot of topics so we can begin to find subjects we might enjoy working on. We will be taking a class on research methods to help us understand the process of academic research. We will take a class from the professor who teaches instructors how to teach better. Last of all, but perhaps most important, we will have a colloquim where we discuss what skills we need to build during our time here and how to build them by looking at best practices and award winning materials. By the end of the term we should be well on our way to having our first two research papers begun. We will also have quite a few research proposals written for potential future projects.
In short, I am very excited to have begun. I've read over a hundred pages in academic articles this week, and I have plenty more to read both for class and because of suggestions by professors. I feel confident that I can handle myself so far, and I look forward to finding out.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Next week is orientation and then classes begin. My daughter also starts kindergarten. I am excited to see what new patterns form in our lives. I'm also excited for what classes and work will bring. Who knows when I'll next be able to write a blog post. Thanks for anyone still reading. I appreciate the interest.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I hope you have had a wonderful birthday, Dad. You deserve it. You have stood by me through decision after decision that you did not fully agree with our appreciate. You have respected me enough to be a man and make my own way. For that, I am eternally grateful. I know you struggled with your own father when you chose a life other than what he had in mind for you, so perhaps you understood it was not easy for me to decide to leave the business world to become an academic. You have taught me so much that I hope to bring to my classrooms and perhaps even my writings: the value of keeping one's name clean, the price of doing what is right, the grounding that faith brings, and the importance of learning from failure. Most of all, though, you taught me the importance of loving your family more than your hobbies, and the importance of doing quality work. Hopefully one day my career will honor your name. I know you have sacrificed a lot for sis and me to have the wonderful opportunities we have enjoyed throughout our lives. With great opportunity comes great responsibility, though, and I have a responsibility to be the best I can. This tribute to you has turned into being mostly about me, but that's how you always seem to want things (no attention on you). So this year, instead of a gift you don't want, I'm writing this post.
I love you, Old Man.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The professors, too, were nice to stop and talk to me - the one who hopefully will be my mentor even had me up to his office for a few minutes and let me look at some of his work when I asked. I wanted to talk to another but he clearly was busy. Still, he let me stop him in the hall for a moment.
Simply put, I am looking forward to working with some good people.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
- register our daughter for school
- get her started in school
- get me registered for school
- get me a parking pass
- get me on school insurance
- take the tests to exempt calculus and linear algebra
- start school
That's the short list of big items to accomplish. There's still the day to day - cooking, cleaning, yardwork, finding things we've unpacked, grocery shopping, etc. etc. etc....
All in all, though, I'm glad to be at this point. I get to find out if I'm cut out for this career. Am I really as good as I like to believe? Will I make any difference at all? Will I be the low man on the totem pole right from the start?
Hopefully I will do well. I believe in myself. I like to think that the people who let me in and seem to respect my abilities know something about evaluating doctoral candidates. Next month may be the hardest thing I have ever done - at least academically - but I still feel ready. I am excited. I am here.