Professor Destressor eNews
Combining productive work lives and balanced personal lives
Fall 2008

Our goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and productive life while making a difference.

In this issue, you'll find:

  1. Strong Start to the Semester
  2. Professor Destressor coaching
  3. Up and coming workshops

1. Strong Start to the Semester

Those lazy hazy days of summer are over again. Didn’t it seem that they just began a week or so ago? The fall semester is upon you and if you are like most professors, you are feeling a bit anxious and overwhelmed. When I was a full time professor, my colleagues and I joked about waking up in cold sweats with pre-semester nightmares about arriving for class in our pajamas or showing up in the wrong building or teaching a class of students who rudely ignored the teacher. To calm some of your back-to-school jitters, take a few moments to plan how to have a strong start to the semester with your goals clearly in mind and your work life organized enough to feel confident and hopeful about a good semester.

Teaching Strong Starts

As a teaching faculty member you have two tasks that will make your semester start strong: a well-prepared syllabus, and a good first class.

A well-prepared syllabus has these elements:

A strong start to a great first class includes:

Research Strong Starts

One area of feeling overwhelmed for most faculty is how to find time for scholarly work while still being prepared for class. For a strong start in your research role, block out writing appointments with yourself as though you were committed to a class hour at that time. When you were a student, if you were a smart student, you took your class schedule and then blocked in class preparation time around your classes. Similarly, as a smart professor you will want to sit down with your schedule, fill in with your classes and add class preparation and grading. Plug in your office hours including electronic office hours, those announced times when you promise your students you will deliver prompt replies to their emails. Then reserve time for standing meetings such as with your graduate students or committees. You should still have about 15 hours across the week to work on your research and writing. If you don’t, you may be spending your class preparation time ineffectively or perhaps you have overcommitted to service work.

If you have problems with staying on target with your research commitments, find accountability outside of yourself until you can build better habits.

Community Building Strong Starts

Many professors fail to consider that part of their job is building good relationships with colleagues, administrators and students. While tenure application do not ask, “Are you a popular cool kid that others like?,” your social intelligence skills impact your career in more subtle ways.

Conclusion

Get a strong start to the semester and it will be a great one.

Susan Robison


2. Professor Destressor Workshops and Coaching

About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a psychologist and an independent educator. She is professor of psychology at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and offers services as a professional coach, speaker, author and seminar leader. She loves to coach professionals who want improvement in:

If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal life, give Susan a call for a complementary half-hour coaching session.

Susan provides keynotes and seminars to colleges, universities and professional organizations on the topics of:

She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching session because she knows that workshops don’t work… unless the participants apply their learnings.

Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or seminar needs at Susan@ProfessorDestressor.com or at 410-465-5892.


3. Up and coming workshops

I am currently accepting speaking invitations work-life balance and leadership workshops for winter and spring 2009. Contact me if your group needs a speaker on any of the topics listed above.

Title: "Peak Performance Practices of Highly Effective and Happy Faculty”
Date: October 22-25, 2009
Place: Professional and Organizational Network in Higher Education; Reno, NV
Registration, fee, and directions: see the POD website http://podnetwork.org/conferences/2008/

Title: "Peak Performance Practices of Highly Effective and Happy Faculty"
Date: November 20-23, 2008
Place: Lilly International Conference on College and University Teaching; Miami University; Oxford, Ohio
Registration, fee, and directions: see the Lilly website http://www.units.muohio.edu/lillycon/

To start receiving the Professor Destressor e-Newsletter send an email with “Please send Professor Destressor” in the Subject to: Susan@Professor Destressor.com. To stop receiving send an email with “Stop Professor Destressor” in the Subject to: Susan@ProfessorDestressor.com.

Professor Destressor e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

© Copyright 2008 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without the publisher’s permission.

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