Wednesday, 5 August 2009

There Goes My Research Too....

Tony Siew, my good friend at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, recently lamented, "There goes my research." This is one lament that I can fully identified with, and it is my present cry too. As I look at my work load this year, I think I am not only overstretched, overloaded, but also overworked.

This is just a snapshot of my workload this year in terms of the classes/modules that I have taught or currently teaching (and this excludes all other administrative duties):

1) Exegesis of Romans - 3 credit hours
2) Exegetical Method (co-teach) for Semester 1 - 3 credit hours
3) Exegetical Method (co-teach) for Semester 2 - 3 credit hours
4) TEE Course in PJ/KL Centre: Biblical Interpretation - 3 credit hours
5) Doctor of Ministry module: Advanced Hermeneutics and Homiletics - 4 credit hours
6) Guided study on Readings in Greek Using Bible Works for 2 M Div Students
7) Supervision of 3 M Div theses for both semesters
8) Supervision of 2 M Theol theses (full time) for both semesters
9) Supervision of 1 full time M Theol candidate
10) Supervision of 1 module of a D Theol candidate
11) Examination of 1 D Theol thesis currently sitting on my desk

How could one possibly find time to do research and writing in the midst of all these extraordinary teaching load? My book on Paul's Use of Images that I have started working on last year has not made any progress since I returned from my 4-week research leave in Trinity Theological College last December 08. This is very appalling indeed for an academician.

I have asked for a lighter teaching load next year. I am not sure whether this request will be granted. I really do hope to go back to do some research and writing before I perish!


Sceptics δΈθ‚–η”Ÿ said...

Ky , two ways to solve your predicament:

1. STM employ more lecturers so that can share your work load.

2. you apply to be research scholar, resident in STM, majoring in research and writing for STM

is it feasible?

Kar Yong said...

Hi Sceptics,
Thanks for the input. Employing more lecturers is not easy. As the most junior lecturer in STM, I certainly do not fit the position of a research scholar. Usually, research scholar is for a senior member of a faculty.

Tony Siew said...

That's unbelievable. You are superhuman, my friend.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Tony,
It's not superhuman. It leaves me almost dead. I really wish and hope that I could have a lighter workload.

J. Brian Tucker, Ph.D. said...

Good thing someone didn't ask you to do another essay for a secret collection.

Paul Long said...

This is an interesting dilemma. Odff the top of my head I suspect if there is a happy solution it will have to at least depend on 2 things.

1. The financial situation of STM

2. The vision of STM

1. If there is money, more lecturers can be hired to share the workload

2. If the vision of STM is primarily to train pastors, then you can keep dreaming! But if it includes as a serious component the ministry of academic scholarship, then there is hope to argue your case.

Oh and for me personally I think it is important that church / seminary leadership does not get too fixated on senority issues in ministry. Best person for the job is more biblical :-) Not all PhD holders are made equal by God. Some will be clearly better gifted and passionate about teaching, others for research and writing.

A few people shared their experiences sitting under very notable schoalrs and found it a burdensome experience simply because as goldy and brilliant as they may be - they were not good teachers. They gained best from reading their books at a slower pace than from their lectures.

Of course for someone like Kar Yong (hehehe - going to embarras him here!!) who is good at both writing and research and teaching, you do have a bigger happier problem.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Brian,
Yes - I agree. If someone else were to ask me, I may have to decline it politely... :-)

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul,
Thank you for those kind words. Yes, it is STM's vision to raise academic excellence and to produce scholars who are pastors at heart, to quote my principal.

I guess the little downside is that currently I am the only NT lecturer with a PhD in the English track (at least for the moment, I hope; and Ezra predominantly teachers and supervises the Chinese track), and as such as almost all postgraduate work in the area NT in English would come to me. And interestingly, we do have a little surge in the interest in postgraduate studies in NT. So this add on to the "happy problem" you described. Maybe a way to balance this is to reduce my teaching load for the undergraduate/graduate courses. Then I can continue to give more attention to research and writing.