Summer “vacation”

I’m blogging over at Higher Education’s Premier Online Publication today. Join me over there, or read on:

I am on a nine-month appointment. That means I don’t get paid for the summer.  But because I have a heavy teaching load during the school year, summer is when I catch up on research.

I think this is pretty common,  especially as research expectations have ratcheted up at regional and two-year institutions, while teaching loads have held constant.  We don’t have enough hours in the day during the school year to get much research done. We have to catch up in the summer.

I recently had a brief  exchange with someone in our Office of Student Retention. She emailed me after the last day of the semester to request some information, which I provided within ninety minutes. She wrote back to “thank” me:

Aloha Frankie,

Mahalo for your reply. I appreciate the resources. Your vacation message does relay that one needs to wait until August 17 to hear back from you. For faculty that is here in the summer, that sounded pretty darn far away. Enjoy your break and safe journeys.

This is extremely annoying. I am not “enjoying” a “break” while hardworking folks like my correspondent slave away on campus. “Vacation” means you’re getting paid while not working. I am not getting paid, while working. It’s the exact opposite of vacation.

I’m not going to say anything to her. It wouldn’t make any difference. But I’d welcome suggestions for a “vacation” message that makes it clear I’m not on vacation.


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