Thursday, August 26, 2010

How can school be starting and it's not September yet?

With school starting there are many posts about how to get back into the academic mode. I like Guy Kawasaki, and most of his "Back to School Special" pointers but have a few quibbles. Let's look at a few in detail:
How to talk to your boss.
Bringing questions to office hours is something I expect from undergrads, but I expect grad students to bring answers, which is what he says happens in the real world.
How to survive a meeting that's poorly run, and
How to run a meeting
Great advice, I particularly like

"First, assume that most of what you’ll hear is pure and petty, and it’s simply part of the game. This will prevent you from going crazy. Second, focus on what you want to accomplish in the meeting and ignore everything else. Once you get what you want, take yourself “out of your body,” sit back, and enjoy the show. Third, vow to yourself that someday when you’re the boss that your meetings won’t work like this."

How to negotiate
His five step process is essentially Getting to Yes, complete with BATNA.
How to use PowerPoint
ten slides in twenty minutes? I'm OK with twenty minutes, ten slides is a little slow. Go PechaKucha!
How to leave voicemail
Great advice, please please do this. Leave your number twice, once and the beginning, once at the end.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has "How to Avoid Being a Jerk in the Classroom". Here's a good one:

"Do you say things like "I can't bear to read that crap" about student effort? Maybe another line of work would suit you better? "Don't talk shit about your students outside of the classroom. That attitude is harder to switch off than some teachers seem to think. And the rest of us don't want to hear it anyhow," via Mike Garcia."

Something common to these guidelines are to not reveal too much personal information. In "Ways That We Irritate Our Students", Delaney Kirk says

"Sharing too much personal information. I had a colleague years ago that had several dogs that were essentially her "children." She brought up the dogs in every class. The students started rolling their eyes whenever she mentioned them. Sharing some personal info is ok if it is relevant to the class. However, the students are not your friends and don't need to know the details of your everyday life."

Finally, you might want to listen to "Women are Over-Mentored (But Under-Sponsored)", which is really more about the world in general, not specifically academics.