In a holding patternPosted: May 25, 2012
I spent the two-week period at the end of the spring semester putting the finishing touches on the first three chapters of my dissertation, so that I could submit it to my committee. It’s amazing how things finally come together when there’s a deadline… I mean, a goal… yes, a goal! My prospectus hearing is scheduled for June 5, and I am looking forward to presenting and defending my proposal. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s in pretty good shape. I’ve also written my IRB protocol, so I will be ready to send that off as soon as my proposal is accepted.
In the meantime, I am trying to catch up on all those projects that have taken a back seat to my dissertation. There’s an article to finish writing, data from surveys to analyze, two surveys to develop and administer, an evaluation report to write, and a whole bunch of other lingering tasks. It’s nice to start plodding through these activities and finish them.
This has also been a good time to think critically about my job search and the kind of position that would be a good fit for me. I once heard someone described as “a mile wide and an inch deep”. For some reason, that expression really made an impression on me. Although I’d like to think of myself as more than an inch deep, the description fits me too. I am a generalist…. which doesn’t mean that I don’t have any specialized skills… it just means that I like variety. I want to be able to do a little bit of everything. I have a broad range of experience, and there are many kinds of jobs that would suit me. I enjoy teaching, whether it’s in a traditional classroom, a one-on-one mentoring relationship, or a training situation. I also like doing research, investigating a problem, deciding on valid measures, and conveying results to people who care. These activities have a place in the realm of institutional research and institutional effectiveness, but they also fit other kinds of academic and administrative positions in higher education.
So far, I have only submitted a few job applications, and I have been strategic. I have applied for positions at places where I think I would have the opportunity for variety in my work and where I think I could make an impact. Generally, these schools are smaller than VCU. Now, I am in a holding pattern, waiting to see where the path takes me.