Favorite postings

[At the end of this posting, there’s a request for your opinions. But first, a buildup.]

In what is, I very much hope, an accident, when the label on my Stanford appointment was recently changed from Visiting Professor to Consulting Professor (on the grounds that the labels should be rationalized, with Visiting reserved for people from some other institution who were teaching at Stanford on some temporary basis — unlike me, with my 25 years of Visiting status), I was demoted from Professor (i.e., full professor) to Associate Professor, which I did not take well.

The departmental staff are laboring to fix this. But the event did make me think about what I would have to do to justify a full professorship.

I’ve always been reluctant to distribute my full c.v., since (as I pointed out to colleagues this week) it’s enough to choke a cow (and, even then, it leaves a lot out). Really, no sensible person wants to hear about all of this.

Still, as many people have pointedly said to me, in the Real World (as opposed to the fantastical Academic World in which I’ve lived for 50+ years, blissfully mindless of the stringencies of the world outside the ivied walls), you’re judged not on your track record but on what you achieved last week (or last month, or at most last year).

So at the age of 70+, I am faced with the task of justifying my worth in these terms. There’s a lot against me: my famous papers are back in the past (many of the ones that appeared in obscure places are now available on my website), and I’ve been singularly unsuccessful over the past ten years in getting papers accepted for conferences or publication, to the extent that I’ve simply given up. The LSA, ADS, and NWAV don’t seem to want to hear what I have to say; either my interests and ideas aren’t fashionable, or I’m no longer competent (or both). (I know, this is what happens to old people. Times change.)

But, suppose I have to justify my full professor status to my dean, how do I do it? What have I done recently?

Mostly, posted on blogs: Language Log, my own blog, my X blog, with first drafts in other places, especially ADS-L. I moved my teaching from the classroom onto the web and (to some extent) made it even more vernacular than it was before. For the most part, it feels good, though I am now (alas) thousands of postings behind.

What I’m now asking for is votes for my postings in these three places (LLog, AZBlog, AZBlogX) that have moved, illuminated, educated, or simply entertained you over the years. Send nominations to my gmail account (arnold.zwicky@gmail.com — NOT zwicky@gmail.com, because that would just annoy the hell out of my daughter, and not zwicky@stanford.edu, so that I can segregate the votes from other mail). I’ll assemble them and create a document of favorites to go on my website (and to foward to my dean if necessary).

3 Responses to “Favorite postings”

  1. Serene Says:

    Don’t forget all the times you’re quoted as a language expert!

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    A friend writes to suggest that I should point out to my dean that

    your H-index is 35. Take a look at various people’s H indexes (for the term itself see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-index) and you will see that 35 puts you somewhere near the top 1% of linguists.

    There are even a few Language Log postings in there.

  3. Restored! « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] satisfying news: my Stanford appointment has been re-updated to a (consulting) full professorship. Of course, now I’ve been exploring the evidences of my […]

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