Tonight I am sitting in Cincinnati’s airport (which is really in KY). I was just going to write that Cinci also has free WiFi but after initially loading nytimes.com it pooped out and then reloaded asking me for a password, etc. So… if you are reading this I have made it safely home.
The past three days have been spent doing an assessment of a large honors program at Mid-West U. It was a great experience for me, my first such site visit, and I learned an awful lot. I was with a recently retired dean of another major Honors College. It was a real pleasure to work with him and sit back and listen to his experienced views and critique. But it was a lot of work (and we still have the report to write!). Yesterday we were non-stop (literally, we did not stop) from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. It was meeting, sipping coffee, use the potty, go into another meeting, rinse, repeat.
Next week I head out to LA and Vegas for PSU business and then on to San Diego for SBL. Never have I realized quite so fully as these four weeks that I know have two careers. Last week was the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference, this week the site review, and next week development trips and then SBL.
On the one hand, I thoroughly enjoy my job as an honors dean and it is great to learn more about how others manage their programs. (All have certain things in common, but each have their own distinctive, based upon campus culture, mission, and most of all resources.) On the other hand, I still love my academic work and I would not survive without the occasional meetings, the largest of which is of course SBL. The blogs too, have helped tremendously to create the illusion that I am still in the mix. 😉 Often conferences are where I do my best work, especially outlines of ideas and concepts that can then be filled in or scrapped after some more research back home.
Sometimes it is tough though. I read recently (somewhere, I can’t keep track of where nowadays, another problem) that the average person needs 30 minutes after a meeting to settle, clear the mind, and get ready to work on a new project. Especially if writing is involved. On an average day in the office I will not have more than an hour and a half in a single stretch to accomplish any work. Any many days I will not have any more than a few 30 minute stretches.
Obviously new techniques are needed and I am beginning to develop them. I would be far more productive if I were one of those folks who get up at 5 am. Alas, I am not that animal.
Still, I love it! But they are about to board. It should be a short flight home and if you are reading this, I made it safe and sound. My luggage may have a different story to tell. It certainly did last Friday…