Category Archives: Academic Life

Marking, marking everywhere and not a moment to lose

My close family and friends know from experience that the last two weeks in November are my least favourite of the calendar year, closely followed by the last two weeks in January.  This is not due to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or the necessity to get organised for a big family Christmas.  Instead it is down to the stress induced by a massive marking load which falls year after year on these dates – November is assignment marking time and January exam marking time. Continue reading Marking, marking everywhere and not a moment to lose

Is it Welcome Week already ?

As a lecturer in the School of MACE, my work routine is very much organised around the academic year.  From my office in the Pariser building I have observed the ebb and flow of the student population for several years now.  Between September and June the campus is a hive of activity; students and staff striding purposefully across North Campus, huge numbers of emails, frequent visitors to the office, teaching and marking deadlines to meet.  And then shortly after the end of June everything calms down, time seems to slow, and Sackville Street empties as the majority of the student population (excepting Management of Projects and postgraduate research students, of course) leaves Manchester to enjoy the summer break.  You might be forgiven for thinking that lecturers too enjoy an extended summer holiday – at least this is what much of the general population seems to believe.  Continue reading Is it Welcome Week already ?

Parallel Tracks: First reflections on the use of twitter at conferences

This week I attended the PMI Global Congress in Istanbul.  It was the first conference I have been to since I became an avid user of the social networking site Twitter and it struck me that with continuous wifi access to Twitter by smartphone, tablet or lap-top you are in effect attending two conferences simultaneously – the live face- to-face conference track and the virtual social media enabled one.  This richness of experience brings benefits and presents a number of challenges for both speakers and attendees: Continue reading Parallel Tracks: First reflections on the use of twitter at conferences

Part-time working in Academia

A colleague of mine has recently reduced her working week from 5 to 3 days, and has been struggling to contain her work within the new 3 day week.  Given that I have been wrestling with the same issue over the last 7 years, we met for lunch last week to swap tips on how to manage reduced hours working in the open-ended and pretty unstructured environment of a UK university.  Here are some thoughts for those of you who may be in similar situation or considering a switch to reduced hours working.

Continue reading Part-time working in Academia

Twitter: A font of knowledge or the ultimate distraction

Twitter_FS2I was at first a reluctant convert to Twitter. It took a fair amount of cajoling from academic colleagues here in Manchester, before I took my first tentative steps into the Twittersphere. My first foray was short-lived. Signing up early in 2012, I immediately encountered the unique language of Twitter. I found the notion of “followers” and “following” a little disconcerting. I heard myself shouting inwardly “I don’t want to be anybody’s follower. I am an independent free thinking individual”. This sense of being a follower of a particular individual, and worse still, being defined in part by the number of Twitter followers that you have seemed to embody and promote the contemporary cult of celebrity in a way that I found slightly uncomfortable. I promptly closed the Twitter App on my phone and moved on to more substantive items on my To Do List.

Continue reading Twitter: A font of knowledge or the ultimate distraction