My Job Description (2001)

Teaching at the university level includes reading for and preparing lectures, lecturing, holding office hours, and discharging departmental responsibilities and committee work. "Departmental responsibilities" ordinarily include writing comments on and grading papers, rewrites, and theses; discussing them with students; and writing letters of recommendation for jobs or post-graduate education. Departmental committee work includes, for example, planning and arranging conferences, lectures, or visiting speakers.

Doing research and discharging extra-curricular professional responsibilities in one's research field at large is an equally important obligation for academics. These include reviewing books, refereeing articles and book manuscripts by colleagues, reading and critiquing master's theses and Ph. D. dissertations by students at one's own and/or other institutions, reviewing material and writing letters for tenure cases, doing committee work for the field's at-large official association (in my case, The American Philosophical Association and The College Art Association), planning and participating in professional meetings, conferences and symposia, delivering specialized papers and public lectures at other institutions, and reviewing and evaluating colleagues' work for funding by grant and fellowship organizations. This kind of scholarly contribution to and professional involvement in one's field of specialization is a professional obligation for any tenured faculty member in any academic field at any reputable college or university.

My particular job at Wellesley includes, in addition to all of the above in the field of philosophy, also functioning professionally as an artist and art theorist, as I was recruited to Wellesley to do. Functioning professionally as an art theorist requires fulfilling all of the above-described research and at-large professional responsibilities in the field of art theory and criticism. Functioning professionally as an artist requires the following activities regarding original art objects: conceiving and planning; creating and fabricating; photo-, slide-, or video-documenting; duplicating and sending out documentation for publications; labeling; inventorying; writing explanatory statements; coordinating promotional efforts with dealers and curators; installing; exhibiting; marketing through mailings, interviews, meetings and slide presentations; and reviewing and evaluating the work of other artists for funding by grant and fellowship organizations.

Each one of these three occupations is a full-time job. The above-listed obligations and demands increase in proportion to an employee's professional stature and visibility in a particular field. Because my professional stature and visibility in all three occupations is international, these obligations and demands increase correspondingly, and are inescapable regardless of the particular institution at which I am employed. I was recruited to Wellesley to perform at this level in all three occupations, and have done so to the best of my ability, largely without assistance, since 1990. But even were I to produce no further work in art, art theory, or philosophy, I would have to deal with the same obligations and demands generated by the work I have produced in the past.

On average I devote 10+ hours per 7-day week to my philosophy-related job and 6+ hours per 5-day week to my art-related jobs. The purely physical requirements of each of these jobs include, on average, approximately 3 hours walking, 2 hours standing, 4 hours sitting, 1 hour climbing, 1/2 hour stooping, 1/2 hour crouching, and 9 hours writing, typing, or handling small objects. This totals approximately 16 to 20 unassisted hours per "normal" (!?) workday. There is a range because "sitting" may or may not overlap, on a particular day, with "writing, typing or handling small objects." The two categories do not overlap on those days when "sitting" means reading, drawing, computer designing, conferring with or counseling students, meeting in committee with colleagues, answering the phone and returning phone calls, opening, sorting and filing correspondence, or labeling slides, audio tapes or CDs. In my normal workday I lift, on average, less than 10 lbs. frequently.