Monday, June 16, 2014

Passion revisited

In a response to a Guest Blog post on Passion by Greg Lamphear (well over a year ago now), one of my readers asked:

"Is passion something that guides the process or is there a way to write passion into academic text? I would love to see an example."

I have sat with this question for a long, long time. In part, I have been trying to think of a neat, simple answer to the question; one does not exist. Perhaps there is not only one response, as there is a lot to unpack here, so let me start today, and continue over the next few weeks.

First, passion is what brings our scholarship to life (hopefully). We enter wanting to know, to learn, to explore; we enter our doctoral programs with passion, enthusiasm, and a great deal of energy. Yet, the process of doctoral education, and sometimes the climb through the ranks of tenure and promotion can make it hard to keep one's passion. Methods that may not be congruent with our topics. Chairs that push us in directions that we don't wish to go. Opportunities that sound too good to miss but lead us astray.

This can especially true for people with "outside the box" interests that may not be appealing to "R1" universities and programs that want to bring in big grant money and fit into "the research machine".  What people forget is that there are many kinds of universities, and many potential homes to wind up at.  Being who you are, and going to a place that is a good fit, is not a failure.  I am a big believer in following ones bliss; life is too short.

More later.

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