Juggling the demands of being a faculty member, as well as trying to find time for yourself and family and friends can seem overwhelming. “The Joyful Professor” (Henschel Haus, 2010), by Barbara Minsker, a professor of environmental and water resources systems engineering, provides tips for balancing the many roles of researcher, teacher, coach and mentor, while maintaining a healthy personal life.
“After three years of leadership development training and 14 years as a professor, I had learned a lot that I thought would help the many over-stressed faculty members I see around me every day,” Minsker said. “I felt compelled to share (this information) and hoped that it would contribute to helping others transform their lives toward a more joyful and sustainable career path.”
The book guides readers through a step-by-step process to focus on the most critical actions to meet their needs – both professional and personal. By simplifying their lives, they have more time to focus on these essentials, weeding out or delegating the rest.
“There are many time-management books out there,” Minsker said, “but what’s unique about this approach is that it helps readers identify their life vision and their most critical ‘soulful’ values. Identifying these values helps in focusing both personal and professional projects and goals in a way that brings true passion and joy, rather than the endless list of ‘shoulds’ that offer little inspiration.”
Minsker feels that any professor can benefit from her book: “From new assistant professors who are trying to establish their careers and are often juggling that with the challenge of parenthood, to emeritus professors who may be trying to figure out how to create a meaningful and joyful retirement, if you find the academic lifestyle overwhelming or just wish that you could find a more joyful life, this is the book for you.”