IRB’s, paper-writing, and looking for funding

Sometimes, I forget I’m teaching two classes. Seriously. Some days, I get so swept up by my other work that it becomes more real than the 150 students that are currently taking my class (don’t worry! they very quickly remind me of their existence!). I think it’s because at my R1 institution, teaching is only a fraction (I want to say a third? it could be less) of what I’m hired to do. Today is one of those days when my other responsibilities take over my day and I momentarily forget about the 150 kids who are looking to me for their grade. I started writing up my IRB proposal, which feels like an enormous hassle (mostly because it is!). This year, my project won’t get away from “exempt” status, so I am anticipating a slow turnaround and some painful(ly tedious) revisions. It’s a project I’m excited about, though my main collaborator has me a little nervous –one of the vicissitudes of working in other countries is dealing with their own institutional cultures, and a recent election means considerably political upheaval and administrative changes at my field site. It’s a bit nerve-wracking but I’m learning to roll with the punches, otherwise I will drive myself nuts. The nice thing about startup is that if I wind up getting to my field city and doing a whole new project because my current field site becomes unavailable, it’s no biggie. It will suck for the two grants I am about to turn in, but I’m not expecting to get either one so again, no biggie.

Ah, the grant-writing process. Before, when I thought I was going to submit one of those huge grants to NIH or NSF, I was considerably more stressed out. Now that I’ve set my sights on a couple of foundations, I feel a little less overwhelmed. It just feels like if I can get some preliminary results published and give myself a little more time to develop my project, I will be in better shape to apply in the future. It would be nice to get a little bit of extra money, or money to fund my research for the next couple of years, but right now I just want to get some data I can publish. So, one grant application is done and awaiting a letter of support, and I started working on the second one today. Hopefully, I can get both out before they are due.

And then of course there is my conference paper, which I am supposed to submit to the discussants tomorrow. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but the two discussants on my panel are women whose work I deeply admire and whose research is very close to my own. I am thrilled that they are reading my work, and I really, really, want to get as much as I can out of this experience. The manuscript stands at about 18 pages now, but it will need quite a bit of theoretical re-working before I am ready to submit it for publication. Right now, it needs a better articulated discussion, and I need to conclude it somehow. In the next hour and a half. Huh. Guess I’d better get to it, then. For what it’s worth, I’ve decided to write it as an article first, and get it submitted. I can re-write it for the book later. Any thoughts on how book chapters in monographs look different than peer-reviewed articles? I feel like the main difference is structural, because the book chapter is part of a greater whole, but I’d love to hear some thoughts if anyone out there has some.

Oh, yeah! And then there’s my students, dying to find out how they did on their last assignment.

Thank God for TA’s.