Mary Anne's Reviews > The Academic Self: An Owner's Manual

The Academic Self by Donald E. Hall
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really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, pedagogy
Recommended to Mary Anne by: Deanna

This one is a little hard for me to rate. I think that happens to me when I read non-fiction.

Slight background: my professor mentioned this book several years ago as something she was interested in reading. The book came up as a topic of conversation and possible relevance during my first thesis defense (with my thesis including the topic of teachers as whole people who also have spiritual/faith-based identities). So the professor/my advisor lent me her copy.

While Hall says that this book is useful for all people who are interested in higher education, by they graduate students or full tenure professors, I would make a slight refinement there. This has certainly been useful for me, as I am a current graduate student and lecturer at our campus. While a lot of the information and recommendations apply specifically to tenure-track faculty, it certainly gives graduate students a heads-up in the event that they are interested in working in higher education. I also totally recommend that tenure-track faculty read/revisit this book every so often. It would be immensely helpful.

In the postscript to the book, Hall summarizes the book as something that emphasizes "a supple awareness of both the text of ourselves and the context(s) in which we work and live, a continuing exploration of our own agency and a willingness to accept what we cannot change, a sense of self-reliance alongside contributions to and a recognition of our continuing reliance upon others" (p. 89). If nothing else, Hall emphasizes our role in our departments and communities. We may only seem like small fish in a big department pool, but what are we doing to make that department better and to maintain good relationships with our colleagues? There's a lot of discussion and room for reflection regarding attitudes and behaviors that can lead to positive change.

One other part that I love that will work for my thesis: "Our writing, our teaching, and our professional community building provide many and always-changing opportunities for creating a network of meaning: by building bridges between our theories and practices; by integrating our broadest political/social goals and our day-to-day institutional activities; and by linking our intellectual principles with our concrete actions toward colleagues, students, and administrators. Indeed, this is a quickened, multiplied consciousness that encompasses both my professional and personal lives. It is, in short, my passion" (p. 91).

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Reading Progress

December 23, 2011 – Shelved
December 23, 2011 – Shelved as: non-fiction
December 23, 2011 – Shelved as: pedagogy
January 1, 2012 – Started Reading
January 4, 2012 –
page 28
January 4, 2012 –
page 43
January 5, 2012 –
page 66
January 6, 2012 – Finished Reading

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