Reading Student Work
Sadly, there is a bit of truth to this comic strip. But students should realize that while they might be writing two or three papers at any one time, professors are not only working on multiple projects but reading dozens of exams, term papers, masters theses, and dissertation chapters. For this reason, the single most important consideration in submitting work to read is time. If you want me to
read your paper, proposal, or chapter, you must submit it at least one month in advance of when you need the feedback. I understand that life throws curve balls, and sometimes opportunities or necessities come up that require a faster reading; in such cases, I will review what I have in the hopper and let you know if it is possible.
There are two exceptions to this turn-around rule. First, for students enrolled in my courses; they have priority for feedback, since their assignments follow a set schedule and all of their work must be concluded by the end of the term. Second, where I am a primary advisor or dissertation chair; in such cases, we will work out the schedule together.
The other crucial thing to bear in mind when handing in work is that I am not a print, collate, and staple service, nor am I a copy editor. Writing submitted for comment should be throughly edited and polished, free from grammatical and spelling errors. Writing takes work, and you should give your paper a very detailed going-over before you send it to me. If I have to copy edit, I will be distracted from the ideas--and the ideas are what you want me to focus on. So edit, edit, and edit some more. And then edit again!