This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.
Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1861)
It's that time of year in mid-April when many faculty have to file a Faculty Activity Report. In my department, the purposes of this report are several:
(1) Even tenured faculty have to demonstrate activity; the chair makes decisions about the balance of teaching and service depending on level of research activity.
(2) Merit raises, when they existed, were decided in part based on the activities reported in April.
(3) Advertising: this is how we can show some of our colleagues (the ones on the committee that reviews the reports) what we are doing. Faculty opinions of how and what colleagues are doing are based in part on fact and in part on perceptions. It has happened to me several times over the years that a senior colleague has reviewed my annual report and been amazed to find that I had lots of papers and grants. Why were they surprised? Because I don't look like someone who has lots of papers in grants? One wonders.. Anyway, this is one reason why I am always happy to submit my annual report, even in years when there are no raises possible.
I therefore write a fairly detailed report. I like doing this for myself as well, as it gives me a perspective on what I got done and what I didn't get done during the year and starts me thinking about what I want to accomplish over the summer and in the coming academic year.
However detailed my report is, though, when I am on a committee reviewing other people's reports, I am often surprised by what other people think to put on their reports. I saw one item recently that someone had on their CV under 'awards'. It was something that I had received on a number of occasions as well, but had never considered it an award. Perhaps I still have a lot to learn about self-promotion.
Or perhaps too much information suggests a certain lack of dignity, and it would be better to be vague. A few months ago when the so-called BBC book list was circulating and everyone was noting how many of the 100 listed books they had read, I noticed that I had read all but 4. I looked at the remaining 4 and decided that I had no interest whatsoever in 3 of them, but I would try the 4th, The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. I was very entertained by the title page, which is a copy of the one published in 1861:
THE WOMAN IN WHITE.
AUTHOR OF "ANTONINA", "THE DEAD SECRET", ETC. ETC.
Somehow I think that "etc. etc." wouldn't be as effective for me, but it certainly would be more efficient when compiling the annual report.
12 years ago