Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How a professor spends his summer “vacation”

How a professor spends his summer “vacation”

Courses have ended for the school year and my grades have been turned in. I attended commencement Sunday and said goodbye to some outstanding students (and people) that I got to know well over the past four years. I am excited about summer starting, but many people assume that I have a vacation until late August. (I have literally had some people say “so you’re on vacation for 4 months, wow!) I don’t blame them, honestly, as they wouldn’t necessarily have any reason for knowing what a (productive) professor might do over the summer “break”. However, a professor who doesn’t keep active in his/her field quickly will be far less interesting and informed, and teaching and research skills will diminish quickly. I don’t let that happen.

I get excited about summer as it is a change in routine, and I get to do what I want (mostly) for the time. I do work a lighter schedule than during the school year, but I am by no means doing nothing.

Here I will detail a bit about how I plan to spend my summer vacation:

Day-to-day research activities:

• Complete a requested revision on a paper on Internet Poker for the Journal of Gambling Issues.

• Revise a paper on the willingness-to-pay/willingness-to-accept disparity for submission to a new journal.

• Run experimental auctions to collected data from smokers on a project funded by the National Institutes of Health.

• Begin a new project I am beginning that will systematically review economic impact studies and critique their bias. (new website soon to be up: economicimpactreview.com)

• Write a new paper with a colleague from Kenyon College examining the impact of practice round bids on experimental auctions

• Continue writing two papers with a colleague from the University of South Carolina examining issues relating to experimental auction bids on cigarettes from a dataset we collected in 2009.

• Work on other projects as they arise.

Day-to-day non-research (work) activities:

• Continue work on other consulting projects as they may arise.

• Start to prepare the schedule for when I will be in London in the spring 2012 semester.

• Get prepared for courses that I will teach in the fall (this won’t likely happen until August).

Scheduled Events:

Here is my list of scheduled trips (as of now). More might be added, but as of now I know I will:

Early June: Travel to MN to visit family and attend my cousin’s wedding (4 nights).

Mid June: Travel to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker (5 nights).

Late June: Camping trip with son for Cub Scouts (3 nights)

Late July: Trip to Pittsburgh for conference where I will present a paper. Family is attending and we will stay an extra day to enjoy the city.


I am starting a new workout regime – P90X. One advantage of my summer schedule is I can devote a bit more time to getting in shape. I actually now am 30 lbs. lighter than my heaviest weight, but am hoping to drop another 10-15 over the summer.

I am blessed to have such a great job. I love teaching, but I also love being able to work on these other areas.  Summer will be busy, but fun!

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