Comments on: I can haz homework assignment? http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:15:50 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: High school student: U R doin’ it rite! : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-587722 Sat, 03 Apr 2010 16:37:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-587722 [...] (If you recall, we’ve already covered how not to ask strangers for help, high school edition here and grad school edition here and here.) [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-400194 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 15:01:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-400194 Shaz–interesting point. I think you’re right: asking randomly is different in kind and in scale from expecting gratis assistance repeatedly, year after year.

Squadrato–those thoughts crossed my mind, but I wondered: why wouldn’t someone who had already done some basic research indicate that in hir first e-mail? When I have contacted people I don’t know for assistance like that, I do a little homework first and let them know which books I’ve consulted and/or what I’ve been able to figure out on my own. IOW, I think it was the open-ended nature of the request that flabbergasted FFP (and me, too!)

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By: squadratomagico http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-400151 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 13:43:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-400151 It sounds as if the student was, indeed, hoping simply to present FFP’s bio verbatim. However, isn’t it also within the realm of possibility that the student was researching FFP’s publications and such as well? Perhaps s/he was really doing a thorough job, by asking the prof. how s/he saw hir own intellectual trajectory?

Though, given the email address snafu (new info. in the comments) perhaps not…

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By: Shaz http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-400133 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 13:14:07 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-400133 There is, I think, a fundamental difference between inappropriate cocktail (or airplane) conversation and a school assignment to exploit a professional’s expertise.

Don’t get me wrong; I think History Day and all kinds of K-12 outreach are great, and I’ve happily done them multiple times a year for the past decade. I’m a big believer in volunteering — but I see that as different from an expectation of my services on demand.

Certainly, I’d be more predisposed to someone who had done research and asked questions that weren’t just, “Tell me about Martin Luther King.” But I still can’t get over the feeling that our profession is (perhaps because, in part, of relative gender equality compared to other disciplines?) not respected. Are scientists being regularly asked to do school assignments in this way (and would most (men) even consider responding)? My scientist friends (engineers, computer scientists) have never been contacted for a comparable school project. The one physicist I know who volunteers in schools is a woman dedicated to increasing women in the sciences.

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By: Another Damned Medievalist http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-399700 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 04:14:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-399700 I vote with Crazy on this. Assume cluelessness and give kind advice

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By: undine http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-399659 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 03:24:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-399659 I answer the interview requests and the research requests, and I usually get a thank-you note (via email) in response. The ones that make my heart sink a little, though, are the thank-you notes that have some variation of “Thank you so much! I’ll get back to you with more questions soon.”

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By: New Kid on the Hallway http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-399520 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 01:31:44 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-399520 I think there is a public expectation that land-grant universities *are* there to serve the people of the state, and therefore (no matter how many other ways that institution is actually serving the people of the state), individual professors should be accountable to the individual people of the state, including by answering their questions. (I don’t agree with this – I think actually teaching students and doing research fulfills any public responsibility just fine – but I think people do feel this way.)

I’ve been thanked pretty much equally by men and women students, but the women were much more likely to do so with a handwritten notecard (usually with flowers on it). The men usually sent me an e-mail.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-399416 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 23:51:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-399416 Dr. Crazy–good points. I wonder if class has something to do with it too, in that students who always expected to go to college may not be as appreciative of extra help as the students who are first-generation college students or who never imagined that they’d be earning a degree?

Interesting point by LadyProf about northern women, too.

One of the interesting points raised in the comments earlier I wanted to address is the notion that the public expects more from faculty at public unis than from faculty at private unis. (This also came up last week in the thread in which Mamie described being berated for her interest in the history of slavery especially because it was a “waste of taxpayers’ money” since she teaches at a public uni.

I wonder if any of us think about this at all when contemplating job offers? (Not that most of us have more than one job to choose from at a time, as I know from my own experiences!) It’s nothing I ever thought about until coming to Baa Ram U., which is the first and only public institution I’ve been affiliated with since graduating from a public high school. All of my previous employment experience, and my entire education from B.A. through the Ph.D. was at private colleges and universities. And, given the fact that the people of my great state contribute less than 10% of Baa Ram U.’s budget, I think we’re only a public university any more in a very attenuated fashion.

Do faculty at public unis owe more to the public at large than do faculty at private unis? Do faculty at private unis owe more to other interested stakeholders (benefactors, alumni/alumnae, or the like) than faculty at public unis? I have to say that I try to be helpful to whomever asks for assistance, but that I don’t feel the need to be *especially* accomodating to random e-mails now that I teach at a public uni.

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By: Dr. Crazy http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-399411 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 23:36:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-399411 I’m glad that LadyProf commented about the regional nature of thank-yous, but I’ve got to say, I’ve been thanked by male and female students nearly equally in my current position. (How much does this have to do with institutional culture as well as region, though? That’s a further level of this whole discussion.) It is probably true that female students are more likely to give me gifts or cards – that is surely gendered – but one of the most beautiful thank-yous I’ve ever received was an extra entry in a response journal in which the graduating male student wrote a letter to me about how important I was to his intellectual development at the university. In other words, not all male students think they are entitled to help or mentoring, just as all female students are not universally polite and courteous and generous with the thanks. What’s perhaps most interesting to me is the fact that my students (male and female) frequently thank me for things that are seriously part of my job and not above and beyond the call of duty, whereas randoms on teh internets who contact my professional email rarely thank me, even though I’ve no obligation to help them out. I’d think that if you contact a stranger to pick her brain that a thank you, if she responds at all, would be the obvious thing to do if she responds. Apparently, no.

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By: LadyProf http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/09/i-can-haz-homework-assignment/comment-page-1/#comment-399218 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 20:53:10 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6779#comment-399218 My experience with thank-you notes has been regional as well as gendered. When I taught in the south they flowed in copiously, often for tiny favors and 100% from female students. The women I teach these days up north don’t bother.

Doctors and lawyers I know of both genders (real estate lawyers in particular) are PELTED with demands from strangers for free information. I think men actually get more of it when the questioners’ personal stakes are higher–perhaps because people think they are the real deal in their fields. Whereas women at the same level of seniority are presumed less qualified, unauthoritative, or eccentric.

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