Thursday, June 15, 2006

My summer "vacation"

Years ago a student interviewed me for a campus newsletter, and I talked to her about how faculty make a financial sacrifice in order to teach. I explained to her that although I wasn't complaining about my salary, the simple fact is that most full-time PR professors could make a lot more in the industry than in academia--especially those who have highly marketable research skills. Later, when I read her article, I saw her rejoinder: faculty shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves, she wrote, because we get summers off.

Inadvertently, this student made my point better than I did. It's not so much a sacrifice as it is a trade-off of time for money; moreover, it's time that I get to decide how to spend.

So, how am I spending my summer vacation? After attending the Business History Conference in Toronto (on my own dime, let me add), the first thing I did was clean the house from top to bottom. I won't talk about what it looked like before that, but I will say I'm now able to receive visitors. Then I started working my way through a giant backlog of reading-- journals, articles, stuff I'd bookmarked on the Web, miscellaneous magazine and newspaper articles. I'm especially looking forward to this.

I've also picked up where I left off last semester in reading about Guy Debord and the society of the spectacle. I want to understand his Situationist movement better because it's the basis of culture jamming, which has been studied in terms of advertising but not PR. But there are definitely PR implications to creating "situations" like this one.

Next up: Arthur Wilson Page. What a life--his, and mine!

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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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