Our recent post “Help Dr. X take their vacation” received many spirited replies.
Some offered practical suggestions for Lecturers like Dr. X who teach three terms a year:
- Post online content instead of class instruction for two weeks. How would chairs feel about this? What about students who listen to the online content and then email with a question or ask for help? Would the answer “I’m on vacation and will get back to you” be satisfactory?
- Get someone else to cover your classes for two weeks. This sounds great, except … who would that be? Would you regularly take on extra work to “cover” for a colleague on vacation?
- Take a holiday during fall break and reading week. Since many faculty use the “break” to mark or to prepare, a holiday at this time would take very careful planning. And some faculty have been called out for not being available to students or for not answering work emails during these times.
It’s also worth noting that Lecturers are far more likely than Professors to be held to the requirements of Memorandum of Agreement 11.2.3: “Vacation shall be scheduled at a time or times which are mutually satisfactory to the Member and the Department Chair.”
But some replies to the blog, both in the comments and elsewhere, hinted that vacations weren’t really the “done thing.”
Do academics even take vacations?
A recent meme suggests that eschewing vacations is a particularly North American phenomenon.
Could the “American” attitude also be the normal academic one? Do we dismiss the very idea of taking time away from our jobs?
If so, what are the costs of an academic culture that values, not just work, but overwork? What, for example, are we modelling for (and expecting from) our graduate students if “no vacations” is the accepted norm? Is this healthy—physically, socially, psychologically?Continue reading “Real academics don’t take vacations?”