Friday, July 14, 2006

FinancialRounds:What does a professor do all day

If you are a college professor, you have been asked "what do you do all day" or told "it must be nice only having to teach X courses per semester". Similarly, if you are a student, you no doubt have thought "What an idiot! All he does is teach X courses, why can't he get grades back faster?"

Over at Financial Rounds, the Unknown Professor addresses these questions with two answers. In his first entry, he explains the teaching side of the equation and in the second entry he explains how research works.

From the teaching essay:
"There are two main differences between teaching and research schools: the normal teaching load and the expectations of the amount of research (i.e. publishing) you'll have to do to get tenure. A finance professor at a typical research school teaches a "2/2" load - that is, 2 classes in the fall, and two in the spring. For most schools, this means two or three "preps" a year."
(For comparison, I think I have 4/4 and 5 preps this year, but SBU is known as a teaching school and we have a small department and have someone on sabbatical.)

From the research essay:
"For empiricists like myself, a research project always starts with a question, like "how does the makeup of the board affect a firm's performance?", or "do firms back date their options?" The next step is to gather some data, run a number of statistical tests, write up the results, and then send the paper off to a journal. The whole process can be pretty time consuming, since you often don't know what you'll need to do until you're in the thick of it (new research is, by definition, untrod territory)."
and then later:
"Often the paper is rejected (either up front or after several rounds) at the first journal you send it to. At this point you submit it to another journal, and so on. This process can take quite some time. It's not uncommon for a couple of years to go by between the time a project is started and when it's it a study to take paper to take a well over a year. In fact, a colleague just told me she got a piece published that she started in 1990, and had sent to 6 different journals over the years. Now THAT's determination."
It is definitely worth reading all of each essay!

See, while being a financeprofessor is great, it is not necessarily as easy as you think! ;)

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