We hear it echoed in recent debates over the ways professors spend their time. What do we do all that time when we’re not pontificating? Surely it can’t take all that time to write the lectures we deliver. Surely there can’t be that many books in our fields worth reading. The only logical solution that some people can draw is that we must be goofing off, or, just as bad, doing what is promiscuously labeled as “research.” That word conjures up images of mad scientists in the basement or nervous twits poring over something like an elaborate stamp collection in the attic. In either case, research is something antisocial, something detached from real education — which, I take it, is envisioned as something like Robin Williams standing on the desks in The Dead Poets Society. — Edward L. Ayers —What Does a Professor Do All Day, Anyway? (Inside UVA)
Via Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, who writes:
Ed’s one of the best around. The piece is ten years old, still well worth the read. For those who hate academics because we teach a couple of classes a week and spend the rest of the time working on our golf swing, Ed breaks it down hour by hour.