I quite often get kind, well-meant questions of the kind “So, what are you doing these days when the students aren’t at uni?”. These suggest that perhaps my title of Senior Lecturer has given people the impression that my main and only job is lecturing… and when there’s no-one to lecture I pretty much just sit around.
Not quite – pity! There are generally considered to be three facets in an academic career – teaching, service and research – and it’s necessary to be doing high quality work in all three in order to continue to be promoted. I’m actually up for the end of my 3 year probation at UQ this year, so one of my jobs is proving that I’m achieving in all three fields: there’s a form to be filled in and handed in next month, and referees to
Anyway, for your edification, a quick rundown of what I’ve been working on this January, with nary a student in sight:
Teaching and Graduate Student Supervision
- I’m teaching 4 courses in Semester One this year and 3 in Semester 2. Not teaching yet, but there are electronic course profiles (course outlines) to be developed for all those courses, textbooks to be ordered, Blackboard web sites to be built for courses, resource lists to be updated and so on.
- One PhD student, Zheng, had to be confirmed as a PhD candidate, which means doing a presentation on her proposed research and having it assessed by a committee, so I had to help her develop and edit a 30 page document and develop a presentation, schedule and attend the presentation and talk with the committee
- Another PhD student, Mike, wanted to talk about his research program and where he’s up to with it
- I’m the Program Director for Middle Years education at UQ, which means I’ve been trying to chase up people to teach in all our courses, sorting timetable issues, preparing handbooks and planning orientation events and so on.
- It also means that when the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT), our accrediting body, suddenly decides it wants us to go through four of our courses, each of which have three forms (graduate internal, graduate external and undergraduate) and check of their list of 97 practices and 70 kinds of knowledge teachers are meant to have to see which ones our courses develop, that’s my job.
- And also when the QCT decides to change our programs and break our minors it’s me who has to go and chat to the Faculty and various other people to try to minimise the damage…
- I’m also the Deputy Chair of the School of Education’s Teaching and Learning Committee, which means I have various duties and data-munching jobs as part of the School Review that is going on at the moment.
- I’m also on the Ipswich campus Program Directors’ Committee and IT Consultative Committee.
- I’m in a team of 5 people who are putting together a grant application for a little under half a million dollars from the Australian Research Council to look at the ways in which teachers in North Queensland schools deal with the various differences among their students. I’m responsible for writing the section on the research methodology – what we’re actually going to do.
- Writing tends to go under the Research heading, even though this isn’t really research writing, but I revised three chapters for the NSW ‘Science Focus’ junior high science textbooks during January
- Two hour meeting yesterday, a fifth of a large survey instrument to develop and another 2 hour meeting next Wednesday for another research project
- I’m on the editorial boards of about half a dozen journals and often peer review articles for them. None in January, though.
- I’m co-editor of a book called ‘Connected Science’ that will be coming out later this year, and need to edit two chapters this month and hassle some authors who have been slow in submitting their work.
- Both funding bodies and ethics committees require annual reports on all research projects. I’ve also had to give some money back to the ARC because it wasn’t needed for the research, and write a letter asking them if I can please buy some laptops for the project.
- Ethics amendment application for one of the research studies to add more schools and more data.
- Working with Michelle and Ann, my two colleagues on the current major research project, to find online visualisations and choose them, develop tests, run workshops, recruit teachers and do half a dozen things – as well as finding and employing Michelle and Ann
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few more, but now you know.