Sunday, February 12, 2006

How long does it take?

Academics are fond of pointing out that they do much more than cruise into class for three hours a week and read from their yellowing notes. The most common estimates range from 40-60 hours a week for academic work, at least in the humanities.

We all know that terrible papers take a lot longer to grade than excellent ones, and I've seen estimates of grading times ranging from 6 minutes a paper (now that's FAST) to 45 minutes (for martyrs who spend more time than the student did).

Has anyone ever quantified the amount of time that some other common writing tasks take, especially the usual reports, abstracts, recommendation letters, and the rest?

An hour for an uncomplicated, 1-page recommendation letter for an undergrad student? Half an hour?

Three hours or so for a tenure review letter (just the writing of the letter; this is AFTER you've read all the materials, made notes, etc.)? More? Less?

How long does it take?

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