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.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

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! :)

Tags:

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.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

Ph.D. Graduation Policies that Make or Break!!

Are you ABD about to morph into PhD?  Now there is a 3 hour dissertation course available for you to take your last semester!   This course number was created to keep students from needing to register for 9 credit hours in their final semester!  That kind of money can really add up if something prevents you from graduating in your intended semester – like the mice in the lab next to yours escape and break into your lab and devour all of your African Clawed Frogs or the computer that stores 2 years of research data spontaneously explodes…

Hopefully, nothing will prevent you from completing your degree as you intend.  When it’s time for you  to select your final semester enrollment (YEA!), keep the following in mind.

Review the following and speak to your graduate advisor before you make your final decision.

  1. You must have 9 cumulative dissertation credit hours to graduate.
  2. You need a “P” or an “R” in all 9 hours.
  3. You may need more dissertation credits as required by your department, but no less.
  4. You MUST enroll in a dissertation course and receive a P in your final semester.
  5. Dissertation courses include 6399, 6699, 6999, and 7399. You CANNOT graduate if you enroll in 6399.
  6. You CAN graduate if you enroll in 7399.
  7. You can enroll in 7399 ONE TIME ONLY!!!!
  8. If you do not graduate while enrolled in 7399:
    • You MUST take a minimum of 6 dissertation credit hours during your final semester (6699 or 6999)
    • You must receive a “P.”
    • You must meet all other graduation requirements.
    • If not, then you must enroll again in 6 hours of dissertation.
    • If there is a chance that you may not graduate in the semester you first apply, do NOT enroll in 7399.
    • If you enroll in 7399 twice, the second course will NOT count towards your graduation. DON’T DO IT!

Hopefully, when you are pretty darn certain you are going to graduate, this class will save you some money and some time!  Then you can enjoy your last semester spent locked in the lab finishing up your dissertation, with no social life what so ever, and Siri as your best friend.   YAY!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

An Answer from I-Ching

Before a new semester beings, I find myself contemplating where my career is going, how my passions have developed, how I have changed, and what to do next.  What projects will inspire me to move forward, to refocus, and to recommit to forwarding my field?  Often I wonder if I keep finding my answer, or if the answer keeps finding me.

I worry about finding my true passion, my specialty, my place in the world – a place where my skills meet a need and the  betterment of society then ensues.  “Will I ever find my passion?” I asked I-Ching (OK technically I asked a questionable website).

I-Ching dutifully responded:

Your current situation can be depicted as “Deliverance” transforming into “Treading.”

So. True.

Right now – it is a time of deliverance.  Summer vacations celebrating another year over and extra time to spend writing dissertations or studying for comps (or getting a tan).  The future – it will soon be a time of treading, or of continuing to conduct myself in my normal manner.  The celebration will be over.  The wise will return to their studies, to achieve a great deal more than they have already achieved because for the wise, this is their norm.  I am reminded that I am, at heart, a life-long learner.  Perhaps my passion, my purpose, is returning to the grindstone with my life’s work never really being complete.  I just thought I would share.

Tags: , , , ,

Revise and Resubmit – When Editors aren’t Helpful

Thinking of submitting to a journal?  Just received feedback on an article submission that was completely USELESS?  You aren’t the only one!

In the The Chronicle – July, 2013, Erik Schneiderhan gets courageous and shares feedback he received from a well-known journal: “None of the reviewer’s comments were helpful in guiding me on how to make the article better. And there was a snarky undercurrent in the review’s tone that just made me feel bad.”

We need this to change!  How? Professors with students (maybe some crying) who have received nasty reviews – write a letter to the journal, be an advocate for change and let the editors know.

Students – you too can help make reviews better!  Remember the feeling of rejection without guidance (which I’m assuming you have had at least once) when you go to review a paper.  Are your comments helpful?  Are they constructive?  Or, are you writing something so vague that the author receiving the review is left in the dark wondering what exactly “passable prose” means? 

You can also ask your professors to bring you in on their reviews. Watch how they work, notice what they write, and make suggestions so the author on the receiving end is getting quality information.

Tags: , , ,