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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another Crop Almost In

At the risk of sounding like Chauncy Gardner, teaching at the university level is a lot like farming - there's a definite rhythm to the semester that mimics the farming calendar. In the off season, you prepare the soil (make changes to the syllabus, do some reading for new materials in your classes, etc...). During the semester, there's planting (the first week or so), pruning and weed pulling (usually done with exams and quizzes), and finally, at the end of semester there's the harvest.

I gave my last final exam yesterday. So, the crop's almost in. Now all I have left to do is grade them (and the remaining class projects) and I'm done with teaching-related stuff for the semester.

No cracks about vegetables, please (or at least, not too many...).

But as for research in the "off season", there's a lot to do:
  • I just yesterday finished my part of the work on one revise and resubmit (I'll call it R&R-1), which involved a fair bit of empirical work, and SAS programming out the yazoo. Now I can turn everything over to my coauthors, who'll do the remaining writing, and deal with the rest of the referee's comments.
  • Since my part of R&R-1 is done, I now get to work on another R&R (R&R-2) where I get to do most of the writing (both coauthors are not native speakers of English). Unfortunately, the referee was extremely picky, so there's much to do.
  • There's a third R&R (R&R-3) for which a coauthor is doing the first draft on the revisions (it's all writing - no new empirical work is needed). Then, he'll pass it back to me for further editing (I'm the "senior" writer on this one - the coauthor was my student previously). With luck, I'll finish R&R-2 before this one comes back to me.
  • Then, there's a piece with a former colleague and a former Ph.D. student. It was sent out and soundly rejected previously. So, we (actually, the former Ph.D. student) did a lot of additional empirical work. Then the former colleague did a rewrite, and I'll get to do the final buffing and shining. Hopefully, it'll come back to me after R&R-2 is done and before R&R-3 comes back to me).
  • Somewhere in there, there's another piece that I'm trying to finish before the FMA submission deadline. It's with another former student - we'd previously done a pilot study with interesting results. Since then, we've expanded the data set to about 5x its original size, and then ran some additional tests. If the coauthor can finish his part of the data work (mostly the coding of governance data from about 500 proxies) soon, we can write up the new results and send it off.
  • There are a few other pieces in various stages, but I'll save discussion of them until they move out of the "vaporware" category.
Luckily, I have almost five weeks before the next "planting". Looks like it'll be a busy time. But that's what makes it fun.

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