, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 113-122
Date: 04 May 2007

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

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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.”

Michelle L. Toews

received a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University and is currently an Assistant Professor of Family and Child Development at Texas State University-San Marcos. Her research interests include separation violence as well as conflict and coparenting after divorce.

Ani Yazedjian

received a Ph.D. in Human and Community Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an Assistant Professor of Family and Child Development at Texas State. Her research interests focus on adolescents and the role of families, peers, and schools in promoting ethnic identity development. In addition, both authors are currently working on a longitudinal study examining personal and internal variables as predictors of college adjustment and achievement.