#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #phdchat, PhD

#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders

As many of you know, I signed up and successfully completed my first UNT Eagle Dissertation/Thesis Boot Camp over that past few days. What did I accomplish? (you might ask). Here is my summary, in a tweet:

The boot camp structure helped me find time, space (physically & mentally), and support to dedicate 3 FULL DAYS of just writing and research for my dissertation. Dr. Oppong and the Toulouse Graduate School provided the group of doctoral students with advice on the PhD process, motivation, meals, and, of course, COFFEE! Boot camp let me be selfish with my time and required me to just SHUT UP AND WRITE my dissertation.

Shut Up & Write #AcWriMo Start of Dissertation Boot Camp

During the camp, I purposefully unplugged from all social streams, e-mail, phone, etc. Unless you were my faculty advisor,  my friend Paeng from our COI research lab, or my partner-in-crime – you probably did not hear from me much.

Similar to #AcWriMo November 2013, this boot camp included goal setting and accountability with our writing progress. Here’s my self-evaluation from camp:
Boot camp sel-evaluation. #acwrimo #phdchat #latergram

My main purpose for this boot camp was to finish my dissertation proposal for my committee to review. Essentially the dissertation proposal consists of Chapter 1 (Summary), 2 (Literature Review) & 3 (Methodology) for my final dissertation. Want to learn more about this writing process? Check out SAGE’s new resource: Do You Understand What is Required in a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis? [PDF]

I managed to get most of these beginning chapters drafted, and have them loosely reviewed by my faculty advisor. I also put my writing drafts into the official UNT Dissertation format, and identified areas I need to edit and add to. I plan on using December to meet with a few faculty members to review my research methodology (the recipe for research), and then I will work with my faculty advisor to set up a time for my dissertation committee gather for review in early 2014.

Overall, this boot camp was a great experience, and I am quite pleased with my progress. I think that agraphia groups and writing support programs are invaluable for doctoral students. Events like this offer peer pressure, social support, and, most importantly, TIME for writing. I would like to attend the next UNT boot camp in February to write up Chapter 4 (Data Collection, Analysis, & Findings) and Chapter 5 (Conclusions) in the Spring.

Thanks for the challenge & support from the following tweeps: #AcWriMo writersinstigator of research ideas, and especially those of you who cheered me on. Always be writing…

#phdchat, Book Review, Higher Education, PhD

I’m “On the [Job] Market”: The Application Process

As academic job postings and other employment opportunities are becoming available, I decided it was time to prepare my own application materials and announce that I’m ON THE JOB MARKET. It should be no surprise to many as I am ABD (not a title), and I have been diligently working on my dissertation— so there is really no better time for a job search.

Well I was going to save this for holiday reading...but it looks like I'm On The Market NOW #phdchat I’ll be honest. I’m quite accustomed to the thrill of the job hunt (I am in my 3rd position of employment, since I have moved to Texas 5 years ago); however the academic job search has upped the ante. My future career planning involves a potential re-location (either in the US or abroad) and new career beginnings (either as a junior faculty member, research or other), which means this job search and application process is being treated like a job itself.

To prepare for my job search and career planning…

I have been talking to many researchers in the field, administrators in higher education, companies who seek my support, current faculty (off and on campus), mentors, and peers over the past year [Thank you for these discussions and talks – you know who you are]. More than not, many are quite open to offer advice, share professional experiences, edit my application materials, provide a reference, or send potential job postings my way (hint, hint). In my spare time, I have been reading Barnes’ (2007) “On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Academic Job Search,” specifically,  Chapter 4: The Application Process. This section of the book includes great questions to ask and think about before the application process, and examples of deciphering what academic job postings mean to decide what I want. Here are some current, pre-application questions I am currently pondering:

  • What type of position am I most interested in?
  • What sort of institution or organization do I want to work for?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • Do I want to apply for administrative or faculty track positions?
  • Who will write my reference letters?
  • Will my academic search focus on research or teaching institutions?
  • What is my best academic “fit” for department?
  • Do I want to look beyond higher education & academia?
  • Who will I connect to discussion the application process?
  • What is my timeline and schedule for applications?
  • How will I best organize a joint career search with my partner in crime?

Fortunately, most of my academic application requirements are “works in progress” from my doctoral program and portfolio requirements (Thanks #untLT department!) these past few years. My current objectives are to edit and prepare materials I have for my academic job search and application, including:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Curriculum Vita
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Writing Samples and Other Supporting Documents
  5. Teaching Portfolio (Dossier)
  6. Social Media Spaces & Places
  7. Application Schedule – to track applications & submissions

This chapter also includes helpful templates for CV’s and cover letter formats. I plan on re-tooling and modifying my current application materials based on position type and job description, so a review of these examples were helpful. Here are a few suggestions for cover letter writing items to include – 17 elements for the academic cover letter:

17 elements of the academic cover letter. #phdchat

Do you have academic job search advice? Tips on the application process? Considerations for the academic research and faculty positions? Potential openings I might be interested at your institution? Let me know. Academic job search advice is welcome.

 

Reference:

Barnes, S. L. (2007). On the market: Strategies for a successful academic job search. Lynne Rienner Publishers.

#phdchat

The Dissertation Proposal. #phdchat

For those of you who are not aware, I’ve been grinding away at my dissertation proposal the last couple of months. This (as I am told) is 80% of the work towards the final dissertation product. The plan is to complete and defend this piece of literature prior to March 28, 2014 (so that I can graduate and be finished in May 2014 – YAY!). For my specific doctoral degree program, the faculty in the Department of Learning Technologies provided their doctoral candidates with a rubric to guide the dissertation proposal process. Here it is:

I thought I would share a couple of key pieces of advice I have found to be quite valuable so far in the “proposing” stage from Appendix A: The Dissertation (Gray & Drew, 2008):

#163: PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO WRITING YOUR DISSERTATION PROPOSAL. The proposal provides two important payoffs:

  1. It usually provides one or more chapters of your end product, the dissertation.
  2. It is a contract between you and your advisory committee on what you must do to receive the degree. In general, if you do what you promise in the proposal, the committee should sign the final document. If, because of circumstances, you cannot accomplish all you set out to do, you have the basis for negotiation.

#166: IN DOING A LITERATURE SEARCH, use the “chain of references.” Begin with one or two recent articles (a survey article helps!). Look at the references that are cited. Then read those publications that seem apropos and look at their reference lists. Some things will pop out often. These are usually (but not invariably) the classics in the field that you must reference. Proceed from reference to references until the law of diminishing returns takes over.

Lessons to Learn #phdchat

In Gray and Drew’s (2012) 2.0 version of this same advice book for graduate students, they include a whole chapter on The Dissertation. There are a few useful tidbits for those of us who are (what I lovingly call) “dissertating”:

#19: PROBLEM-SOLVING MODE. Don’t assume that if you are having trouble defining a dissertation topic that the entire dissertation process will be that arduous. Once you define the topic, you are in problem-solving mode, and most people do well in solving a problem once they know what the topic is.

#26: MATCH THE LITERATURE SEARCH TO THE DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS. You may find that as your dissertation progresses, some parts of your literature search are really irrelevant to your research. In this case, you should be ruthless. Despite the brilliance of your pose and the long, tedious hours you put into creating the material, you must delete these pearls. Of course, you should save what you don’t use as part of your file of references so you can use it over and over in future publications.

Right now, I am spending much of my time refining and working on #163 and #19. I just met with my faculty advisor, Dr. Jeff Allen, to review my chapter three research methods and discussed how to develop the recipe for this section. Stay tuned as you will soon learn more about  my topic and direction I am going, and hopefully I will get some input when I crowdsource my data collection in the very near future.

For those who are currently developing your dissertation proposals as well OR those who have successfully defended your dissertation proposals, what sort of advice and tips would you give? Please share!

Reference:

Gray, P., & Drew, D. E. (2008). What they didn’t teach you in graduate school: 199 helpful hints for success in your academic career. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Gray, P., & Drew, D. E. (2012). What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School 2.0. Chronicle of Higher Education.

#AcWri, #phdchat, LPQ

The @LPQuarterly Workshop No. 1 – HOW TO: Effectively Review, Submit & Publish Your Academic Manuscript

To support our graduate students and junior scholars at UNT, with their academic writing development, the Learning and Performance Quarterly hosted its first workshop this past Friday, March 1st.

The purpose of this session was to introduce graduate students to the Learning and Performance Quarterly journal, and engage in a discussion about scholarly peer-review, academic editing, and the publication process. Dr. Kim Nimon & Dr. Jeff Allen shared their experiences and thoughts on the publication process, and what it takes to submit an academic manuscript.

We discussed the steps from submission preparation, through correspondence, and all the way to publication, including:

  • Understanding Academic Journal Types: A, B, & C Level
  • Considering the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) for journal levels
  • Using Google Scholar Citations & being critical with Google Scholar
  • Filtering with the UNT Libraries Search – Summon
  • Researching Academic Journals: Cabell’s Directory (hard copy in library)
  • Scholarly Publication Process – how it helps your academic writing improve
  • Effective Peer Reviewing – comments, feedback & effective suggestions
  • Expectations & Considerations – the typical process is 9-12 months
  • Developing Publishing Relationships – between reviewers & editors AND the editor & author; it’s a human process
  • Attending Conference Sessions with the Editor – bring your manuscript, learn if they need papers, build a rapport
  • key rejection reasons – format, grammar, APA, and theoretical frameworks
  • How to get involved in the academic reviewing & writing process
  • Using a plagiarism checker to review your manuscript before submission
  • Communication with the editor & being timely with your peer reviews

During the session Dr. Nimon shared her own publishing experiences, provided the group with  peer-reviewing and editor correspondence, and talked about what she looks for in academic manuscripts as an editor. 

Although many asked to record the workshop; I decided not to as the open discussion, and Q & A format was really best served in person, and I think the conversation was more candid without the recording.  You can thank the LPQ Assistant Editor, Tekeisha, for compiling notes from this session – here is the summary of what we discussed:

Besides encouraging our attendees to write, we also placed value in joining the peer-review and editing process. We suggested to sign up to review articles for the LP Quarterly AND other journals in their field. Being a peer-reviewer helps junior scholars gain experience in the publishing process, build a rapport with editors, learn about acceptable journal submissions, and hone their own academic writing craft. I suggested reading Rocco and Hatcher’s (2011) book, specifically “Chapter 2 – Publishing in Peer-Reviewed and Non Refereed Journals” to get their feet wet with starting the academic submission process, preparing a manuscript, deciding where to publish, and how to best work with editors.

Although I have seen this session before – I know that I left the workshop with some great takeaways from Dr. Nimon, and helpful ideas shared by scholars who have been through the full academic writing experience from submission to publication. A huge thanks to Dr. Nimon for her time and sharing, Dr. Allen for donating the book giveaways (who doesn’t LOVE winning the Rocco & Hatcher text or APA 6th edition book?), and, most importantly, thank you to those of you who joined us on a Friday night. I appreciate it. 

In our efforts to be more developmental, the Leaning and Performance Quarterly would like to offer more in-person and online workshops on researching, writing, editing, reviewing, and publishing. It was great to see representation from other departments and disciplines across campus the other evening. We welcome others to join us for future LPQ Workshops as we consider other topics, including:

  • Managing Your Writing Projects
  • Forming Agraphia (Writing) Groups
  • Writing Literature Reviews
  • Drafting Conceptual Articles
  • Secondary Data Analysis

If you have any topic suggestions or would be interested in participating – let me know. Feel free to write suggestions in the comments OR send a message to the LPQ Editors: LPQuarterly [at] gmail [dot] com.

FYI: The NEXT Call for Submissions is on Monday, March 11th at 11:59 pm CDT. Do you have your academic manuscript ready? Submit TODAY!

Reference:

Rocco, T.S. & Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

#phdchat, PhD, Professional Development

Have Conferences, Will Travel

Apparently when it rains, it pours – for conference proposal acceptances, that is. Since this semester is light on course work, heavy on dissertation proposal research, and I have a amazingly supportive supervisor/department, I will be fortunate enough to be able to attend a few conferences this term.

Laura Pasquini Where is Shee

Here is the rundown for my tentative CONFERENCE travel schedule:

Dalton Institute 2013 http://studentvalues.fsu.edu/2013-Dalton-Institute
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL  January 30-February 2nd   Follow: #dalton13 Invited Keynote: Student Development 2.0: Optimizing Social Media to Connect Your Campus

AHRD Conference http://www.ahrd.org/ 
Washington, DC   Feb 13-17, 2013
Abstract paper: “A Review of Theoretical Frameworks Explaining Formal Mentoring Relationships”; Thanks to my co-author Mariya Gavrilova-Aguilar who will be presenting

iConference 2013  http://www.iconference.ischools.org/iConference13/2013index/
@iSchools & UNT Host, Fort Worth, TX   February 12-15, 2013  Follow:#iconf13   Our #UNT Social Media Expo team (Andrew Miller, Leila Mills, Mark Evans & I) qualified for the grant from Microsoft Research FUSE Labs on our paper: “Towards a Methodology of Virtually Augmenting a Knowledge Sharing Community of Practice: A Case Study of the Local Food System of Denton, Texas”

South by Southwest (SXSW) Education Conference & Festival http://sxswedu.com/
Panel Discussion: Social Media in Higher Ed – where are we going? with @Bcroke, @tjoosten, & @bradpopiolek
Austin, TX  March 4-7, 2013  Follow: #sxswEDU

 

Emerging Technologies for Online Learning – Sloan C http://sloanconsortium.org/conference/2013/et4online/welcome
Las Vegas, NV   April 9-11, 2013   Follow: #et4online                               @et4online Conference Planning committee; graduate student instigator

 

Futures of Academic Publishing: UNT’s 4th Symposium on Open Access https://openaccess.unt.edu/symposium/2013

May 30-31, 2013   Dallas, TX


NACADA 2013 International Conference http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Events-Programs/Events/International-Conference.aspx
Maastricht, Netherlands   June 5-7, 2013
Workshop: Communication 2.0 Plans: Effectively Engaging Students Online
*Possible poster and panel session involving the #AdvTech survey and Social Media in Higher Education research.*

 

10th Annual Sloan Consortium – Blended Learning Conference & Workshop http://sloanconsortium.org/conference/2013/blended/welcome 

Milwaukee, WI    July 8-9, 2013

 

Invited Workshop: Supporting Blended Learner’s Need to Develop Social and Connected Skills Through Digital Pedagogy

Let me know if you will be attending, presenting, or frequenting any of the above conferences. I expect to meet up with the usual [professional/scholarly] suspects I collaborate with, and I look forward to new colleague connections and learning during this conference season.