(1) I don't entirely agree with this piece of advice. While it is important not to make a big deal out of your personal commitments and responsibilities, Notre Dame is a fairly family-friendly place as universities go. It has been my experience that students especially crave the chance to see us professors as human beings. Especially if you have young children or a dog or cat, they often get a kick out of hearing about it (and it's often a good way to drum up a babysitter). In freshmen seminars in particular, I found that telling students about my toddler was an easy way to break the ice with them and to get them over their initial fear of talking in class. Your colleagues, too, may want to know you as a person and not just as another face in faculty meetings, and swapping war stories about kids and home life is an important and socially acceptable way to connect.

(2) Three conferences a year is probably too much for a faculty member in the first three years working on a book; conferences take up a lot of time and usually represent a great deal of fiddling with your dissertation or with previous work. Your priority in your first three years is establishing a solid reputation as a teacher, and getting your first book out. Use conferences as a way to establish a deadline to either a) start new work (either an article that you're going to publish, or an additional chapter for your book) or b) expand a chapter in your book. Remember: at renewal and promotion time, conferences don't really count; publications do.

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