Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Productive Year?

The Fletcher School's graduation starts in 45 minutes. So, I'm sitting in my office in Phil Cagan's old University of Chicago graduation gown (he gave it to me) waiting for the fun to begin. I'm actually in the middle of a reflective moment. Has it been a productive academic year?

While my teaching ratings wouldn't reveal it, I actually think I gave fewer bad lectures than usual. In all 3.5 classes I taught, I think that I did a pretty good job.

In terms of academic research, my main accomplishment is this:

Writing a book by yourself is hard work; much harder than writing an academic paper for a pure academic audience. I can't be that burned out because Dora and I are taking our 6 social capital papers and are writing a book about Social Capital during war time. We aren't simply "stapling" the six papers together into a book. Instead, we are re-writing, re-estimating and thinking about how the papers fit together into a coherent readable book.

All academics look forward to summer, not because teaching is done but because this is a time to make the big push. We have no more excuses and it is time to get down to business. For me, this means taking my computer file called "research plan" and turning the ideas listed there into actual papers.