Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mental coffee

It's amazing how being busy can clear your mind. You'd think that a landslide of expectations and obligations would smother your sense of direction. But somehow it acts like that morning cup of coffee -- it focuses me on the task at hand.

Tuesday is a non-teaching day for me. Which really means it is a bust-your-bottom day. As this was the penultimate Tuesday before the term ends, it came with an extra level of urgency.

My research class -- cleverly called "Solving Practical Problems" -- is supposed to have its final survey in the field this week. Thanksgiving, procrastination and technical foibles got in the way, however. I spent the morning and much of the afternoon reformatting their questions so the online survey would actually work

During "breathers," I processed the 61 email messages that had arrived since midnight. That meant I had to answer sets of questions from two student researchers -- one from California and the other from New York -- who solicited me as an "expert." And field a half dozen questions about a GPS project I'm toying with. And find the revised dissertation I was supposed to read and approve.

But I took time to have lunch with Associate Dean Brian Brooks, my mentor and guide in the academic world. He wanted me to explain how I was working with Missouri community newspapers for my editorial writing class and to explore how we might expand the idea. He is always a great sounding board.

So now I'm hammering away at this blog before I have to leave for a meal with a church "Dinners for 8" group. Wednesday I teach, then jump into the RJI "Information Valet" conference.

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