My Valued-Added Worth ... aka, Boast Post!
I was accused of complaining while not clearly outlining what I have accomplished in my current position. Consider it remedied.
I had already written most of this post; I had reviewed what I had accomplished over the summer, and was looking forward to what I had going on during the upcoming academic year (optimism! I know! So unlike me lately!). But then I read this comment:
In essence, what's irritating is to read a post where someone asks for better working conditions and/or recognition without within the same text showing that he/she has offered value and a unique contribution to justify said increase in recognition and pay.
I wrote a response directly in the comments, but I think that it might be worth it not only to go over all the things I will be doing this semester, but also all of the things I have accomplished while teaching at my current institution. The writers over at Hook and Eye used to do monthly Boast Posts (which, incidentally, they should revive) and I always looked forward to them (green-eyed monster aside) because they were justifiably full of pride and even joy.
So without further ado, here is what I have accomplished professionally (both traditionally and non-traditionally) in the two academic years I have worked as an instructor at Morehead State (you can find my complete CV here) as well as what I have on tap for this upcoming one.
In terms of publishing, I have published three peer-reviewed journal articles and four peer-reviewed book chapters, with three additional articles currently under consideration. My book of essays on Anne Hébert was published in the fall of 2010, but, obviously, most of the work was done before I started working here. I completed a manuscript for an edited volume of essays on Dany Laferrière that should come out in the spring of 2013. I also completed revising my dissertation into a manuscript, which is currently under consideration with a university press.
I have done six conference presentations, two local and four international. I was the Permanent Section Chair for the Canadian Literature division for the Mid-West Modern Languages annual conference, which means I coordinated and chaired the panel each year.
I’ve taught a 5/4 teaching load each year, and have continually innovated and improved my teaching and pedagogy, introducing a variety of digital tools, multi-modal writing assignments, and peer-driven learning. My teaching evaluations have been universally strong, save for being a tad too loud when I lecture (this complaint, however, mostly comes from the other professors on the floor where I am teaching).
In service to my department and institution, last year I agreed to mentor high school teachers from our Early College program. This might not sound like much service, but I mentored over 20 teachers (the most any individual faculty was supposed to mentor was five), and had to do site visits, consult on their syllabi, trouble-shoot any problems they may have had, and generally provide whatever guidance and help I could provide as they taught for college credit.
And that’s just the “traditional” stuff.
I grew my original blog’s audience while still contributing to the University of Venus, where I was named a regular contributor. I moved my personal blog to IHE, greatly expanding my reach and increasing my audience base. I have written numerous “guest-posts” at various other education blogs and sites, including Hybrid Pedagogy and (more recently) Prof Hacker. But people are still linking to and finding my “old” blog, as it receives, on average, over 100 hits a day.
I also started #FYCchat to connect with others who teach Freshman Writing, in order to learn more effectively and efficiently, as well as create a virtual community of educators. I regularly participate in a variety of Twitter education chats, such as #engchat, #digped, and #femlead.
Finally, I joined up with a digital research group in Canada, where I am working on transforming the volumes of unused research and archives from my dissertation into a more usable, accessible, and critical digital edition.
Now, this year, I’m teaching five courses (with another four in the Spring, as I am contractually obligated to do); four sections of English 100, one section of English 200. I decided that it would be a smart thing to pack all the classes on the same days (T-Th) to give me three days to write. After two weeks of teaching, I am already questioning that decision.
On October 11th and 12th, I will be at the University of Western Ontario, speaking on behalf of their new Digital Humanities initiative/program. I’ll be giving a keynote talk, as well as a graduate workshop. (Note to self: I’d better get on that). I’m really excited about this opportunity. It’s a new program, and I’m eager to connect with faculty and students interested in Digital Humanities.
In November, I’m going to be in Las Vegas (VEGAS!) to speak at the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NTCE) National Conference. The title of our roundtable (that I spearheaded) is “Twitter and Social Media of Igniting Professional Learning Connections,” and it was selected as a “Spotlight Presentation.” Basically, it’s an excuse for the #FYCchat gang to get together, meet face-to-face, and hang out in Vegas. But we’re going to be talking to teachers about the power of social media to aid in their professional development, as well as how the lessons can be integrated into their classrooms, so their students can take advantage of the expertise that out there, too.
In January, I will be in Boston for MLA 13, on two panels, both on Digital Humanities topics (you can read about them here and here). The panel I proposed was selected to be highlighted as part of the Presidential Theme. Then, I will be participating in the newly-formed Digital Humanities Winter Institute, taking the session on Digital Editions, for my work with EMiC. Then, the semester will begin (or have already begun) and I’ll be teaching four classes, type unknown.
Hopefully in February, I’ll either be in Tallahassee to finally meet Dany Laferrière or in Lexington for a DH conference. Of course they happen to fall on the same weekend, but I’ll try for both, hoping one of them comes through. At worst, I can justify an hour drive to Lexington, even if I’m not presenting. But I really, really want to finally meet Laferrière (there’s a reason why my research blog is called Chasing Laferrière). The smart thing to do, in my quest to reinvent myself as a digital humanist, is to go to the Lexington conference. But my heart is desperate to finally meet the man I’ve been chasing for ten years.
I’ll have to take a “break” after that to concentrate fully on finishing my current book project (working title: “Dany Laferrière: a life revised,” which is under contract with Wilfred Laurier UP), with a break in June to attend DHSI again (hopefully in the Digital Pedagogy session). I’m also looking for local professional development opportunities to expand my digital skills. With a new program in Strategic Communications (which is all about digital creation), as well as a pretty good Computer Science program, I’m pretty excited to be able to use the resources that I have at my disposal right here to expand my skill set.
On campus, I sit (as a representative for the lecturers) on our department's General Education Writing Committee, which oversees the English 100 and 200 classes, as well as evaluating and reporting our Student Learning Outcomes. I also sit on our Faculty Evaluation Plan committee, where I am helping revise our teaching criteria/standards. I’m also starting a campus wide Professional Learning Community where we will be discussing and working on implementing Doug Thomas’ suggestions from A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change in our own teaching and pedagogy.
So…I’m going to be busy. Is that valued-added enough?
Never mind. Let’s get this year started.
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