I have a conflict. I can’t go. I have a meeting. I have to be with my kids.
Read on to take the poll!
These are the various reason why students, staff, and others can not come to various worthy events at Bucknell. For example, Tuesday nights are the one day without classes at night (lol except Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). So the Bucknell Forum, as well as others, use Tuesday as the ideal night for these events. Guess what? It is also when students schedule their various clubs and organizations including the powerful Greek orgs.
At the same time, I have ahd students avoid 4-5 or 02-5 commitments because of sports practices or games/events.
Meanwhile, no one likes 8 a.m. classes.
And, most weeks there are 2-3 events which I would like to participate in but can’t because they are in the 7-9 at night window when I am with my family.
The schedule rules. It is not sexy. It is not “cool” like smart boards in classrooms, service-learning, or student-led expeditions to tag pythons for an ecology class. However, I suggest that in terms of making life better AND using current resources better (as in more attendance at more events), the schedule is the most over-looked and also most urgent area of reform.
I have imagined various STRUCTURAL changes to the schedule which might help lessen some of these inherent conflicts. Continue reading
I am still in the chapter on scheduling. I just read a few pages today.
Point 1. Eviatar claims a steady schedule is essential. This includes times of the week you always write, as well as times of the day. So far so good. He also writes that you need to honor your own needs. Writing is not like turning on a switch and some amount of warm up is a good idea. He suggests looking at email, making coffee, or whatever else “sets the mood.”
Point 2. You need to find your own best time which will involve some experimenting. This can take “weeks or months” he says.
Point 3. TO find your schedule it might also be good to start constraints; this means making a weekly schedule and marking through times you can not write and then starting there.
My thoughts. Again this seems so obvious, I chafe at the thought of applying it. I realize this is my own arrogance since even knowing it I don’t do it enough.
Having that set of warm up activities can bleed VERY quickly into full out procrastination.
I like the idea of finding one’s “natural” rhythm. But I am so used to beating myself up that my first thought was I have had years and years of self-experimentation. Fat lot of good it has done. On the other hand, to be positive, I started thinking about what I do know.
A) I can be very flexible. I have several ways to jot down tasks, for example. Instead of trying to pick the “one best” I just switch back and forth as mood suits.
B) I think short writing exercises- baby steps- do help me get momentum. These nuggets are part of that.
C) Early afternoon is the devil’s time. I never feel energized. That is the best time to get exercise, check email, clean up office. From 1-3.
D) I often seem to be productive late afternoon, from 3-5 or 6. This can produce conflict though with parenting and housework.
I think further experimentation is in order. And as a good empiricist, I’ll need to record observations to have enough data.
Now Eviatar shifts to chunking tasks. He calls this, quite nicely, “a mountain with stairs.”
Two points resonated for me. First, about outlines, he suggests only outlining or changing outlines _between_ final drafts. This may be part of my problem with “code rules” as it has been restructured five times, at least I think. Not all of these were after a final draft was done.
Second, he advocates writing and then revising in stages. This more useful for my students than for me, perhaps, as I am already a committed reviser. They still think, most of them, that writing is getting your ideas on paper instead of realizing that writing is another form of thinking. They think it is a mistake to rewrite, instead of normal.
Now, to complicate matters, the idea of the mountain with steps is appealing; common-sensical too. Break down the seemingly distant and difficult task into smaller, feasible steps. I have climbed mountains. I absorbed *Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance*. I have told hiking groups I led that to climb a mountain you have to have the disposition of a cow. The difference is that in those cases, I usually know which way is _up_. In writing, I find myself wondering if these steps are really the right steps to take. I especially wonder if I am going up at a good rate, or, even worse, going down. Efficiency and failure trouble me more directly than self-doubt that I will finish. In mountain terms- I worry now about going sideways or downhill more than about whether I will ever get to the top.
So, I have several books on writing and academia I have been lugging around all week. Some I have scanned before, some not at all. Since I will never sit down and read a whole book on writing process- just seems too much like a luxury- but I also believe that they are likely to be helpful, I decided to just spend a few minutes each day scanning for nuggets. I would rather jot these down here since I like sharing and it feels less frivolous to read and write for an audience beyond just myself.
One of my best academic friends here, Roger, who is also my writing group partner, recommended The Clockwork Muse. It is by a sociologist, Eviatar Zerubavel. That name rocks.
The nugget today is the title which elegantly skewers the misguided notion that writing is a moment of feverish inspiration bestowed by a muse. Writing comes from self-discipline and habit, centered on the notion of time.
My wife, Virginia Zimmerman, starts her own blog about Children’s Literature, Victorian literature, writing, and teaching. She launches with a nice post explaining a quotation from CS Lewis.
A student of mine for her final project creatded a blog about recycled fashion.
Ditch or Stitch!
Economic Meltdown Bankers – Harvard MBA, Stern School of Business – Business School | wowOwow
Which schools are the Academies of the Apocalypse, and who and how many went to each?
Is how Deborah Barrow launches into her list. Harvard is on top. THis si amusing, but not a very systematic pool of candidates.
This piece from the NYT caught my eye. Lewisburg is similar in some ways, although bigger. Kelly township is already up and running as sprawl-driven growth. The whole county, Union, is involved in a planning process, called cultivating community. There are some draft plans on the website. How effectively can it redirect te built in infrastructure and private development?
The great quote here is the professor: “a synthesis of academics and civics.”
Maybe Bucknell has faculty or classes who could engage in similar research? Does the county need or want such help?
Vermont Town Turns to College in Bid to Guide Change – NYTimes.com
Starksboro asked students from nearby Middlebury College to spend the semester interviewing its residents to document what they value most about the place. It intends to use their thoughts to influence decisions about its future.
In particular, officials here are counting on the project to help steer a revision of the town plan next year, a process that often leads to zoning-change proposals that incite bitter debate.
“The key is to project beyond immediate controversies over applications for subdivisions and to say, ‘Let’s envision the future that we would love to have,’ ” said Prof. John Elder of Middlebury, “at which point there is considerable agreement.”
The students are in a class called Portrait of a Vermont Town, which Professor Elder, who teaches it, described as a rare synthesis of academics and civics.
Random surfing led to this find: The U MD Innovation center.
With these imperatives in mind, the Center for Innovation is consulting with and doing research on science and technology in research organizations with the objective of helping them increase scientific technological advances. The Center is developing theories that concern the process of innovation and the production of knowledge more generally. Finally, it is developing several models and methods for guiding governments in their evaluations of S&T research.
Then tehy list research tracks: