Archive for October, 2013

On standing down from heading an (academic) Department.

October 26, 2013

At the end of November 2013, I stand down from heading up a Department, a job I’ve been doing for the last five and a half years. I’m not retiring, just becoming plain “Prof”, and no longer “Prof and Head of Department”. There’s about 20 academics in the Department, plus quite a few others, secretaries, technicians (well, half a technician), computer support staff, so heading them up has been quite a big job. Not that I’ve stopped doing research or teaching, but they have had to take second place often to the requirements of the Headship quite a lot of the time. It feels like something of a wrench, even if it is certainly time to stand down.

In fact, it really feels as though I’m taking up a new job. I like my successor, and I’m sure he’ll do well, and the next month will be spent doing some sort of handover. Then I’ll have to get rid of a great deal of paper from my office (and, of course, I’ll be moving office too: not exactly sure where to, but not too far).  And then?

Now I have the chance to pursue what I want to do a academically. I have a semester of research leave booked from February next year, but I really need to plan. But what is it that I want to do? I know the three areas of research that I work on, three areas I publish in from time to time: but I fear that without the limitation of continuous disturbance (“Can I just speak to you for a minute…”), I’ll flit from one to the other to the other without achieving anything. I’m very conscious that limitation has always helped me forward: can I now show the maturity (I’m surely old enough!) to work in a disciplined way without the external pressures to force me to?

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