Sunday, May 22, 2022

Those weekly IRIS Center meetings

[Part of a series on "Meetings and Happiness."]

I discovered a cool glitch in the system. 

This semester, the IRIS Center folks -- Kristine Hildebrandt, Jessica DeSpain, and Meg Smith -- held open office hours on Thursdays at 10:00 am for any faculty member who wanted to ask questions about tech-related projects. They also had a standing IRIS meeting at 3:00 pm on Thursdays.   

I jokingly viewed their setup as a glitch because it meant I could receive all these free weekly consultations and assistance on my major projects. I felt like I was getting some secret advantage.  

It's quite common, I've learned, for literature professors to work in isolation. In many cases, people work on articles, book manuscripts, and special projects by themselves. However, I do much better when I talk through ideas before and while I'm working on scholarly projects. 

The IRIS Center open office hours and afternoon meetings provided me with a crucial opportunity to gather my ideas and get input for the projects I was working on this semester. By the time I sat down to write or develop a project, I had gotten useful input from Hildebrandt, DeSpain, and Smith.

Those weekly, two-hour meetings didn't feel like meetings. They were a mix of brainstorming, advice-giving, news-sharing, fact-gathering sessions. I looked forward to attending each week. 


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