International Education Week!

It is that time of year again!  Get the schedule and register for World Trivia by November 8th to play!!  Only 12 teams are allowed in the year so get your applications in early.  “GO! FIGHT! WIN!” Grad Mavs (and yes, that cheer IS entirely appropriate for academic sports such as math team, chess, and World Trivia)!!!!  Woot!!!

Gotta check out the international food fair on Nov. 19th @ 11 a.m. in the UC Mall.  On an educational note – if you are thinking about studying abroad but are on the fence, attend a Q&A session and definitely check out the photos from student trips.  You can view these works of art until Nov. 26th in the UC Art Gallery.

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Faculty Focus: A Teaching Resource

If you are a Graduate Student 1.) teaching classes 2.) planning on a future professorship 3.) Mentoring other students 4.) Wanting to know more about teaching in general – Faculty Focus should be on your radar!

Faculty Focus is an easy-to-read, daily, free newsletter about teaching (aghhh, every day!?!?!?). Don’t worry – you don’t have to sign up and receive a billion emails. I do recommend, however, frequenting the site to learn from those who have been in the field, fighting the good fight.

Posts are searchable by topic.  A single post is made available each day by a different educator or related professional so the perspectives on teaching and education one can gain from a quick read of this site are delightfully diverse.  Recent posts include topics like, “Motivating Students with Teaching Techniques that Establish Relevance, Promote Autonomy,” and, “Tips for Humanizing Your Online Course,” (although I do have an affinity for robots). Check it out!

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Government Shutdown May Mean Postponing Your Degree

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Government Shutdown is getting out of control.

In the words of a new UT Arlington Office of Graduate Studies intern, “Usually it is all talk, but it actually happened; the government shut down.”

In a recent article, Field, Thomason, and Howard indicated that, “Research projects have been interrupted, academic meetings have been postponed or canceled, and some students are being urged to put off their educations until the federal-budget impasse ends.”

The Chronicle documents issues that continue to worsen as the government remains closed for business, including:

  • Veteran’s GI Bill is only funded through October
  • Federal Financial aid is only funded through June
  • Peer-review panels have stopped convening, resulting in delays in the reviews of new grant proposals
  • Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services may not be dispensed (sorry humanities)
  • Public, primary resources such as the Library of Congress are offline

Ellis writes, “Richard A. Williams, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, told students to light a candle in the university’s grotto.” “University of North Carolina students studying unexamined parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s history…[no longer] have access to the documents, like maps and letters, that they need to do their work.”

You know it is getting pretty bad when the candles come out.  Some advice from professors- use BOOKS!

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A Foolproof Grant Template

In Dr. Karen Kelsky’s Foolproof Grant Template from The Professor Is In (a great blog so check it out!), the outline is as straight forward as you are going to get.  I have read several of the instruction manuals for applying to NSF along with humanities grants, and while very VERY helpful, they are also very VERY long.  Not exactly documents you can start with at the beginning of your brainstorming session.

In additional posts, Dr. Kelsky also addresses several common errors including using the words “I need to…” as in “I need to fill this research gap” rather than describing in plain, formal language how you can (and will!) fill the gap.  Also, do NOT sign the document like a letter – it isn’t a letter!

Be sure to emphasize why you are applying in the first place.  Some helpful language:

“However, none of these works have addressed the central question of ___________.”

“This should be YOUR view of what is most essential to an accurate understanding of the big topic, but which  has never to date been studied by anyone else.”

If you are going to be asking for the big bucks, be sure to address the point of it all, the reason you should get the money, and why this research needs to be done.  Some more helpful language:

“I expect this research to contribute to debates on _______ and play an important role in________.”

Check out the post on the template from The Professor Is In.  Perhaps you can get a grant – and you should at least give the application process a try if the opportunity and funds are available.

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No you did NOT just read that book!

STOP THAT.  YES YOU.

DO NOT READ ANOTHER PAGE.

Look at you.  You’re a mess.  Academia everywhere, more than one coffee pot brewing – frankly I’m surprised one pair of glasses per year cuts it these days.  Those tired, tired eyes… there is no WAY 1-800 Contacts can have YOUR BRAND of magical graduate school super readers with vision enhancements for the 2 a.m. must-ingest-knowledge-but-don’t-know-why attack of the crazies.

I am here to help.  Well, this article on how to read while not actually reading is here to help.  Read that book in ONE HOUR.

According to Larry Cebula, here is how you do it in ten little tips (so if it ruins your grades and life’s work – you can blame him):

1. Create a clean space–a table, the book, paper and a writing utensil, and nothing else.

2. Read two academic reviews of the book you photocopied beforehand.  Allow five minutes for this.

3. Read the introduction, CAREFULLY and take good notes (with a bibliographic citation at the top of the page.) Allow twenty minutes here.

4. Now turn directly to the conclusion and read that. The conclusion will reinforce the thesis and have some more quotable material. In your notes write down 1-2 direct quotes suitable for using in a review or literature review, should you later be assigned to write such a beast. Ten to fifteen minutes.

5. Turn to the table of contents and think about what each chapter likely contains.  Five minutes.

6. (Optional) Skim 1-2 of what seem to be the key chapters. Look for something clever the author has done with her or his evidence, memorable phrases, glaring weaknesses–stuff you can mention and sound thoughtful. Ten minutes, max.

7. Put the notes and photocopied review in a file folder. These folders will serve as fodder for future assignments, reviews of similar books, lectures, grant applications, etc.

8. Miller time. Meet some friends and tell them the interesting things you just learned (driving it deeper it your memory).

9. If a book is considered especially important, or if it falls squarely within your research area, you should give it more time.

10. Don’t tell your professor you read the book in an hour or he or she will most likely flunk you.

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Doctoral Student Progress Report Online

Please log in and complete DS PRO AS SOON AS YOU CAN!  The deadline (TBA) is fast approaching!!

Learn Why and How to Use It –>

http://grad.pci.uta.edu/resources/pdf/DSPRO_Overview.pdf

Log In and Make It Happen –>

https://grad.pci.uta.edu/programs/dspro/

Set goals for this year and make sure you are set to register for spring.  These annual goals ensure you stay on track (a “reasonable” one) and that you are setting goals that will help you graduate on time.  Further, DS PRO is a great way voice (and document) what you want personally, academically, and professionally out of a Ph.D program.  And, on that note…you sort of have to do it because it is mandatory.  So… thank you?

Yes. THANK YOU! :)

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Digital Footprints in the Real World

Many professional and academic advisers focus on the fact that digital footprints that lead to proof of “bad behavior” (such as drinking, partying, or other inappropriate language or photos)  can get students and employees into big trouble.  However, According to research from the American Life Project, most people already know that.  In a recent study of internet users:

  • 86% have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email
  • 55% have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government

Despite the assumption that food will always magically come from the grocery store and a complete lack of outdoor survival skills (for the most part), Americans try to, and are pretty good at, covering their tracks in the digital world.  However, while the masses seem to be focused on cleaning up one social media faux pas after another, real world dangers of leaving a digital trail are steadily increasing.

The American Life Project reports that out of 792 internet users, 4% have experienced online altercations that ended in real world physical violence. That is 31 people!  Although, sometimes a black eye seems better than the 17% (or 134 people) who lost money or had their identity, credit card, or social security number stolen from internet content. Both are pretty dangerous.

The lesson here: YES focus on not producing completely ridiculous social media content that can get you suspended or fired.  But, also remember not to give out personal information.  Change your passwords regularly and know that even your birthday and phone number posted on Facebook can give someone all the information needed to totally wreck your life…or at the least, find you and punch you in the face.

Because You’re Famous…

Would you want to take a class taught by a celeb?  OK – what if the celeb had no experience in academia, teaching, or higher education?  Hmmm, still yes?  OK…What if your school was paying the celeb $200,000 annually to teach ONE class. I hope the reviews are at least mixed!

The Chronicle – August 2013 has brought to my attention that David H. Petraeus is teaching a class at CUNY for ONE DOLLAR! First – because I definitely want to take class taught by a previous C.I.A. Director.  Second – said previous C.I.A. officer agreed to teach it for $1.  Third – well, now there is no third because his $200,000 annual salary has vanished.

Zweifler writes in his Chronicle article, “When word of his salary got out, it sparked outrage. CUNY professors said that Mr. Petraeus would be making far more than any of them [$200,000 annually for teaching one three-hour class]; his salary was an insult, they said, to the part-time faculty whose wages are barely sustainable.” Agreed.  However, I am not the best person to examine the ethics behind hiring celebrity adjuncts.  According to my Pinterest page, I would probably register to take a class taught by Grumpy Cat.

Zweifler writes, “Celebrity adjuncts can bring much to the table. Students can learn from the real-life experiences of top practitioners in their fields…[but it] can also be divisive.” One such “practitioner” is James Franco (who spoke at UT Arlington 2012 graduation- FYI), who worked as an adjunct at New York University and University of Southern California.  For film student, this must have been a dream.  For other professors – I bet it was really, really annoying.

Among the celeb adjuncts listed, most of them are not only famous, but notorious:

-Petraeus: involved with the biographer.

-Schwarzenegger: involved with the nanny.

-Spitzer: involved with prostitutes.

-McGreevey: involved with a male while being married, on the DL.

I see a pattern here.  What exactly are these adjuncts teaching?  However, as wrong as this seems to me on paper, I would register for a class taught by any of these guys – and probably one taught by Tiger Woods too… you know, just for kicks.

As always, please let me know your thoughts Mav Grads.  Maybe we can get a good celeb to teach at UTA – like Willie Nelson for students majoring in music… oops, I mean accounting.

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Vitae- a New Service from The Chronicle of Higher Ed

This is a brand new – just started – sort of sparse – get in at the ground level kind of thing.  The website, as of right now, is more of a mailing list.  However, as per the usual, The Chronicle has packed it with helpful information regarding job search and professional networking.  Example:

The Academic Conference: How to Stand Out From the Crowd

Woooot!  Excellent information in the article linked above, including the suggestion to NOT BE CLINGY!  Get out there and meet people.  I know the temptation to just follow around a single person or stick with people you know.  Don’t do that!  A second strategy is to prepare to have conversations about hot topics in your field and not just the weather or your personal research.  Practice short, intelligent (and well-researched) responses to major and new issues.

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Embargo or Not To Embargo?

An article by Stacey Patton in The Chronicle – July, 2013 raises two side of the debate:

  1. Some publishers don’t want work that is available on online for free.
  2. Who purchases what and when and where constantly changes while average sales are stable – so an embargo is moot.

The article goes on to state that some academics and publishers support embargoes as a way to protect your work and warn that you will be up a creek when you finish revisions and your ideas are already free of charge.  Others indicate that many authors’ first books published and based on their dissertations and editors are trained to help turn dissertations into books; books sell, and the difference between success and failure is editing.

READ IT!  And get more information before you decide whether or not to fill out an embargo for your works.  FYI – UTA does not have a form for embargos. You need to speak with T&D mechanical checks by emailing kwitkowski@uta.edu.

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