Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 113-122

First online:

The Three-ring Circus of Academia: How to Become the Ringmaster

  • Michelle L. ToewsAffiliated withDept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University Email author 
  • , Ani YazedjianAffiliated withDept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University

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The three-ring circus of academia is made up of research, teaching, and service. It is also characterized by continuous action that must be facilitated by the academic ringmaster. Academic life is more difficult than most anticipate because the responsibilities are time-consuming, diverse, and conflicting. Therefore, this article focuses on strategies faculty members can develop to meet these pressing demands. Specifically, we begin with a discussion of how to balance research, teaching, and service. We then highlight strategies faculty members can use in becoming an effective academic ringmaster. We conclude with a discussion of life outside the “big top.”

Key words

college teaching faculty development junior faculty research productivity tenure