Professor Destressor eNews |
Combining productive work lives and balanced personal lives
Our goal is to bring you news, insights, and information
about leading a balanced and productive life while making
In this issue, you'll find:
- The Pause that Refreshes
- Professor Destressor coaching
- Up and coming workshops
1. The Pause That Refreshes
Quick, before you go into vacation mode, take a
moment to pause and finish fully from your fall
term. Competing these tasks before you go off
to wrap presents, eat gargantuous amounts of
high saturated fats, or go skiing will give you
fabulous closure, help you relax over the break,
and make the rest of your life as a professor
go so much better.
- File your notes from your courses in folders
labeled so that you can find them the next time
you are getting ready to teach those courses
again. Before you shove those notes into a folder,
pause just a moment to debrief from your courses.
Annotate the syllabi with the briefest of notes:
- What went well in the flow of the semester?
- What were the trouble spots and how might you
- What were your favorite classes? What did you do
to make that a good learning experience for your
students and satisfying for yourself?
- File you class evaluations with your notes.
Probably you have read them but you might
consider a quick sorting of them into these piles
so you annotate Cliff Notes versions of the
nuggets from each of the sub-stacks.
- Outliers – these are those 1-3% strange
evaluations that make no sense. The student who
didn’t like your wearing army boots to class
when you know you always wore your blue suede
shoes, the person who complains about having to
read any text material, or the one who says,
“I don’t know how this course went because I
didn’t attend very much.” These feedback forms
keep you up at night worrying that you are not
a good teacher but you are ignoring the fact
that their responses have nothing to do with
you. The boot guy was on drugs, the lazy reader
has undiagnosed dyslexia, and the MIA student
was driving her mother to chemotherapy all
semester. They all need help, but not from you.
- Find the really outstanding evaluations and
make a Cliff Note about what they like. Plan
to do more of those things next semester. You
won’t remember all the nuggets so paper clip
the whole stack of fan letters together, write
your Cliff Note on a sticky note and stick it
on the front of the stack.
- See if any other piles sort themselves and make
notes for course improvements based on their
comments. Paper clip and Cliff Note those
- Take a quick look at your other
accomplishments in scholarly work or service
and make a list of your fall term
accomplishments. This task is easy if you have
been using a Dream Book to track your goals
because the accomplished goals will be stuck to
the back of the pages in each of your vision
statement sections. Reading the Dream Book
backwards will show you at a glance what you
- Make a list of the most important priorities
you want to accomplish when you return to work
after the winter holiday break. Set the list in
the clear space on your desk where the class
notes and evaluations sat before you filed them.
All of these tasks take between one and three
hours depending on whether you teach small
classes or very large classes. They will save
you about one hundred hours – well maybe not
that much but lots of time trying to remember
what you liked and didn’t lie about your fall
classes and where you were with your projects
before you left for winter break.
Don’t try to clean off your whole desk. You have
done the most important tasks to give yourself
great closure for the fall term. Your future self
will thank you for leaving cracker crumbs on the
trail of becoming even more of Peak Performing
Professor than you already are. This short pause
will allow you to refresh yourself guilt-free
for the next few days. You will return to work
energized because you won’t have to search your
memory for where you were in each of your
current projects. It is as if the boss has left
a to-do list on your desk for the winter/spring
term. Oh, that’s right, you are your own boss
on this work.
Now turn off the lights, and enjoy some well
deserved personal time. The work will be there
when you return.
Pause and refresh. I will.
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
- work-life balance,
- strategic career management,
- time management,
- increasing productivity.
Susan provides keynotes and seminars to colleges,
universities and professional organizations on the
She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching session
because she knows that workshops don’t work… unless the
participants apply their learnings.
- work-life balance and stress management,
- faculty development,
- time management,
- leadership strategies for academics,
- relationships skills at home and at work,
- change strategies.
Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or seminar
needs at Susan@ProfessorDestressor.com or at 410-465-5892.
3. Up and coming workshops
Title: "Your Best Year Ever: Managing Your Mission, Yourself, and Your Time"
Date: October 15, 2010
Place: Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Leadership Program for Women Faculty
The next year will be a big writing year for me so I
am limiting my speaking engagements. I am still
accepting a couple more speaking invitations for
faculty work/life balance and leadership workshops for
summer and fall of 2011. Contact me if your college or
university needs a presenter on any of the topics
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© Copyright 2010 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
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Susan Robison, PhD.; 9005 Chevrolet Drive;
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Voice: 410-465-5892 or 410-461-1382