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What Does A Professor Do?

What does a professor do?

We all know that professors teach and do research. We may have the idea that professors have oceans of time to think deep thoughts and read leisurely in their armchair.

In reality, professors juggle a lot of tasks – and sadly, my office does not even feature an armchair for leisurely reading.

To give you an idea of the tasks I have ongoing, I wanted to share with you my task list for the Fall 2021. I think it’s a representative excerpt of the variety of tasks I’ve been handling for the past few years. I usually add six categories of different types of tasks to my list.

The first category is research projects:

  • Project 1 relates to bridge load testing and has two candidates on it. On my list is working with candidate 1 on finishing experiments, measurement report, analysis report, prepare next experiments, and work on theoretical aspect. For working with candidate 2, there is the go/no go decision after the first year to pass, figure out what to propose for measurements, and work on our first journal article.
  • Project 2 is my research on the PhD defense. This semester, I would like to write a review of the different format, analyse the impact of different types of preparation, and potentially do some additional analysis. This project does not have funding.
  • Project 3 is related to my research on the shear capacity of steel fiber reinforced concrete. I would like to do a theoretical study. The project has long since run out of funding.
  • Project 4 is short project that requires a desk study on some fatigue issues. I will carry out this research.
  • Project 5 is related to the application of new concrete materials in a bridge. My role is limited and of advisory nature.
  • I also participated in an EU proposal this semester.

The second category is graduate students:

  • I’m a committee member of 8 MSc thesis students at TU Delft and advised one internship student.
  • I am currently the daily supervisor of 3 PhD candidates in Delft and involved in the PhD projects of 3 students internationally.

The third category contains the papers I want to write that semester. I won’t go into all the details here, but there are 11 papers on this task list. One I took of the list as we would not make the deadline. One is already submitted and even published. Three of these would be single authored efforts. On the remaining papers, I would be involved as a coauthor.

The fourth category contains tasks related to my service appointments. These are:

  • TRB AKB40 secretary tasks
  • I’m involved in the development of 4 technical documents within the ACI
  • I’m chairing a new IABMAS committee.
  • I want to continue pursuing indexation for ACI Avances en Ciencias e Ingenierias

The fifth category are tasks related to teaching. This semester, I am teaching one course, contributing to the new MSc program in Delft, and working with one BSc thesis student.

The last category contains conferences. I was planning to attend one virtual conference (IABSE), and was planning to attend the ACI Fall convention only if it would be transformed from in-person to virtual, which is the case.

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