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The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Homing In

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director My post-semester sabbatical from blogging lasted a bit longer than I’d anticipated. Nothing bad happened: I simply devoted 100% of my writing efforts to a few manuscripts  I wanted to get off of my desktop.  There are more–there are always more–but I finished the third yesterday, so I feel caught…

Posted on June 20, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,


‘Educationally Purposeful’ Thoughts about Race on Campus

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This week, Vanderbilt is hosting the fourth annual Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U). On the opening night, CFT Director Derek Bruff and I attended the plenary session, along with the 220 participants from as far away as the…

Posted on June 18, 2014 in Commentary, News, , ,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: In Case of Emergency

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director Before flying, we’re told to locate our nearest emergency exits.  If we’re sitting in the emergency row, we must verbally agree to the responsibility of working the  doors and helping our fellow passengers if necessary. Similarly, now that storm season has arrived in the South,* we’ve all prepared our “safe…

Posted on May 1, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: On Another Planet

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director Last year, Forbes declared university professor the Least Stressful Job of the Year (Adams).  The response was so strong that the writer issued a corrective Addendum, and the magazine published a variety of rebuttals explaining the stresses of this seemingly cushy job (c.f., Kroll, Willingham). In the wake of this…

Posted on April 25, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: It’s About Our Students

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director Today is my last day of class, and I feel a little antsy, even a little edgy.  I already have a stack of materials to grade, and I’ll be getting another stack today, and then another during our final exam period.  I have deadlines related to other work activities.  And…

Posted on April 18, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Looking into the Fire

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director In preparation for a talk next week, I was sitting on my floor next to my bookshelves, surrounded by open volumes of literature. (This is the literary scholar’s version of a kid surrounded by unwrapped presents.) I got sidetracked as I revisited one of my favorite passages in one of…

Posted on April 4, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Revisiting Boice

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director I’ve been preparing a one-week summer workshop in humanities pedagogy for a few post-docs starting their positions this fall.  My partner in this development is one of our Graduate Teaching Fellows, Jessica Riviere, who just dotted her i’s and crossed her t’s for graduating (or “walking”) in May. The confluence of…

Posted on March 21, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: The Continual Unfolding of Our Work

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This week was an especially stressful time of the semester. Some of you are looking forward to spring break, but Vanderbilt’s was at the very beginning of March.  The week after break–or, as we often call it, “break”–is hard for instructors and students alike. We see the home stretch in…

Posted on March 14, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: About Time

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This work of mindfulness–in essence, focusing awareness on the present moment–has me noticing more clearly how I experience time. Despite the best efforts of clocks and schedules, time is a subjective, varying, and malleable phenomenon. In October’s “Stories of the Slow Professor,” I wrote about it from the perspective of how…

Posted on March 7, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Busy-Shaming

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director My Women & Gender Studies class talked about “slut shaming” recently, and I’ve since been thinking about another kind of shaming that worries me–and that I want to be careful to avoid. The flurry of popular media discussions of mindfulness (and other topics) have been accompanied by concerns about how…

Posted on February 28, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,