On the Eve of Departure

The GPP trip is only a few weeks away and I am so ready to leave! The previous 3 weeks have been chaotic and crazy as the semester wraps up, so I am surprisingly ready to sit on a plane for 8+hours with no ability to do work. Then, of course, Switzerland has to great.

I’m excited to see what other countries are like and how they describe their own systems. I would like to know how they feel about U.S. applications for faculty and such. What are their requirements and how do people address strange things like the inability to get Swiss citizenship. We’ve discussed a lot of these already before leaving, but hearing it from the horse’s mouth is a little different. I’m curious as to how they perceive our funding strategy compared to ours. How stressed out do these professors feel when applying for grants and other funding?

Before writing this, I was enjoying the Chemical Engineering graduate coffee hour with the head of the department, Dr. Cox, and he said some enlightening things about the funding for Virginia Tech and about grants and such. He mentioned that Tech was accepting far more students than previously because Tech is trying to decrease reliance on state funding and rely on tuition dollars instead because a few years ago 40% of the state funding was cut. That just sounds horrific, and I wonder how susceptible other countries are to such budget cuts.  Switzerland sounds very supportive of its education system, but what if the politicians change their minds and remove support?

Again, I’m bouncing off the walls excited to be able to ask this question and others in just a few weeks. This past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions with regard to my thoughts on higher ed and a future career here, and this trip might solidify my resolve o become European faculty, or maybe I’ll abandon all hope of professorship. Either way, I’m excited to see what happens!

For now, I’ll shine my shoes, find a good pair of earplugs, and maybe purchase a book or two for my kindle.

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