As usual, I underestimated the mass of work that slams me during the first school days. I tried to have as many things done ahead of time as possible, syllabi and so on. But some things you can’t foresee. Xavier is about to undergo accreditation, an event that takes place every ten years, and which takes several years to complete. That means updating faculty vitas (resumes) and filling out many other forms. We also have to turn in an annual (but more extensive now) update sheet that basically tells the university administration everything important we’ve done in the past academic year—from August to August.
The areas in which our updates are made in are: Teaching, Scholarship, University Service, Public Service, and Collegiality. We also have a section labeled “Other Pertinent Information,” for things that don’t fit the big five categories.
For teaching, I list courses that I’ve taught and any new developments for those classes. For scholarship, I count non-fiction pieces only, and only those that have some relationship to the areas I teach in. I count writing articles, for example, since I teach “Writing in Psychology,” but a piece on “Sword & Sorcery” wouldn’t count. As for fiction, Xavier, as does most universities, looks askance at fiction and poetry publications for anyone outside the English Creative Writing Department. I have been known to mention some of this stuff under “Other Pertinent Information,” but I doubt it’s ever helped me. In fact, I’m sometimes convinced it works against me. Maybe I’m not working hard enough at my career if I have time to write a novel, for example.
For University service, I mention committees I serve on, particularly the Internal Review Board (Human subjects committee), which I’m chair of. And for public service I mention public lectures that I’ve given on various issues related to psychology, or writing, or evolution, or dreams. I do list the talks here that I gave at Babel Con and similar venues.
I’ve actually never minded much doing these updates. It gives me a chance to take stock, to put into writing the things I feel I’ve accomplished over the year. As a person with a streak of OCD, I rather like making lists, and updates are kind of like lists. Just expanded ones.
How about you? How often, if ever, do you “take stock?” What categories are important in your life? Your career?