Monday, July 12, 2010

Net impact

The ever interesting Professor in Training has a post on the issues of extraneous demands on a professor's time. I think that this is another example of things where each individual element is likely to be justified but the whole is not.

Examples of these sorts of things include regulations, old laws (regarding horse thievery, for example) assistant professor committee work, software patches and so forth. For example, the last university I was at required a one hour course on the hazards of asbestos every year. While I am sure that asbestos is deadly substance, it seems like overkill to have a class on such a narrow topic every year.

What is hard to determine is how to identify these situations ahead of time and determine the appropriate responses. It's not easy -- as a junior professor I have said no to a few requests already that were pretty reasonable (and sounded like they'd add value) just to make sure that I had enough time.

I would like to think of a way to handle this issue that did not involve "over-all impact committees".

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