Pop Quiz: What do you get out of conferences?
Hey there, School of Doubt-ers!
Sorry this comes up a bit late, but the normally amazing but occasionally horrible Italian train system kept me from the internet for several more hours today than I originally intended. On the bright side, I had a lovely, stimulating, and productive conference experience over the last few days…good enough even to want to hunker down and get back to work!*
I look forward to this conference every year not just because it’s always a good excuse to travel and catch up with friends and former colleagues, but also because it’s one of the very few times when I am actually surrounded by people who have the faintest idea what I spend most of my time working on (something that is far from guaranteed even in the context of my own institution). It’s a kind of validation that is unfortunately all too rare in the day-to-day academic grind, where one’s own research can sometimes begin to feel like an unappreciated distraction from more pressing institutional concerns…or at least until tenure review comes along.
What about all of you? Do you find professional development or conferences to be useful or validating? Do you sometimes feel like there is too great a disconnect between what you research (or even what interests you) and what you find yourself teaching your students?
*Well, you know, as soon as I get home. There is yet some food to be eaten and wine to be drunk.
The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.