Since Unknown University starts (and ends) their fall semester a bit late, I'm just putting the finishing touches on my grades - two classes down and one (the smallest, luckily) to go.
It's been a tough semester - three preps (for the non academics among you, a prep is a unique class - so three preps means I taught three different classes), and one was a brand new one (Fixed Income) for me. I took it because the senior faculty who regularly teaches it took a sabbatical, and it's required of all our students. The new prep took far more time than I'd thought, so I didn't get as much research done as I'd hoped.
The winter break will be dedicated first to getting two papers completed and submitted to journals. I let things slide a bit these last few years due to the Unknown Son's illness, so I'm glad to be finally working on things that have the potential to go to decent journals - these two will likely be sent to Financial Management and Journal of Banking and Finance (two very solid journals). As for the other things I'm working on, one should go to to a solid accounting journal (JAAF), another to Journal of Futures or Journal of Derivatives, and another will be targeted to the Financial Analyst's Journal. I'm also working on a piece with a PhD student that will hopefully be finished in time to submit to the FMA annual meetings.
Somewhere in there, I'll also make some minor changes to my class (it's the same class I taught for the first time this past semester, so it's in pretty good shape). It shouldn't take more than a day or two to make the changes, since I prepped pretty thoroughly for it last time.
It's an ambitious schedule, but three of the pieces use the same data set, and a fourth is mostly done. With a bit of hard work, I should have a very productive Winter break. So, to all of my coauthors who read the blog: take heart - things will be done soon enough.
On a more somber note, please keep Mark Bertus and his family in your prayers. He's a fairly young faculty member at Auburn, with several young children. He's in the final stages of colon cancer, and is a remarkable guy. He'll leave an amazing legacy of memories to those of us who've had the privilege of knowing him. You can read the blog his wife has been maintaining to keep everyone informed about the illness here.
Mark's journey reminds me of something Steve Brown (a radio preacher) once said. It's something to the extent of "Whenever a pagan gets cancer, God allows a Christian to get cancer
so that the world will see the difference in how Christians deal with it." Depending on your beliefs, that might or might not sit all that well with you. But as you read his blog, you'll see that it definitely applies here.
To all who're reading this - Have a Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate).