August Anxieties: The New Teaching Year Approaches; Is That Article Finished Yet?

For academics in the Northern Hemisphere, August is a fulcrum.

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47e2-d1df-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.wIt’s depressing: Our summer scholarship project(s) may still be incomplete, the deadlines seeming to be rebukes rather than reasonable timetables.  Or if we have finished, the end product is somehow not quite as spectacular as we had envisioned in June.

But it is also exciting!  New classes and new students and new notebooks (or at least new laptop files).  Yet this also brings its own distress, not only because of unfinished scholarship but because of the demands of teaching, not to mention committee, governance, and other administrative work that faculty members do.

One way to address the annual August anxieties is to reject the idea of a stark separation between “summer” and the “academic year,” and look for synergies between scholarship and teaching that enliven both.  I’ve tried to do this in an essay, Enhancing Reciprocal Synergies Between Teaching and Scholarship, published in the Journal of Legal Education last year and available on CUNY Academic Works, as well as available – – – for now – – – on the once-open source ssrn.  The article discusses the types of synergies that exist between teaching and scholarship for the legal academic  – – – the professional, methodological, theoretical and doctrinal – – – which are easily adaptable to other academics.  As is the overall suggestion that we should try to “pay attention” to the synergies between teaching and scholarship rather than viewing them as discrete, or even conflicting.

The article closes with a discussion of three “habits” of paying attention aimed at enhancing the reciprocal synergies between teaching and scholarship:  letting the subconscious work, commemorating one’s thoughts & ideas, and engaging in “daily practice” – or not.

[image: “The Harvest Queen,” via]