Around the year AD 100, the man we know as Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to a friend, Baebius Macer. Macer had been reading some of the works of Pliny’s uncle, Pliny the Elder, had enjoyed them, and now wanted to know more about the elder Pliny and his scholarly pursuits. In the letter, Pliny listed all of the works his uncle had written and described the Elder’s work habits.  In the course of this, he described Pliny the Elder’s day as follows.

 

He began to work by lamplight as early as late August, not so that he would be up in time to take the auspices, but so that he could begin his studies in the middle of the night.  In the winter, he got up and began work by the seventh hour of the night [about 1:30 AM], at the latest by the eighth [2:15 or 2:30 AM], and often by the sixth [midnight]…  Before daybreak, he set off to see the emperor, Vespasian (since Vespasian too was up and about during the night), and after that he would tend to the official duties that he had been given [by Vespasian]. When he got home, he devoted whatever time he had left to his studies. He had something to eat, but in the manner of our ancestors he had only light and simple meals during the daylight hours. In summer, if he had no business to attend to, he would lie in the sun. A book would be read to him, and he would mark certain passages and have excerpts written down…  After his sunning, he usually took a bath in cold water, then had a snack and a very brief nap; then, as if it were a new day, he worked on his research until it was time for dinner. As he ate, a book would be read to him and notes taken…  In the summer, he would leave the dinner table while it was still light. In the winter, he got up from dinner soon after it got dark. He never failed in this. It was as if some law compelled him.[1]

 

The elder Pliny, it seems, was an early riser. He got up around midnight or shortly thereafter, depending upon the season, and worked by the light of oil lamps. After four or five hours of study, he would go off to see the emperor (probably riding in a sedan chair), and thus find out what the emperor wanted him to do. He would do that along with his official duties in general, then go back home, have a snack, and settle in to further scholarly work. In the hot months, this work could be done in part while he lay in the sun; a reader would read to him, and a scribe was at hand to write down facts that Pliny wanted to keep track of. The rest of his day was simple. In summer, he took a bath, had a snack and a nap, and worked until suppertime. Books were read even during supper. He would get up from the table and, we may presume, go straight to bed even before it was dark.  Thus he probably slept, in summer, from about 7 or 8 PM until midnight or 1:00 AM, a total of five or six hours. In winter, the hours were about the same, but it would already be dark when he left the supper table and went to bed.

We do not know for sure what official position Pliny the Elder had at the time described by his nephew, but it was certainly an important administrative post. The most likely position is that of prefect of the vigiles, or firemen and security forces.[2] Whatever it was, it is of great interest to see that Pliny could discharge his official duties in the morning, and that he had the rest of the day free for his studies. We would like to have more details: what exactly were his day-to-day responsibilities? What additional requests did the emperor have? Did they discuss how to deal with particularly thorny problems? How, in short, did Pliny spend those hours from morning to noon?

The reader may be asking the same questions about the twentieth-century college teacher. What exactly did instructors do in the hours when they were not teaching? Were they given particular tasks by the chair of the department or dean of the college? How much of their work was in response to requests from others, and how much was due to their own initiative? How were difficult problems resolved? Since my goal in writing this book is to provide some evidence on such details, I will here transcribe and annotate a number of pages from a daybook I kept in the 1980s and 1990s. In those books, I recorded my activities, generally day by day and sometimes hour by hour.

My daybooks are not a perfect source. They do not take a broad view, focusing as they do on a teacher’s particular activities; and they pay little attention to campus politics and almost none to external affairs. Still, what I wrote then can help us recover something of what a faculty member’s schedule was like in the later years of the twentieth century. Accordingly, I include here transcriptions of two or three weeks’ worth of entries in my daybook. They cover two distinct periods, the first running from January 30 to February 8, 1989, and the second from January 21 to February 3, 1999.

A few preliminary comments are needed. On weekdays, I almost always left our house in time to catch a 7:22 AM bus to campus. I took a brown bag lunch, worked until about 4:00 PM, then went to the gym for about an hour before catching a 5:11 bus home. I arrived home at about a quarter to six. I did some work, most often reading, in the evening. Weekends were unpredictable and followed no routine. There were family matters, maintenance of the house, and so on; but I often did some professional work at home, and I found Sunday mornings a good time to go to Murphey Hall and take care of correspondence (later, email), planning, and administrative chores. It was quiet on Sunday, and you could get a lot done.

In 1989-90, I was midway in a seven-year term as Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in the Department of Classics. As DGS, I advised our graduate students (there were about forty of them through most of the 1980s and 1990s), and I tried to help them move gracefully through our program and its many requirements and examinations. The DGS was also responsible for organizing all of the graduate examinations, seeing that they were both fair and challenging, and overseeing the grading of them. I was also in 1989-90 director of a program called Carolina Summer. This was a three-week summer program designed to prepare good high school students for college-level work, and not incidentally attract them to UNC. My job was to recruit good students, especially good minority students, and to design a solid academic program for them. This involved finding mature and energetic current undergraduates to serve as RAs in the dorm, recruiting appropriate faculty (creative scholars, lively teachers), and arranging for guest speakers and special programs.

In spring semester 1989, I taught two courses, Classics 35 and Latin 202. Classics 35, “The Age of Augustus,” was an introduction to the history and literature of Rome’s Golden Age (roughly 60 BC to AD 10). In 1989 it had thirty-nine students and met three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for fifty minutes. Latin 202 was a course on Roman epigraphy (the study of texts written on stone, metal, or other durable materials) for graduate students. There were nine students enrolled, and the class met on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seventy-five minutes.[3] There was no good textbook for this course, so over the course of two or three decades I created an extended coursepack, choosing the texts that I thought would be most instructive and providing them with a commentary that would help the students make sense of them. Each time I taught the course, I added some new texts and omitted some old ones in order to take account of new discoveries, recent scholarly advances, and my own evolving interests. Most of the texts were from two or three to about 150 lines of Latin.

Below, the reader will find the daily entries from my day book in two columns. The actual text is in the left-hand column; in the column on the right I provide some comments and background information. I omit or change some names but otherwise have not edited or altered the text.

 

Entries from Day Book, 1989

 

  Comments and Explanations
1/30 (Monday) Conferred with Eleanor. Checked on grades for grad students from last sem. Got MA exams (which Bill West had administered on Sat.) out to readers. Prepared Guide for Writing Papers for CLAS 35. Interviewed XX, Car Sum student & potential RA; I suggested she might think about ’90. Lunch: chat with Jay about reading aloud in antiquity. Called XX’s Dad. Reviewed 35 notes. Taught class. Note to Grad Schl re leave of absence for one of our grad students. Grad stud in to discuss bypassing the MA. Dan Gargola in to discuss trip to KY. Two Car Sum calls. Called XX; he said no to RAship for ’89. In PM, calls re RA’s; checked MA essay exams (Latin will need lots of revising), read some CL 35.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/31 Chat with Phil re one of our grad student’s hist. exam. Wrote out (1 ½ pp) of comments on Latin MA exam. To Davis to work on Latin 202. Back to MU, progress on 202 research projects. Lunch in sun with Sara. Talks with David & Larry about MA essay exam, Phil again about a student who had passed but marginally. Taught 202. Interview with prospective grad. stud. Couple of Car. Sum. calls. In PM, tried without success to contact XX, went to St. Anthony Hall (invited by Nancy Proctor) for session of ex tempore debates, 8 – 9:30. I was put on the side favoring CGLA funding in one debate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/1 To Davis to prepare CL 35 class. Finally finished research topics for 202. Told Dot about leaky faucets in men’s rooms. Letters to and for XX, also to Sheila Dickison re Bill Seavey wanting to review Greek Insects. Taught class, checked on questions I couldn’t answer. One student in. Meeting of newsletter committee 4-4:50. Called Korwyn Williams (no to Car Sum) and Kelsey Williams (undecided; we decided to meet on Friday). In PM, finally got hold of John Lomax, who said yes to Car Sum RA. Read small amt for 202. Mike is doing caricatures for HS yearbook, was up late working on them after Math Club. Jean called Kerr to check on his trip to Boston, which had gone well: he stayed in youth hostel, saw Goya exhibit, did Freedom Trail with Bunker Hill, got nail from Fenway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/2 Checked with Eleanor. Memo to two grad studs re PhD exams. To Davis, prepared 202, renewed some books. Wrote Admissions re a prospective undergrad. Taught class. Met Jean, sat in car while she went to Davis. Then we went to the memorial service for Friedrich Solmsen, who died Monday, at Holy Trinity Lutheran. In evening, I did CL 35 reading.

 

 

2/3 To Hanes, pulled slides for class; in MU, completed lecture. Got MA essay questions, revised, from Larry, & put together tomorrow’s exam, then printed it out. Prepared handout for CL 35. Historians’ lunch. Met with Kelsey Williams, who will be a Car Sum RA. Some short phone calls. Taught class. Office hrs: Dan Gargola re his visit to UKY next week; Gavin Sundwall on Jr. Year at ICCSR; Mike Teske re MA thesis. Mike had U-19 scrimmage, 6-8, spent night at Rees’s.

 

 

2/4 (Saturday) Jean took me to school, then headed on to Thrift Store. I administered MA essay exam, worked on stuff on my desk: batch of Car Sum requests; questionnaire for Hopkins CTY booklet on Carol. Sum; sorted slides & class materials, note to Bill de G re tech review article. Got, read letter from Norman Stevens re my doing a humorous article on ancient librarians. To libraries, bookstore. Note to Boren re Numismatic Society. Notes re Car Sum to Jesuit HS, St Joseph’s Acad, Eliz Hall, Durham Herald. Assessed 2 books for AJP to see if they should be reviewed. Home about 2. M out to see Mississippi Burning in evening. J & I rented & watched Moonstruck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/5 Sunday. I sat around reading almost all day: M & W’s Class 35; Tuesday’s 202; stuff on library humor. Called Eleanor, tried to call Rob B. but he has moved. Jean had spent Sat. doing housecleaning & preparing a fish chowder. Sunday she baked bread & cookies & worked on Valentine packages for her mother, my mother, and Kerr. I watched much of 1st episode of Lonesome Dove in PM.

 

2/6 J. dropped me at Eastgate. Haircut, then some banking errands. To Hanes for slides. Began desk chores to clear back and current correspondence: wrote Terry Papillon, Norman Stevens (library humor). Jim Flanagan in. Lunch. Wrote letter to ’88 Car Sum students, took to P & D. To Bull’s Head, bought Economy of R. Empire & Dilke’s little Math & Measurement. Reviewed CL 35 notes. Taught class. Rick Banyan, Chico Z. in. Memo to all grads about admission to candidacy deadline. M. Bunzey in. In evening, did some Epigraphy, watched an hour of Lonesome Dove. Mike at Justin’s in late PM, then memorizing German poem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/7 Arrangements for Jongman lecture: reception; dinner (called Talbert, Oates; asked TRSB, Jerzy). Wrote XX (no to Car Sum RA), Andy Becker (possible talks at VA Tech). Sorted desk. To Epig. Rom, prepped 202 class. 3 letters out for Wendy Mann. Tabulated reports on MA exams that are in so far. Sent 5 Car Sum packets. Taught class. Rex Crews in to discuss research project. In PM, browsed in Wim Jongman’s book, got thoughts together for intro to his talk on Th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/8 Jean filling out M’s SAT forms. I to Davis: graded CL 35 papers, prepped class. Wrote Keith Dix. Lunch. Picked up letters to Car Sum ’88 students, signed them. Taught class. Called Admissions (Barbara Polk, Tony Strickland) re 3 Car Sum problems. Talk with a student who was upset by a faculty member’s evaluation. In PM, M. to Math Club; J. watching Lonesome Dove. I read some inscriptions, then watched TV.

 

  Eleanor. Arts and Sciences secretary assigned to help me with Carolina Summer. She kept track of inquiries and incoming applications.

Grades … last semester. The DGS kept track of the students’ progress and advised them as necessary. One part of this was monitoring their grades in course.

MA exams were read by two members of the faculty. The DGS arranged for the readers, passed the exams to them, and recorded the grades they gave each student.

Guide. A two-page set of requirements and advice for writing the papers required in Classics 35.

Jay. Jay Bolter, a colleague in the department. We were both interested in literacy and reading.

XX’s Dad. I no longer know what this was about.

bypassing. Graduate students ordinarily wrote a Master’s thesis, but they could bypass the thesis if they did strong work in courses and on the MA exams. That would save them six months or a year of time and tuition.

Gargola. A graduate student in the History Department who had done much work in classics. He was being considered for a teaching position at the University of Kentucky.

Called XX. A student I was interested in hiring as an RA for Carolina Summer.

MA essay exams. Candidates for the MA degree were required to take both translation and essay exams. The latter included questions on the literature of each student’s major language, Greek or Latin. The exams were designed by the two readers; the DGS read them before the students took them and made sure they were clear and fair.

 

 

hist. exam. In addition to exams on the languages and literature, PhD candidates took exams on Greek or Roman history. Phil(ip Stadter) was a colleague, one of the designers and readers of the history exam.

Davis is Davis library. Within the library, I worked in the epigraphy room, a research facility in which the very large volumes of inscriptions were shelved.

Sara. Sara Mack, a colleague.

David & Larry. David Ganz and Lawrence Stephens, the two colleagues who proposed the questions for the MA essay exams and would later grade them.

Prospective. Throughout the spring, prospective graduate students visited Chapel Hill to meet faculty, visit our facilities, and see if they liked Chapel Hill.

St. Anthony Hall. A literary society.

GGLA. Campus Gay and Lesbian Association.

 

research topics. Latin 202 was a graduate course, so I tried to design topics for term papers that would lead to original research and perhaps publication. This could not be done before the start of the semester, since I wanted to take into account the interests and previous training of the students.

Dot. Our Department Manager.

Letters. The letter “for” must be a letter of recommendation.

Bill Seavey. A former graduate student of ours. Sheila Dickison was book review editor for The Classical Journal, wanting to know Seavey’s qualifications.

questions. Students often asked questions in class that I could not answer on the spot. I would write them down, check on them, and reply in the next class.

student in. I.e, during my office hours.

newsletter. That is, the newsletter of the Department of Classics. Since it was in part a fund-raising vehicle, the chair worked closely on it.

Korwyn and Kelsey. Two students, candidates for positions as RA in Carolina Summer.

Mike. Our younger son. He was a high school junior in the spring of 1989.

Kerr. Our elder son. He was a college freshman in the spring of 1989.

 

Jean, my wife, worked in the library at the National Humanities Center and occasionally had to return books to Davis Library. Since there was no convenient parking, I would meet her and sit in the car while she went into Davis.

Friedrich Solmsen. A distinguished classical scholar, he had taught at Cornell, then at Wisconsin. After he retired in 1974 he and his wife moved to Chapel Hill.

 

Hanes. Hanes Art Classroom building, a seven-minute walk from Murphey. This is where the slides for art and archaeology classes were kept, so when you wanted to show slides you had to go to Hanes first and choose the slides you needed.

Historians’ lunch. Informal lunch for all faculty interested in ancient history, regardless of department.

ICCSR = Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. Gavin Sundwall was an undergraduate student, planning a semester abroad.

 

Hopkins CTY booklet. A booklet, published by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, that listed special programs for high school students. It was a good place to spread the word about Carolina Summer.

Bill de G = William de Grummond, editor of The Classical Journal. I was writing a review article on several recent books on ancient Roman technology, to be published in Classical Journal.

Norman Stevens. A retired librarian in Connecticut.

Boren. Henry Boren, professor in the History Department. I was probably seeking information about the Numismatic Society’s summer program for graduate students.

2 books for AJP. The book review editor for the American Journal of Philology was William West, my colleague. He had asked me to skim through two recent publications to see if they were significant enough to review in the Journal.

M = our son, Mike.

 

M & W’s. That is, the materials I had assigned for the classes on Monday and Wednesday. I generally re-read all assignments a day or two before the class for which they were assigned.

Rob B. A candidate for a position as a Carolina Summer RA.

 

 

 

 

Eastgate = Eastgate Shopping Center. I must have walked to the bank, then taken the bus to Hanes Hall on campus.

Terry Papillon. A former graduate student, in 1989 teaching at Virginia Tech.

Jim Flanagan. A graduate student.

P & D. Printing and Duplicating. I did not use classics department facilities for the Carolina Summer program, so copying had to be done by the P & D staff, at that time housed in the basement of the YMCA building.

Economy of R(oman) Empire: useful for my Latin 202 course. Dilke would be useful the next time I taught Roman technology.

Admission to candidacy. PhD candidates were required to file an application for the awarding of the PhD at a specific date. Missing the deadline could mean they might not receive the degree.

Rick, Chico. Students. M. Bunzey was a student in Classics 35.

 

Jongman lecture. Wim Jongman was a Dutch scholar whom we had invited to give a lecture on the Roman economy.

Talbert, etc.: Richard Talbert in History; John Oates in classical studies at Duke; T. Robert S. Broughton and Jerzy Linderski, colleagues in classics. We did not have university or departmental funds for dinners, so we generally treated our guest speakers by dividing up their bill among those faculty who joined the dinner group.

Andy Becker. A former graduate student, in 1989 at Virginia Tech. He and his colleagues were interested in having me give a talk on my research in Roman technology; this resulted in my giving a talk the following fall on how the Romans moved a 100-foot-tall statue of Nero.

Wendy Mann. I think this was a former Carolina Summer student, here applying to college.

Rex Crews. A graduate student, in the process of defining a dissertation topic.

intro to his talk. I was to give the introduction to Jongman and his talk, which was scheduled for two days later.

 

SAT. Our son Mike would be applying to college in the following year and needed to take the SAT exams.

Keith Dix. A faculty member at UNC-Greensboro who, like me, was working on ancient libraries. We conferred with one another from time to time and later collaborated on two articles.

Car Sum ’88: I do not now recall why I was writing the students from the previous summer. Perhaps I was asking them to tell their friends about the program.

 

 

At the risk of stating the obvious, I would make the following observations.

No two days are exactly alike. This would be true no matter how many days we looked at, because we are dealing with the unpredictability of human beings.

A good part of most days was devoted to a kind of passive activity, dealing with problems or situations that arose on that day.

Much more time went to helping students than to dealing with colleagues. This was largely due to the fact that I was, for this period, Director of Graduate Studies.

In these ten days, I devoted little time to grading of any sort. These days fell early in the semester, before students had taken any exams or written papers. Later in a semester, I would spend many hours grading exams, reading papers, and discussing their research with the students.

There was little time for research. I did most of my research during the summer months, Christmas vacation, and other breaks. In these ten days, the correspondence with Andy Becker and Keith Dix would lead to scholarly work and publication later on.

Not obvious in these particular days, but useful to keep in mind, are major events that interrupt the normal course of activities in a significant way. By “major events” I mean such things as hurricanes and ice storms, professional meetings in other cities, assisting visiting scholars who were in town to give a lecture, preparing for visits of candidates for jobs and job searches in general, special planning sessions, the preparation once every ten years of an extensive self-study, a death in the family, major training efforts especially in new technologies, and many similar events.

Let us leave 1989 now and jump forward to a comparable period ten years later, in 1999. Again a few introductory comments will be helpful. By 1999, both of our sons had graduated from college and begun their own careers (in distant cities), so my family responsibilities had changed substantially. Meanwhile, I had become chair of the Department of Classics in July of 1996 for a five-year term, and that meant a different and time-consuming set of professional duties. There were predictable and standard tasks involving personnel decisions, curriculum, budget, fund-raising, and various one-time problems (theft of a laptop computer, grade disputes, health emergencies, requests from faculty, and the like). In 1999, we were well into planning for the renovation and restoration of Murphey Hall, which was scheduled for 2001-2002. That involved numerous meetings and shuttling back and forth between the department and the architects.

Being chair also required a more active role in college-wide and university activities. This affected my schedule and is reflected in my daybook, because I used the daybook to take minutes of meetings I attended, lest I forget what had been discussed. Thus longish entries, in which I outline meetings, appear in the daybook in 1998-1999 but not in 1989. There were meetings that dealt with our particular budget and with the graduate school; meetings with the architects and with an architectural firm dealing with space issues on central campus; meetings of the Chairs’ Advisory Committee (on budgetary matters) and of the Council of Chairs (advisory to the Dean); with the provost on university-wide enrollment matters; and other similar meetings. The minutes from these meetings take up a certain amount of space in the daybook, but I have chosen not to include here those weeks in which I had such meetings. Official minutes for them are likely to be available in other sources such as the university archives, and my notes on the matters discussed in meetings do not shed light on the typical day-to-day activities of a faculty member/chair. There are other differences as well between the two periods. I notice that in the later daybook, I frequently have notes to myself–chores to complete, upcoming deadlines, lists of names of people I evidently thought I should remember, and the like–and I gather that I used the daybook as a handy aid to my memory. A few such reminders appear in the selection below.

As chair, I was expected to teach only one course per semester; the released time was intended to give me time for my activities as chair. (Such course-load reductions were standard practice across the college.) In the spring of 1999, the course I taught was once again Latin epigraphy, and in addition to preparing for each class meeting I continued to work on the coursepack, changing its contents and trying to improve it. I was also, in 1999, secretary-treasurer of the American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, a national organization of which I was co-founder. That too occupied a certain amount of time. Here, then, is my record of activities for a period of almost two weeks in the winter of 1998-1999, transcribed from my daybook.

 

Entries from Daybook, 1999

 

Th(ursday), 1/21.

Worked at home on epigraphy, caught 10:09 bus. Carrie’s grandmother died this morning, so after Carrie and I conferred about some administrative forms she left to help her mother. Kim was rear-ended on the way home yesterday. No serious damage, but her neck began hurting on the way home.

Busy hour: Matt Saunders in. Wayne Pond called to ask about Vacation College on Cleopatra. Some email. Logged in ASGLE checks.

Chose PhD Latin trans passages, began work on essays. Resumed reading Saller & Shaw for epigraphy. Our job candidate called: flight has been cancelled. This occasioned a huge flurry of activity in the office, as Kathy & Kim thought of all the problems and solved them. Asked TWA to page Phil; called Holiday Inn; called Richard, Bill W and Cecil about dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Jan 25

Got class pretty well under control. Colleague in re grad admissions: “could we distribute an info form on all applicants? All faculty should be involved in admissions.”

Memo to Post-tenure Review comm. Met with Matt Panciera re his possible diss., on sex in Martial, graffiti, and real life. We talked about how to focus and organize. He wants a prospectus oral by Feb 15.

21 emails. About 12:15, to Davis to teach epigraphy. Class, then lunch and talk with Leanne Bablitz re her plans to spend six weeks in Rome this summer, with her parents. Kathy Sutton has accepted a position in the Development office, will leave us Feb 12. Call from a prospective student; helped him sort out full- v. part-time, continuing ed., etc. Began serious work on 1999-2000 budget forms, despite lots of little interruptions. In evening, read most of the MA essay exams, one trans exam.

 

Tuesday 1/26

Some home paperwork, then caught 7:52 G. Finished MA exams, passed them on to Jerzy. Started buttonholing fac(ulty) about brown bag lunch talks. Emailed two candidates re documents, Jim Alexandre re his visit here Feb 27. Some other email.

Called XX (one of our benefactors). He won’t be able to support scholarships this summer. More importantly, he’s worried about prostate cancer, and we talked about that.

Bill R. in to discuss one of our job applicants; we talked for some time. More work on 99-00 budget. Lunch, worked on tomorrow’s class. Back to MU and epig. coursepack. Retired gent, John Bodoh, walked in. We chatted; he wants to be on our mailing list. I invited him to weekly tea, too. Other interruptions. Walked down hill. In PM read 6 of 8 MA trans passages.

 

 

 

 

 

Wed 1/27

Finished MA trans exams. Worked 8:30 – 11:15 on TA budget, going over Carrie’s figures & charts and gathering the rest of the info that South Building wants. Coffee, then went over everything with Carrie. I still need to do equipment, renovations, and speaker/conference funds.

At noon, to Davis to work on, teach, Epigraphy. After class, lunch, email, tea, to bank, where I closed Mom’s estate account. Jean home late. She has to gather books in Davis herself while John is out of town. In PM, I began work on J’s mother’s taxes, then read a chapter of Scott Perry’s diss. Both to bed about 11:15, late for us.

 

 

 

 

Th. 1/28

Consulted with Carrie on budget again, then emailed Susan Toppin with 2 queries. Some other email. To Davis to work on epigraphy. Lunch in Common Room, coffee in sun (it’s 70° or more). Georgia M in. I told her that I did not anticipate major changes in the short term–she can use a desk next year, there may be teaching next year–but that long-term things are cloudy: South Bldg. still experimenting with the budget, & all our retirements mean emeriti will want desks & perhaps teaching. Also faculty wives may ask to teach; Georgia herself mentioned that Michelle would enjoy doing an intensive Greek program.

I finished Part V of our budget requests. More consulting with Carrie & email. Left 3:00, to bank, PTA, and Wellspring. In PM read some of the Forbis article for tomorrow.

 

Th 1/29

Took Jean’s Mom to b’fast at 501. Arrived MU 8:40. Proofed revised budget document, added my travel to non-personnel. Finished Forbis article for today’s class. First memo re graduate admissions. (Fellowship nominations are due Feb. 8.) Began process of getting a document translated for Margaret K.: wrote memo, gave all to Kim. Email to Lisa Carson re her research assistant next year; he might teach myth in the fall, then do APh.

Checked in with Dr. Cohen. The new drug is called celebrex. He isn’t prescribing it, as he wants to see if it has side effects.

Summer School. Gathered lists of who has taught and who wants to teach, made decisions on TA’s for this summer. Called Cheryl Miller to check on process, but she was out.

 

 

 

Friday 1/30

Prepared, taught class. Work in office. At 2:00, met with Scott Perry. Phil & I to Duke to hear Maura Lafferty lecture at 4:00, chatted with Tolly about their search (paleography is the focus) and Dale Martin’s article (for Scott Perry). Gregson likely to be next chair.

 

 

Sun 1/31

Batch of chores, then to MU about 10. Administered PhD exams 1-4, worked on epigraphy etc.

 

Mon-Tues 2/1-2/2

Lots of email, seatwork. Not very pleasant.

 

Wed Febr 3

Finished reading for Epig class at home, ran some errands, to school 10:00. Letter to Steve Dyson re one of our graduate students. (Sent letters to Dyson and Jeff B. for another of our students yesterday.) Worked on Coursepack.

At 11:30, met with Callie & Peter to plan for visit of Dean & Chancellor. Then on to Epigraphy Room, class, lunch. 2:30 meeting with Joe Schuch and architects re MU auditorium and MU in general. 4:30 meeting of Space Use Committee. [I omit here the detailed notes I took at the meeting.]

Kerr was home by the time I got there. We had a good evening-long chat. I went to sleep while J and K were watching baseball and talking.

Comments and Explanations

 

Carrie. Our department manager.

Kim. Our departmental student services manager.

Matt Saunders. A graduate student. By “in,” I mean he came to my office to discuss something.

Wayne Pond. The director of the Program in the Humanities and Human Values. He was organizing a program on Cleopatra.

ASGLE. The American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy. I was co-founder of this organization, and in 1999 was serving as secretary-treasurer. The checks were dues checks.

PhD Latin trans(lation) passages. These were for the written graduate examinations in Latin.

job candidate. The candidate was scheduled to give a talk and teach a class. The delay meant that everything had to be rescheduled.

Kathy. Department secretary.

to page Phil. Phillip Stadter had gone to the airport to pick up the candidate, and we needed to let him know that the flight had been cancelled. This was before cell phones.

 

 

admissions. In Classics, we had a committee of about four who considered applications for admission to our graduate program. Other faculty were free to offer comments, but usually only the committee read all of the applications in detail.

Post-tenure review. A policy, new in the 1990s, that mandated a thorough review of every faculty member’s work, even after the grant of tenure, once every five years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prospective student. This was probably a student who had little or no Latin or Greek but wanted to study the ancient world. He would need to take quite a few courses to catch up; hence our discussion of his options for such courses.

 

 

7:52 G. That is, the G(lenwood) bus that left at 7:52 AM, about half an hour after my usual bus.

Jerzy. Jerzy Linderski, our Paddison Professor of Latin.

brown bag. In a continuing series, faculty and graduate students gave informal talks about their current research. The talks began at noon, and people in the audience could bring lunches and eat while listening. One of us took on the task of organizing and scheduling the talks.

Jim Alexandre. A former student, an executive with a bank, and a supporter of classics and arts and sciences in general. He was coming to talk with the dean about a new initiative.

job applicants. We were in the middle of a search for a new colleague and had narrowed the search to just a few applicants.

down hill. I often walked from Murphey to University Mall, then took a bus the rest of the way home. The walk was pleasant exercise.

 

TA budget. The budget for teaching assistants for the following year. This involved deciding who among our graduate students would teach (or assist in) which courses, and balancing that against the available funds for stipends and tuition.

 

 

Mom’s… account. My mother had died in 1997. I was her executor.

gather books. My wife Jean was in charge of assembling the research materials requested by the Fellows of the National Humanities Center, where she worked. John was one of her assistants.

J’s mother. Jean’s mother (my mother-in-law) had moved to be near us some time before, and I did her income taxes for her.

 

 

Susan Toppin. In the Dean’s office; worked with us on financial matters.

Georgia M(achemer). An independent scholar of Greek and Latin who often taught a class for us as an adjunct (non-tenured) faculty member. We were often able to give her a desk in one of our offices even in semesters when she was not teaching.

Retirements. In 1999, several of our faculty were at or near retirement age, and it was not clear exactly what the result of the coming series of retirements would mean, especially in terms of what courses we would be able to offer.

Michelle. Michelle Weiss, wife of one of our faculty members.

 

 

 

 

 

501. The 501 Diner, a favorite breakfast spot.

my travel. Professional travel I did for the department.

First memo. Once the committee on graduate admissions made its recommendations, the chair would ask other members of the faculty for their thoughts before nominating applicants for funding.

Margaret K. I don’t recall who this was. Apparently she had a document in Latin or Greek and wanted to have one of our faculty members or graduate students translate it.

Lisa Carson. Director of the American office of L’Année Philologique, the international classics bibliography, published annually.

Dr. Cohen. My rheumatologist.

Cheryl Miller. Our contact in the Summer School office.

 

Scott Perry. A history graduate student.

Maura Lafferty. A former graduate student of ours and a medievalist.

Tolly. Mary T. Boatwright, a professor in the department of classical studies at Duke.

Gregson. Gregson Davis. He did become chair of the Duke department of classical studies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Dyson. A professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and chair of a search committee. Two of our graduate students were applicants for the job.

Coursepack. The coursepack for the Latin epigraphy class.

visit of Dean etc. In the spring semester 1999 Chancellor Hooker and Dean Palm visited each department to learn about what they did, current research, strengths, and needs.

Joe Schuch. Was working on instructional technology in connection with the renovation of Murphey Hall.

Space Use committee. A university-wide committee, charged with studying the use of space on campus and suggesting improvements.

Kerr. Our older son.

 

 

Back Next


[1]  Plin. Epist. 3.5.8-13.

[2]  On Pliny’s official position, see Ronald Syme, Tacitus (Oxford, 1968), 60-62. It is just possible, though not likely, that Pliny was prefect of the grain supply.

[3] When I first arrived in Chapel Hill, there were still Saturday classes, and all classes met for fifty minutes, three times a week; but attendance on Saturdays was spotty at best, and by the mid-60s Saturday classes had been discontinued.