Monday, December 19, 2016

The Tricky Art of Writing a Curriculum Vitae

Writing a CV is like any piece of writing:  it requires revision (literally "re-vision") and time to develop.  Writing is a process, one which takes continuous reflection and revision.  This does not mean we are "bad" writers and didn't get it "right" the first time.  Instead, it signals to the reality that learning to write and writing to learn are intertwined.

The Curriculum Vitae is no exception to this rule.  In fact, a happy CV is one that gets lots of attention.  Your CV represents how an outsider sees your work, so it's important 1) that it is up to date and 2) that it  represents what's important to you.  That said, there are some general rules which will help you write a CV that works for you.  But first, you have to work on your CV.  This is not generalized reciprocity.  This is specialized reciprocity.

In the spirit of helping newer PhDs and faculty move from adjunct to appointment, I created a Prezi to accompany my presentations on writing effective CVs.  I share it here in the hope it will help some of you struggling with writing your CV.  Keep writing!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Life a an Adjunct Series at MCNY

As higher education's heavy dependence on adjunct labor to educate students seems to have no end in sight, I believe we as educators (& administrators) have a duty to help foster our adjuncts both in the classroom and professionally.  In the spirit of providing training, support, and career growth for adjuncts, my colleagues and I created a series that would give training in pedagogy to help improve the classroom experience but also provide professional development as our adjuncts move on, hopefully, to full-time appointments. 

“Life of an Adjunct” is a new series of workshops designed and facilitated by the Directors and Dean of the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services at Metropolitan College of New York to promote professional development, share best practices in teaching, develop training and resources for academic and professional success, and foster collegiality.  Workshops are open to all faculty members at MCNY, and we encourage participation and suggestions for future sessions.  Registration is free, but RSVP is required. 

Spring 2016 Semester

2/19/16:  Going Beyond the Scantron:  Creating an Exam with Purpose
In this workshop, participants will learn how to write creative exams that not only test but challenge student learning.  Topics to be covered will include best practices in exam design and designing assessment tools.

4/1/16:  Professional Development:  Designing a Winning CV & Cover Letter
In this hands-on workshop, participants will be exposed to multiple CV formats that can be tailored to their particular career needs or goals as well as how to write effective cover letters in response to a job post.  Bring an electronic copy of your most recent CV and a sample cover letter.

Summer 2016 Semester

6/17/16:  Professional Development:  Developing Online Presence & Portfolios
Topics to be covered in this workshop include using social media for professional purposes and how to develop an online academic portfolio using blogs, Vitae, Google Drive, and other sources. 

Fall 2016 Semester

9/16/16:  Master Your Moodle:  Developing Engaging & Interactive Moodle Shells
In this hands-on workshop, participants will demonstrate creative ways to engage students via Moodle.  Topics to be included will include how to use sidebars to tailor, embedding versus hyperlinking, and using alternative formatting options to make your Moodle shell engaging and informative.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Advanced Twitter: Using Lists

The List option in Twitter is simply a subscription tool that can be used to control how your Feed categorizes Tweets.  It’s a great tool, and here you will learn 1) how to use it and 2) how to apply this to possible other projects you are working on.

JOIN.    To see what your colleagues are Tweeting about, join our LIST.  Go to your home page, and click on “Tweets,” “Following,” or “Followers.”  The new screen that appears will have your feed, and to the left it will say “Lists.”   

SUBSCRIBE.  Click on “Lists.”  Any lists that you belong to (Member Of) or have joined or created (Subscribed to) will appear.  Click on “Member of”, and then “Fall 2014” and SUBSCRIBE to this list.  When you click on this list, and you will see EVERYTHING that folks on this list have tweeted.

CREATE.  You can set up your OWN LIST.  Especially if you are following a lot of folks, this will help you sort your Feed content. This is a great way to 1) stay connected to particular people and organizations; 2) work on your class projects (including your Constructive Actions); or 3) keep up on feeds in a focused way.  For instance, you could have a List called “morning news” that you check to see what’s going on in the world.  You could have another on “human rights” to stay connected to the latest on what’s going on around the world, or in your neighborhood. 

CONNECT.   You can use the List to connect your Twitter account to your Constructive Action and your Fieldwork.  Follow the major players and organizations, authors, companies, publications, etc. related to your Constructive Action.  Create a List.  That way you can access all of the Tweets related to that topic in one click.  (You can do this for major research projects, too.)  This is a great way to connect with people.  You may notice people add you to a List – check “Member of”.  If so, check out what their List is about, and Subscribe if you are interested in it.  This is a great way to create social networks, and increase your social capital.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Using Popular Culture in the Classroom: “black-ish”, Thick Description, & Twitter

Let me preface this by admitting that popular culture is not solely a tool I use in the classroom; my academic work usually focuses on how popular culture gives insight into the social order in which it exists.  That said, whatever your field of study or the topic of your class, incorporating popular culture is a great way to enliven the classroom, promote student engagement, and teach course content.  This will be a part of a series on my use of popular culture in the classroom, and I invite you to share your own lesson plans by responding in the Comments or posting your own Blog.  (To become an author, email

“black-ish” as “Thick Description”
In an Ethnography class (Communicating Across Cultures) in the BAUS program, students are introduced to Clifford Geertz’ “Thick Description.”  Students understand how Geertz’ descriptions of the wink, the imitation of the wink, the rehearsal of the wink, and the parody of the wink are all imbued with different cultural meaning, but when asked to create their own “thick description” of a gesture in their cultural scene, they often have difficulties.  For Geertz, thick description is the foundation of ethnography, and I want it to be a useful tool for students to use in their own ethnographies. 

A recent episode of the new ABC comedy “black-ish” gave me an opportunity to re-teach thick description in an interesting and approachable way.  The episode features the father trying to teach his son the importance of “the nod” as an act of communication between black men.  While watching the father struggle to show his son the importance of this gesture in his cultural scene, the show became, for me, an extended “thick description” of the multiple meanings of this seemingly simple gesture.
The next day in class, I showed a clip from “The Nod” episode (Season 1, episode 4) of “black-ish”.  Afterwards, we mapped the multiple meanings of “the nod” as a class.  Through this mind map and discussion, we discovered that “the nod” is a sophisticated form of communication that signifies a connection between black men and comes to serve as an acknowledgement of that shared identity and history. 

During the discussion, I nodded my head often, and then asked, “How is my nod different than ‘the nod’ on the show?  The movement is the same.”  I asked them to identify the concept we had studied this semester which demonstrates how the two nods are different.  Almost immediately, one of the students answered:  “Thick Description.”  The room lit up with light bulbs going off over our heads.   “OOOhhhhhh,” a few of them said in this collective moment of realization.

“black-ish” and Racism?
The television show “black-ish” made an appearance in a few of my classes this week.  This new ABC comedy has been met with some controversy over the title of the show and concerns that the show reinscribes stereotypes of black people.  Donald Trump even got involved in the discussion, posting a Tweet that read:  “How is ABC Television allowed to have a show entitled “Blackish”?  Can you imagine the furor of a show entitled “Whiteish”!  Racism at highest level?”

I brought this Tweet up in an Introduction to Sociology course during our discussion of racial inequality.  The simple Tweet allowed us to have an engaging conversation about race, to define “racism”, and to return to other key concepts we had defined, including white privilege, prejudice, and discrimination.  One of the students brought up the term “reverse racism,” and our discussion allowed us to unpack and problematize this term.  This ”real-world” context allowed us to have candid and thoughtful discussion of race in modern American culture.  It also allowed us to ask, “What can be done to combat these systems?”  The students came up with some interesting starting points, including increased conversation, education, and talking more about how racism still exists today though we purport to live in a “color-blind” society. 

“black-ish” and Twitter
I was so excited by the effectiveness of these lesson plans using “black-ish” in the classroom that I Tweeted about my experience, including a picture I snapped of the mind map we made from the class discussion on “the nod” as thick description.  I even Tweeted the image to the show’s creator, Anthony Anderson, and he favorite and retweeted my Tweet to his followers.  This was exciting for me and for the students.  Furthermore, it allowed for our course content to expand far behind the four walls of our classroom. 

Using Twitter to analyze and post course content allows us to see how the work we are doing in the classroom connects to the larger world.  (I require two of my classes to keep Twitter accounts, and use course hashtags for labeling my Tweets that connect to content in my other classes.)  With our collective experience of seeing the application of classroom concepts to the real world, coupled with the “real world” answering back, the students got to see Purpose Centered Education in action. 
By using popular culture in the classroom, it allows the students access into the course material.  By bringing into the classroom what is happening “in the moment” in popular culture, it also encourages students to think critically about the culture all around them.  Often times we look at popular culture as simply entertainment, but as this use of a comedy sit com begins to suggest, pop culture can be a rich way to teach theory.  Furthermore, it’s just plain fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

5 Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Twitter Account for Students (& Faculty!)

How to Get the Most out of Your Twitter Account and Assignment

So you’ve created an account, followed your professor and perhaps a few classmates, and maybe even uploaded an image of yourself or one that represents you to your Twitter account. You read and respond to the “Tweets for this Week.”  

“Now what?” you ask.  “Twitter isn’t so great.  I don’t get what the big deal is.”  Like many things in life, you will get out of this assignment what you put into it.  Furthermore, the more you use Twitter, the more robust it becomes.  Here are some ways to help make that happen.

  1. Follow Interesting People, Important Organizations, & Reputable News Sources

Think of who you follow as a giant dinner party; the conversation at the dinner party will be as interesting as the people you invite.  If you don’t know where to start, follow some of the people your professor follows, or an agency you would love to work for, or a local (or national or international) politician or activist.  

Follow reputable news organizations that post content.  That way when you check your Twitter, you will be exposed to what is going on in the world.  You will start to discover that many use Twitter to post links.  In this way, you can catch up on the news while accomplishing an assignment for class.  This also helps you become more involved in the world around you, which will inevitably help you in your future career and lives as change agents.

  1. Retweet & Favorite

When reading your newly robust Twitter feed (thanks to completing #1 above), you will come across Tweets that you think are interesting or funny or important or….  You get the idea.  You can Retweet or Favorite those Tweets.  A “Retweet” puts the Tweet on your feed so that your followers will see it.  A “Favorite” gets a star; I think of that as akin to the “Thumbs Up” on Facebook.  I will often favorite a student Tweet, but I only Retweet those I want my followers to see.  

Remember that your Twitter Feed is a representation of you, and so what you chose to Retweet will, in turn, show the world the issues that are important to you. Because I will look at your content and learn from you, I often Retweet things you have Tweeted.  In this way, we share sharing information, and that can become infectious.  In a good way. How you decide to use the two is up to you, but remember Retweeting adds content to your Twitter Feed.  

  1. # versus @

Getting down the differences between # and @ will help you Tweet like a pro.  You may have seen some Tweets that look like Newspeak from George Orwell’s 1984.  Usually those writers are using lots of # and @ signs.

The # is known as a Trending Topic.   The @ is a Twitter account.  So when you Tweet to #CritThinkWrite, you are connecting your Tweet to other people interested in that topic, and also Tweeting to that # or Trending Topic.  When you Tweet to @CritThinkWrite, you are connecting your Tweet to my Feed, as that is the address of my Twitter account.  The @ is a great way to connect ideas to people, and people to ideas.

  1. Use Those Trending Topics (#)!

The Trending Topic connects you to other people interested in the same thing.   If you write a post ,for instance, about concepts from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave that you saw in The Matrix, you might add a hashtag #funassignment.  That way you are connecting your Tweet to any other people who also had a #funassignment.  

You can follow major issues or cutting edge news in this way, too, by searching for a hashtag. During Hurricane Sandy, I often used Twitter to find up-to-date information since the news usually lags behind at least a few hours.  New York Times Magazine or Atlantic articles can take months to write, but people are Tweeting their experiences all the time.  Of course we have to assess that information, as not everything we see on Twitter is true or comes from a reputable source, but Twitter provides us with of-the-moment connections to real people and real issues throughout the world.

  1. Use Twitter to Document Your Research & Development of Ideas

If you are doing a research project for a class, or you are trying to figure out, say, how to use Twitter, then document your research process through Twitter.  The links to articles and your ideas are there.  Your Twitter feed will serve as a log of your involvement with that project or idea.  You can also use Twitter as a partial log for fieldwork, or to document your progression in school over a long term period.  In this way, Twitter can serve as a mini journal.  

Your Twitter account also shows potential future employers the types of issues you are concerned with, and the ways that you are thinking critically about course material and the world.  This is Purpose Centered Education in action, as Twitter allows you to connect what you do in the classroom to the real world.  In this way, Twitter can be robust tool for you to complete your Constructive Actions.  Social Media is not always used productively, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to help you accomplish your goals in school and in your life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CFP: Theatre & Performance Studies, SWTX PCA/ACA

CFP:  Theatre & Performance Studies
Abstracts Due November 15, 2014

36th Annual Southwest PCA/ACA Conference
February 11-14, 2015, Albuquerque, NM
Conference Theme, Many Faces, Many Voices: Intersecting Borders in Popular and American Culture”

Hyatt Regency Albuquerque
300 Tijeras Avenue NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Submission Deadline:   11/15/14

This Area encourages dialogue between varied fields of performance scholarship (i.e., performance studies; theatre, dance, and cultural studies; as well as queer and post-colonial theory), and exploration of critiques of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, technology, and nation.  Papers across performance modes, cultural contexts, and historical periods are welcome. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Performativity and theatricality
  • Traditional and nontraditional modes of performance
  • Rituals and the everyday as performance
  • Commodification of culture and the culture of commodification in local and global contexts
  • New technologies and social media as performance
  • Mainstream popular dance and music:  fan culture, pop culture, etc.
  • Explorations of highbrow, midbrow, and lowbrow culture(s)
  • Gender Performativity
  • Performance of the body, real and imagined
  • The Explicit Body on Stage
  • Performing Burlesque
  • The relationship between food, the body, and performance
  • Performance for and in protest movements
  • Rehabilitation through theatre and other art forms
  • Limits, failures, and the impossibility of performance
  • Contested boundaries between performance, theatre and other art forms
  • Historical approaches and theoretical analyses of musical theatre, Broadway, and other mainstream theatrical forms
  • Popular representations of performance in film, television, and media
  • Popular and avant garde approaches to theatre
  • Papers on this year’s theme, Many Faces, Many Voices: Intersecting Borders in Popular and American Culture” 
Panel and presentation proposals from graduate students, artists, and independent scholars are welcome, as are proposals for non-traditional presentations and roundtables.  Abstracts for paper proposals should be submitted to the database.

Please visit the Southwest PCA/ACA website for complete information about the organization, areas of study, conference information, exhibitors, affiliated organizations, and graduate student awards.  And check out the organization's new, peer-reviewed journal, Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy.  Feel free to share this CFP with friends and colleagues engaged in all aspects of Theatre and Performance Studies.

Lynn Sally
Theatre & Performance Studies Area Chair
Metropolitan College of New York
Department of American Urban Studies

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Social Media as Panacea: Resources for Presentation at PCA/ACA (2014)

These resources can be used and adapted for classroom purposes.

Community of Inquiry (CoI) Visual [from]

Getting Started with Twitter [Directions to Students]

Using Twitter in the Classroom:  Sample "Tweets This Week" Prompts [Prompts for Students]

Aghili, Mahdieh, Palaniappan, Aranda K., Kamali, Khosrow, Aghabozorgi, Saeed, & Sardareh, Sedigheh Abbassasab.   “Unifying Informal and Formal Learning Environment:  Education Use of Social Network Sites through Implementing Community of Inquiry Framework.”  International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management, and e-Learning 4.3 (June 2014):  191-196.
Badge, Joanne, Johnson, Stuart, Moseley, Alex, & Cann, Alan. (2011).  “Observing Emerging Student Networks on a Microblogging Service.”  MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 7.1 (2011):  90-98.
Chickering, Arthur W. & Gamson, Zelda, F. Seven Principles For Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.”  AAHE Bulletin 40.7 (1987):  1-13.
Dunlap, Joanna, Lowenthal, Patrick, “Tweeting the Night Away:  Using Twitter to Enhance Social Presence.”  Journal of Information Systems Education 20.2, (2009):  129-135.
Hunter, Jevon D. and Caraway, Heide Jean.  “Urban Youth Use Twitter to Transform Learning and Engagement.”  English Journal 103,4 (2014):  76-82.

Jones, Christopher & Shao, Binhui, “The Net Generation and Digital Natives:  Implications for Higher Education.  A Literature Review Commissioned by the Higher Education Academy.”  The Open University, 2011.
Junco, Reynol, Heiberger, Greg, & Loken, Eric. “The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and Grades.  Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 27 (2011):  119-132.

Lambert, Judy L. & Fisher, Juenethia L.  “Community of Inquiry Framework: Establishing Community in an Online Course.”  Journal of Interactive Online Learning 12.1  (Spring 2013):  1-15.
Lin, Meng-fen Grace, Hoffman, Ellen S. & Borengasser, Claire.  “Is Social Media Too Social for Class? A Case Study of Twitter Use.” TechTrends 57.2 (Feb 2013): 39-45.
Oblinger, Diana, Obligner, James Eds.  “Educating the Net Generation. “ Brockport Bookshelf, The College at Brockport:  State University of New York (2005).
Prensky, Mark.  “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the Horizon 9(5) (2001a): 1-6.
Prensky, Mark.  “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part 2: Do They Really Think Differently?” On the Horizon 9(6) (2001b): 1-9.
Prensky, Mark.  Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Education.  Thousand Oaks, California:  Corwin, 2012.
Rinaldo, Shannon B., Tapp, Suzanne, and Laverie, Debra A.  “Learning by Tweeting: Using Twitter as a Pedagogical Tool .”  Journal of Marketing Education 33 (August 2011): 193-203.

Smith, Aaron., & Brenner, Joanna.  Twitter Use. 2012. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project. (2012).  Retrieved from
Tapscott, Don.  Growing up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation. New York: McGraw-Hill., 1998.
Veletsianos, George. “Higher Education Scholars’ Participation and Practices on Twitter.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 28.4 (August 2012):  336-349.

Ware, Paige & Ramos, Jose.  “First-generation college students:  Mentoring through Social Media,” International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education 2.2 (2013):  149-162.