Researching While Administrating

a pile of binders

Although at ProfHacker we tend to write from the point of view of faculty members, it’s also the case that many folks will move into an administrative, or at least quasi-administrative, role for some period in their career. (I’ve seen departments where everyone takes a turn being chair, for example.)

It’s a mistake to think of a shift into administration as necessarily a death knell for one’s research, although obviously the pace or focus of that research might change. (This is a topic of special interest to me at the moment, for reasons that will become clear in time. [Waves at not-quite-ready-to-announce book project.])

I was delighted, then, to catch up with a recent episode of Katie Linder’s helpful Research in Action podcast in which she focuses expressly on researching as administrators, with three guests from Suffolk University: Monika Raesch, Frank Rudy Cooper, and Pat Reeve. Some of the advice is pretty straightforward–for example, waiting to understand the rhythms of a new role before you fully block out time for writing, but there is also a useful discussion of ways to get back on the horse, as it were, after getting derailed:

The way this article started was, I don’t recall exactly how many weeks had passed, but I had basically become the department chair, and at one point I took stock of my résumé, of my C.V., and I got a little heart attack that I hadn’t published something in the recent past. And I’m currently editing a book, and, right, that always takes longer. There is no [inaudible], like, a short-term outcome of this. So, I announced in the writing group to Pat, Frank, and Micky that my plan was to get an article published, and that, I suppose, is another challenge (sort of from the previous segment into this segment), that I feel that the administrative role does impact in-depth research negatively, but it opens up all these opportunities to actually write shorter articles or less-in-depth research-based articles, and it opened up my door to all these publications [sic] that I had never known about before, such as the department chair.

It’s definitely worth a listen! (Or, because Katie helpfully makes a full transcript available for each episode, a quick read!)

Do you have strategies for writing as an administrator? Please share in comments!

Photo “Bureaucracy/Bürokratie III” by Flickr user Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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