Academia, Reflections

Top Ten List for Being a Better Faculty Member

Just when I thought I was done with orientation sessions at UNT… I attended my OWN “new faculty” orientation.

welcome new faculty

{UPDATE: For those who are not aware, I finished my PhD this summer, graduated, and accepted a 9-month faculty appointment with the UNT College of Information as a Lecturer for the Department of Learning Technologies. Yay!}

During the day, information about the campus, expectations and advice was shared by a number of administrative leaders from the campus.

ten

One talk, from Dr. Warren Burggren, the Top 10 List for Being a Better Faculty Member, provided some sound advice, so I thought I would share this with you. I think it applies to new faculty, returning faculty, and others starting a new job in higher education.

10. Get to know the lay of the land. Beyond your office or workspace, get to know other locations on campus. Walk around and explore your college/university. Find out where buildings and resources are located.

9. Meet and greet in your department. Get to know fellow faculty members. Introduce yourself. Starting a new position is a great time to network and meet others in your department, on your campus, and in your discipline.

8. Know the rules… or ask about them. There are a lot of rules at every institution. Be sure to be informed, or know where to go for help or who to ask questions. Don’t be overwhelmed – just be smart.

7. Talk frequently to your chair. They are an ally and confident. Your chair will be there to support and guide your development within the department and your discipline. Set regular meetings/check-ins with your chair as their schedule allows.

6. Most of your frame of reference is still as a graduate student. Make the full transition to full time faculty. Please don’t feel like you need to socialize with your students – rather get social with your peer group. Get involved in faculty networking and social groups. Inappropriate interactions with students is something administration has to deal with, and they would prefer not to manage this.

5. Get a life. Even though you are working hard during your first faculty appointment, don’t forget to play hard as well. Take care of yourself. Find time to do things for you. #TreatYoSelf

4. Stay OR get organized. Don’t over commit. Manage your time effectively. Learn the ability to say no, and feel free to borrow the following phrase when asked to do something: “I would love to do ____ however; I don’t think I am being the best faculty member I can be.”

3. Teach and teach well. Focus on excellence in the classroom. Include solid bookends in your semester, i.e. the first and last lecture. Find something to talk to your students about during both classes. Make it experiential. Engage the students in the first lecture and final lecture. Be dynamic and encourage learners to want more.

2. Take pride in your university and community. Be part of the activities around the campus and city. There are a number of ways to be involved in the community and engage in school spirit. #GoMeanGreen.

1. Keep a sense of humor. The university is a complex hierarchical organization. You will want to take all things in stride. Be sure to laugh, and let things role off you.

Others offer advice for entering into academia here, herehere, here, and HERE. What advice would you give a to a new faculty member? Please share.

Learning Technologies

Happy Digital Learning Day! #DLDay – Top 10 Learning Web Tools of 2012

Happy Digital Learning Day (#DLDay)!

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To celebrate digital learning day today, I thought it would be a good idea to share my belated Top 10 Learning Web Tools list from 2012. As I have read other lists (here and here), I have been meaning to share useful tools that have helped me learn this last year. You may have heard me say “it’s not the tool” but rather how you use the tool – so I thought I would share my top tools that I have put to use for my own productivity and learning.

  1. Twitter – This is my active stream of information that allows me to track on conversations either via search, hashtags or through my Twitter lists. I value Twitter to find information, learn about news/trends, collect articles, read blog posts, and, most importantly, engage with peers on a daily basis. My evolving personal learning network (PLN) is definitely at the top of my learning list.
  2. Google Docs/Drive I have found Google Drive EXTREMELY useful in 2012, as I am often seen with my Chromebook in tow. Daily I can be found using Google Drive, as I typically take notes during a lecture/meeting, brainstorm storm agenda items, crowdsource ideas, collect information (via a Google forms), or store resources i.e. PDFs, presentations, and database files.
  3. Dropbox – Not all of my collaborators of research, work and writing use Google Docs, so I tend use Dropbox as my “go to” cloud storage and sharing with MS Word. I often move in between spaces and devices (mobile, PC, Chromebook, & Mac) both on campus and at home, so Dropbox is easy enough to save and return to any working projects or assignments. As a frequent flyer for with an edu account, I have accrued 23.22 GB of space through referrals, use, and a Dropbox quest. My Dropbox allows for easy work flow, specifically for storing conference presentations, collecting articles for a literature review, archiving tweets through IFTTT, downloading my mobile photos, holding my lesson plans, and editing manuscripts with co-authors.
  4. Google Search – When in doubt…Let Me Google That For You. I would say that Google is typically used as my initial search for information, news, and quick finds probably because I am often working in Google Drive (see #2) and using Google Chrome (see #7). I have learned benefits of refining my power searching skills, and also not having this as my only outlet for knowledge acquisition.
  5. Google Scholar Although I increasingly use the UNT Libraries – Find Online Articles Search more often these days, I can say that Google Scholar has been a helpful tool for finding data, collecting statistics, locating peer-reviewed journal articles, collecting my literature review materials, and retrieving other scholarly resources.
  6. Google + Hangouts The reason I value Google Plus is for the Hangouts. Both for a meeting space or “On Air” live recording, this forum has proven well for meetings, conference calls, presentations, demonstrations, peer-review process, and general catch up with colleagues. I do still use Skype; I have a greater preference for using a video conference space that has live notes, free group (up to 10) calls, connection to my Google Drive, and, of course, the ability to infuse ridiculous Google Effects when meetings run on too long. Side note: I  am curious to see what happens with the Google Plus Communities. I have recently been invited to a few, and I can see some potential with this feature in Google Plus.
  7. Google Chrome As a mobile learner and avid Chromebook-er, I would say that Google Chrome is a user-friendly web browser for productivity and workflow. I appreciate the streamline interface, search ability, extensions  and applications from the Chrome Web Store {which compliments my Android phone apps as well}. Also, it is quite compatible with Google Drive, Google + Hangouts, and easily transferable from my office to home computing life.
  8. WordPress I may have been exhausted from reflecting during my Masters’ program; however I think that having my own space and place for reflection has helped me in 2012. For a fellow researcher, I candidly explained why I blog and more about my blogging history; however I used my blog more this year to document my doctoral progress and process my own educational experiences. Thanks for being an easy space to draft, publish, and share these thoughts, WordPress.
  9. Delicious Although I use Scoopit, Storify, and Paper.li a great deal, I can say that Delicious is still my top curation tool. Since 2007, I have been collecting and organizing resource into my delicious account. When I share a URL on Twitter it automatically archive the link to my delicious account via packrati.us. This is great to return back to my tags and stacks to find notes, information, statistics, or articles that I can use for presentations and publications. Also I appreciate others in my Delicious network who stayed loyal to this tool (even after a few changes) and socially bookmark useful resources.
  10. Flickr This social photo sharing site has provided me with a lot of inspiration and ideas. Whether I have used creative common-licensed images for presentations and blog posts, or just as a tool to document my own PhD adventures, I appreciate being a member of the Flickr community. I often capture a photo of a presentation slide, make a note from class, or document an image on the go to house them on Flickr for future reference and referral.

For 2013, I plan on taking Jane Hart’s (@C4LPT10 Tools Challenge to find out how to use new tools to help for my own professional learning, research, and development as an educator/trainer. For those of you who want to join in the fun, check out the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 for inspiration to explore. Happy learning!