Showing posts from January, 2017

The PhD Chronicles: So Starts The Third Semester

So here I am, the start of my 3rd semester as a PhD program.  I've got 4 courses under me and feel like I am pretty sure I know what I'm doing and feeling pretty confident I will complete this thing (albeit, eventually).  I had my bouts of doubt last semester as I grappled with feeling inundate with a great mixture of emotions (for a reminder, check out posts 8, 9, and 10 in this series!).  

While in some ways I feel psyched for this semester, I am still getting my bearings because January has been a crazy month.  I've been working through a cold for nearly four weeks now and it finally seems like it's on its way out, but it's left me not nearly as active (both physically and mentally) as I would have liked.  Additionally, the policy for educational leave was changed at work and that left me scrambling to deal with less time to do course work and just life in general.  I feel I can tackle the semester, but I'm also leery of the changes between this semester and …

The PhD Chronicles: Dissertation Journal #2

So in the last blog post, I merely stated my ideas but in this post, I want to drill down a bit further with them and see where that lands me.  My advisor has given me a handful of questions that I think will be useful for me to articulate what it is I'm trying to get at.  As I start to pinpoint different ideas to consider, I feel like this will help me refine my ideas and translate them into something more coherent.
Accessing the Digital UniversityWhat does this subject/topic mean to me?I think about the span of my higher education experience (19 out of the last 20 years, I have been in higher education as a student, faculty, or staff--sometimes all 3 at once) and I think about the increasing digitalization of higher education.  I came into higher education just as computers were becoming ubiquitous, colleges were using websites, and libraries were using databases but they were still overwhelmingly analog spaces.  Over the years, I watched as classrooms gained whiteboards and proj…

Review: Reframing Academic Leadership

Reframing Academic Leadership by Lee G. Bolman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bolman's work does a good job of highlighting the many different challenges to leading in higher education with accessible prose and good examples or anecdotes to illustrate his points. He succeeds that problematizing the role of leadership in higher education and the many different ways there are to fail. What is provided is not a fool-proof guide, but a general map that shows readers where they are likely to fail and how best to recover. Additionally, a strong value that Bolman addresses that many other texts leave out is how to lead upward. Many texts focus solely on leadership from the top of the hierarchy but he spends a reasonable amount of time, guiding people moving upward.

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Reality & Continuity, Or Why 9/11 Reveals Some Insights About Live-Action Superheroes

The following is an except of a blog post, I wrote for Jeremy Flagg's blog in celebration of his upcoming superhero novel, Nighthawks.

Superheroes aren’t real. (Gasp, I think one may have just died because I said that). They aren’t, but the rise of realism in comic storytelling that emerged in the second half of the 20th century, means that readers demand realistic elements to the storytelling. Even though our capes are walking deus-ex-machinas, we prefer the veneer that all things are genuine struggles for them. But surprisingly, superheroes do have limits. They are not perfect. Because for all that the superheores can do in their fictional realms, they cannot leap from the page and be a part of this world. However, they can appear increasingly life-like through good and sustained storytelling.

A good measure to think about superheroes is to consider how they operate in response to the world around us? How do they deal with real tragedies such as 9/11 and other tragic events wherei…

CFP: 1st Call: Teaching Popular Culture

So as some of you know, I am the Chair for the Teaching Popular Culture area for the Northeast Popular Culture Association (NEPCA).  As someone who teaches a course, specifically on popular culture, I am always interested in seeing and hearing what others are doing.  
I also tend to look at the Teaching Popular Culture area as a bit different than the other areas which are research focused.  I see this area more along the lines of providing some professional development, feedback, and reflection around how we employ popular culture in the classroom.  I feel like this is an often under-attended element of popular culture studies: how we meaningfully engage with it with our students.  
Therefore, I'm quite interested in hearing from people and encourage anyone who may teach a popular culture focused course or use popular culture in interesting and useful ways to put in a proposal.  Here are a few of the formats that I'm interested in seeing and/or participating in.  If you have qu…

The PhD Chronicles: Dissertation Journal #1

Welcome to my new series within the PhD Chronicle series.  Herein, I will writing reflections and thoughts about where I am currently with thinking about my dissertation. I'm 30 courses in and if I haven't already, I should really start thinking about what I'm doing for my dissertation.  To be honest, I have been thinking about it, but this semester, my goal is to actively journal about it in the insuring months to see if I can find a strong focus and direction that I want to commit to.  In the next year, we will be writing our qualifying paper proposal (QPP) and qualifying paper (QP), which we will need to submit to move forward int he program.  Ideally, your QPP, QP, and dissertation proposal (DP) all align and I hope by working through these entries I can maintain that direct line of thinking.  

So let's start with some of my initial thoughts and consideration about what I want to focus on with my dissertation are.  

What is the current direction for my research inter…

Review: Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a cliche to say that everyone should read a book. But I do feel like I'm coming to the game late in reading this book as an educator. I've always heard of hooks and her work with teaching and intersectionality but did not take the time to read her work. I'm quite glad that has changed and Teaching to Transgress is a great book that makes me think so much about my presence, my position, and my interaction in the classroom. Essentially, hooks gets the reader thinking about the nuance of student/faculty relations especially as it is constructed through social constructs such as race and gender. Some of the essays in this collection on face value seem removed from thinking about teaching, but in hindsight, it all fits together as hooks brings together her work as a writer, scholar, and educator along with her experiences as a student, an African-American, and a woman.

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My Educational Autobiography

In my recent course on teaching and learning in my program, we were asked to write an educational autobiography.  I have done such activities previously and always found them insightful to who I am at the moment and as a means of seeing what differences influence me each time I re-write it.  I also realized, it might not be a bad idea to share my educational autobiography for those of you who are interested in learning a bit more about my learning experiences.  

Learning As Living
I couldn’t excel in the emotionally and socially-alienating structure of high school even though I was intelligent; it was a toxic environment that led to depression, self-harm (bulimia and cutting), and suicide attempts.Upon entering higher education in 1997, I sighed with great relief.In college, I found a home to which I would spend all but one of the last nineteen years as a student, an educator, and a staff member; sometimes, all three at once.
My father encouraged my intellectual curiosity, insisting on b…