New Year's Resolutions for 2020: A Baker's Dozen

Decorative: Written on the January 1 page of a journal, "New Year - Fresh Start!"


"Academics' New Year Yearsolution for 2020" (post) lists some academics' "ideas about how to improve their professional and personal lives at the dawn of the new decade."

  • Below is a selection of their professional resolutions:

1. "[R]ead less economics – and more novels."

  • "[N]ovels help to fill a gaping hole in economics, capturing the reality of human behaviour, going beyond aspects of life that are quantifiable and easily captured in simple mathematical models, and exploring the interplay between individual and society."

2. "[D]evise a really good filter so that I can properly distinguish between the signal and the noise." 

  • "I like to try to cover everything that comes into the office.
  • "I am beginning to creak under the weight of all that’s out there."

3. "[K]eep talking and 'banging on' about why racist practices continue in the so-called liberal academy."

  • "I will keep saying the unsayable because, by remaining silent, we become complicit in perpetuating racism."

4. "[R]ethin[k] my office hours and their function as well as figur[e] out ways to locate first-gen students and give them the skills they need to succeed at university."

  • "[T]hese students ... are very vulnerable to dropping out within a year or two."

5. "[D]isregard negative reactions to me and the book project I’m working on."

  • "I’m going to focus on why people are reacting this way and shape the book to consider/refute their positions."
  • "If I’m getting strong reactions, I must be on to something strong."

6. "[G]ain skills to manage projects, attention, and tasks."

  • "Often ... I prioritise what is most urgent, which means that by the end of term ... my broader projects have yet to be tackled."

7. "[A]bando[n] my resistance to using social media to communicate with research students."

  • "Since I am blessed with the most creative and globe-trotting PhD students, their regular international travel and the odd potentially dangerous situation have led to slippage into WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook."

8. "[P]lan and initiate ways to make space for people of colour in the academy."

  • Implement "anti-racist practices of decolonising curricula and bringing in the voices and experiences of others that urgently need to be embraced and fostered by white colleagues in leadership roles."
  • "[I]nvolve scholars (and potential scholars) of colour in their design without placing additional burdens on them."
  • "[C]onsciously ... give up space myself, however vulnerable this may make me feel."

9. "[M]ore explicitly ... face the urgency of our times."

  • This includes "the challenge of how, under the spectre of interlinked ecological, social and political forms of fracture, we are to live together in our common home."

10. "[W]or[k] only on projects that make [me] happy and with people who make [me] laugh."

  • "[S]ometimes the fit just isn’t right, and it can take real courage to accept this, let alone do something about it."

11. "[F]ocus on institution-building."

  • "With so many institutions and belief structures disintegrating at the moment, ... it’s refreshing to be around people who believe that their institution, however small, is doing something important and unimpeachably good."

12. "[R]ead more books ... slowly."

  • "I became an academic to read, first and foremost, and now (like everyone else) I mainly read in snatches, at high speed, and in a state of distraction – which is hardly reading at all."

13. "[I]ncrease my level of trust, ... restore some essential intellectual naivety, ... allow more buds to blossom, and ... give fewer passes to safe science."

  • "Staying youthful in mind doesn’t need blood transfusions from young people, as practised by some modern tech-billionaires/vampires, it just needs their perspectives on life."
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