The Online Academic Community: Enterprise WP Environment

This post ran almost two months ago on Inside Higher Education for the University of Venus. I have revised it.

I would like to speak to  my use of our Online Academic Community (OAC) at the University. This is the enterprise WordPress site on our campus. It is in its first year of “real” (non-pilot) use and my hope is that more users were join the OAC for teaching, learning, research, and community building for scholars and student groups.

I had used the OAC during Summer 2013 term, but the 2013 Fall term was the first regular term in which I used the OAC. The OAC is our internal WordPress site. What makes it better than the regular WordPress site is that the cloud is on our campus. We only use themes, widgets, and plugins that comply with the provincial privacy regulations that keep my students’ data and all information in Canada. While I encourage my students to occasionally Google themselves and mind their digital footprint, it is important in the learning environment that any education technology tools I ask them to use as part of their evaluation maintains the integrity of their information. The other advantage of the OAC is that WordPress is my preferred blogging platform and I am quite comfortable with it. Plus, how can I say no to technical support from colleagues on campus? They are a tweet, email or phone call away from helping resolve a student query or the occasional odd troubleshooting. You cannot put a price on having technical support–it is priceless.

 What are we doing with the OAC? My students are blogging, vlogging, and uploading Wikipedia entries into the OAC. We are also using the OAC environment as portfolios for all of their work. Their blogs are academic research assignments that require the same care of an assignment that is submitted as a hard copy. Some of the students opt to make a particular post or vlog private, and this is acceptable. Given that the nature of my courses focus on issues of gender, politics, and sexuality, it is not uncommon that the students are blogging or vlogging about sensitive issues. The last major assignment is a research paper related to the course materials, and this also is uploaded into the OAC.

During this time, I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing their writing and analysis improve on their sites. Many of the students have been in my office working on their sites and discussing their work. In the beginning there were growing pains for some of the students as they figured out the technology and I helped them figure out the themes, widgets or overall set up of their blog site. And, this term the students are group blogging, placing their apps, and their TS Talks on their group sites.

The students are getting their fair share of writing opportunities, but they are thinking critically and learning transferable skills at the same time. The transferable skill really is the ability to use the OAC, publish on Wikipedia, and use Vimeo or YouTube for their vlogs. In previous terms, when we have used the regular WordPress site or other blogging platforms, I usually hear from a few students that using the technology was lots of work, but others note that the skills they learned were useful with their current job or their search for work.

 I am hopeful that the OAC site and technical support continues to make these assignments dynamic for my students. I am optimizing technology in the classroom in a way that works for most of them. While I have offered blogging assignments during the last six or seven years, I am more cognizant of protecting my students’ privacy and more familiar with effective social media platform use in the classroom. I like to try new things and I find that many students are open to using technology in different ways.

OAC

Learning Commons at UVIC

Students will be hard pressed to complain that no one is helpful at UVIC. Between faculty, TAs, the workshops at the Counseling Centre and the Learning Commons they have help at their finger tips. OK. Maybe at their toes, as they will have to walk to these offices. I walked around the library this morning and was really excited with the Learning Commons. So, excited that I made a 90 second video on my iPhone just on the fly. Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/26lvel7 

And, this does not include the International Commons! Don’t forget that near all of this are the desks for the Help Desk (satellite) and Reference Desk. The Library is the place to be to get help, study, research or grab a latte in the Biblio Cafe. Seriously, get into the Library. This is an old post of mine, but too good to not add to and share that there are even more resources dedicated to student learning. What are you waiting for?

 

Those TPS reports won’t write themselves. 

darth vader dark side

Assessment of Student Work: It’s Not about You

I spent the weekend and part of last week reviewing and marking first year mid-terms. This post is worth sharing again and again. This morning I read some of this blog aloud to my first years. I even had the blog up on the screen for them to see. I do think it is important to remind students that the mark is not about you, but the work that was reviewed. We (me and the TAs) are not judging you as a person. I know that it might feel like it, but that is not the case.

If I could look into the eye of every student (undergrad and graduate) and say:

Your course grades do not reflect who you are as a person. The grade is only an assessment of your performance in this moment with these assignments–no more. You should not take the grades personally and wonder if this means that the person who assessed your work doesn’t like you. We are assessing so much work and it’s ultimately about the writing, analysis, presentation, ideas, grammar, spelling punctuation, directions, but not about you as a person. The assessment is about the performance of the assignment or the project and it is not personal. And, I also ask that you think about the assignment that you submitted. Was it your best work and did you follow the directions? Are you owning the grade and the comments? It is so to say that the Teaching Assistant or Professor has it in for you or does not understand you, but is there more there? A moment of introspection is needed so that you can think about the assignment and the expectations for your work.

I remember when I started teaching and I was more casual with the students. I would occasionally hear the following, “But I thought you liked me.” I conferred with my mentors and was told–you have to be more formal. Use your title and remind them that you are assessing their work and not them. Who they are has nothing to do with the grade. It’s about the writing and thinking. I re-worked my syllabi and did become more formal the following term and didn’t hear those personal statements again. March Madness on campus is really not just about basketball. It’s also about research, thinking, and writing. Mange your time well so that you do justice to your ideas. My purple pen is here to comment and tease out ideas. I pick up each paper and think~ what is here and how can I help? The assessment is really about the ideas. Please remember this.

Helpful Info for Women in Political Science

Orgs, Books and More!

CPSA: http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/ (French: http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/postings-f.shtml)

Société Québécoise de Science Politique: http://www.sqsp.uqam.ca/

APSA, Women’s Caucus for Political Science: http://www.apsanet.org/content_2907.cfm (Organization webpage: http://www.apsanet.org/)

ISA—Feminist Theory and Gender Studies: http://www.isanet.org/ISA/Sections/FTGS.aspx

WPSA, Caucus for Women and Gender Justice: http://wpsawomen.com/Home_Page.html (Organization webpage: http://wpsa.research.pdx.edu/)

Websites

Eduseed: Promoting Higher Education Among Historically Disadvantaged Communities: http://www.eduseed.org/

Mama Phd (IHE): http://www.mamaphd.com/

Ontario Womens Liberal Commission: http://owlc.liberal.ca/news-2/women-queer-women-politics-involved-earth-problem/

Sister Mentors: Promoting Higher Education Among Women and Girls of Color: http://www.sistermentors.org/home.htm

The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com

Fear of Feminism: http://chronicle.com/article/Fear-of-Feminism/138631/

Gay Mentors in Modern Academe: http://chronicle.com/article/Gay-Mentors-in-Modern-Academe/130883/

Rejection and Its Discontents: http://chronicle.com/article/RejectionIts-Discontents/139403/

Self-Sabotage in the Academic Career: http://chronicle.com/article/Self-Sabotage-in-the-Academic/138875/

The Professor Is In: http://theprofessorisin.com/

The Thesis Whisperer http://thesiswhisperer.com/

Tomorrow’s Professor: http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/postings.php

TP Msg. #1259 Motherhood: How Faculty Manage Work and Family

http://derekbruff.org/blogs/tomprof/2013/05/30/tp-msg-1259-motherhood-how-faculty-manage-work-and-family/

TP Msg. #1250 Let’s Make a Deal—Six Myths About Job and Salary Negotiations

http://derekbruff.org/blogs/tomprof/2013/04/30/tp-msg-1250-lets-make-a-deal-six-myths-about-job-and-salary-negotiations/

TP Msg. #1241 The Chair’s Role in Facilitating a Collegial Department

http://derekbruff.org/blogs/tomprof/2013/03/28/tp-msg-1241-the-chairs-role-in-facilitating-a-collegial-department-2/

University of Venus (Inside Higher Education): http://uvenus.org/

Women in Higher Education: http://www.wihe.com/

Women Suffrage and Beyond: Confronting the Democratic Deficit: http://womensuffrage.org/

WMST-L Archives http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/wmsttoc.html

Journals of Interests and Journal Articles

Cambridge Journal of Education

Gender and Education

International Feminist Journal of Politics

Journal of Feminist Scholarship

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy

Politics and Gender

The Review of Higher Education

Women’s Studies in Communication

Acker, Sandra, and Grace Feuerverger. “Doing Good and Feeling Bad: the work of womenuniversity teachers.” Cambridge Journal of Education 26, no. 3 (1996): 401-422, doi: 10.1080/0305764960260309.

Bower, Glenna G. “Gender and Mentoring: A Strategy for Women to Obtain Full Professorship.”

Collins, Gail. “‘The Feminine’ Mystique at 50.” New York Times, January 23, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/magazine/the-feminine-mystique-at-50.html?pagewanted=all.

Elley-Brown, Margaret J. “The Significance of Career Narrative in Examining a High-Achieving Woman’s Career.” Australian Journal of Career Development 20, No. 3 (Spring 2011): 18-23, doi: 10.1177/103841621102000304.

Gaze, Beth. “Working Part Time: Reflections on Practicing the Work – Family Juggling Act.” Law and Justice Journal 1, no. 2 (2001): 199-212. http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=755722715628569;res=IELHSS.

Goeke, Jennifer, and Emily J. Klein and Pauline Garcia-Reid and Amanda S. Birnbaum et. al. “Deepening Roots: Building a Task-Centered Peer Mentoring Community.” Feminist Formations 23, no. 1 (2011): 212-234. http://muse.jhu.edu/.

Kreider, Tim. “The ‘Busy’ Trap.” New York Times, June 30, 2012. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/.

Mills, Melanie Bailey. “Intersections between Work and Family: When a Playpen Can be Office Furniture.” Women’s Studies in Communication 31, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 213-217, doi: 10.1080/07491409.2008.10162535.

Samek, Alyssa A. and Theresa A. Donofrio. “‘‘Academic Drag’’ and the Performance of the Critical Personae: An Exchange on Sexuality, Politics, and Identity in the Academy” Women’s Studies in Communication 36, no. 1 (2013): 28-55, doi: 10.1080/07491409.2012.754388.

Books

Armstrong, Sally. Ascent of Women. New York: Random House, 2010.

Baker, Maureen. Academic Careers and the Gender Gap. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012.

Cote, James E., and Anton L. Allahar. Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

Evans, Elrina, and Caroline Grant, eds. Mama PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life. New Brunswick. N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2008.

Jalalzai, Farida. Shattered, Cracked, or Firmly Intact?: Women and the Executive Glass Ceiling Worldwide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Krull, Catherine and Justyna Sempruch, eds. A Life in Balance? Reopening the Family-Work Debate. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011.

Newman, Jacquetta, and Linda A. White. Women, Politics, and Public Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Noddings, Nel. Happiness and Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Noddings, Nel. The Maternal Factor. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2010.

Osbord, Tracy L. How Women Represent Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Robinson, Ken. How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. New York: Penguin, 2009.

Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. New York: Knopf, 2013.

Valian, Virginia. Why So Slow?: The advancement of women. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.

Twitter Handles to Follow (Working List!)

@AMaioni Antonia Maioni, President of Congress, McGill, Political Science

@ideas_idees Federation

@ATRWibben Annick T.R. Wibben, University of San Francisco, International Studies

@janniaragon, UVIC, Political Science

@partnershipuvic, UVic Corporate Relations

@JLisaYoung, Lisa Young, Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Calgary, Political Science

@OrsiniMichael, Michael Orsini, University of Ottawa, Political Science

@ChristineNLewis, Christine Lewis, Congress Coordinator, UVic

@UA_magazine, University Affairs, Ottawa, ON

@EmmMacfarlane, Dr. Emmett MacFarlane, University of Waterloo, Political Science

@uvicpoli, Uvic, Political Science Dept.

@pmlagasse, Philippe Lagasse, University of Ottawa, Political Science

@thedaleykate, Kate M. Daley, York University, Political Science (PhD Candidate)

@geoffsal, Geoff Salamons, University of Alberta, Political Science (PhD Candidate)

@Mireille2013, Mireille Paquet, University of Montreal, Political Science (PhD Candidate)

@SuleTomkinson, Sule Tomkinson, University of Montreal, Political Science

TED Talks

Huffington, Arianna. “Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep.” Filmed December 2010. TED video, 4:11. Posted January 2011.

Katz, Jackson. “Jackson Katz: Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue.” Filmed November 2012. TED video, 17:41. Posted May 2013.

Koyczan, Shane. “Shane Koyczan: “To This Day” … for the bullied and beautiful.” Filmed February 2013. TED video, 12:04. Posted March 2013. http://www.ted.com/talks/shane_koyczan_to_this_day_for_the_bullied_and_beautiful.html.

Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach. “Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women entrepreneurs, example not exception.” Filmed December 2011. TED video, 13:16. Posted January 2012. http://www.ted.com/talks/gayle_tzemach_lemmon_women_entrepreneurs_example_not_exception.html.

Pierson, Rita. “Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion.” Filmed May 2013. TED video, 7:48. Posted May 2013. http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion.html.

Robinson, Sir Ken. “Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms.” Filmed October 2010. TED video, 11:41. Posted December 2010. http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms.html.

Sandberg, Sheryl. “Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders.” Filmed December 2010. TED video, 14:58. Posted December 2010. http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html.

Stokes, Colin. “Colin Stokes: How movies teach manhood.” Filmed November 2012. TED video, 12:53. Posted January 2013. http://www.ted.com/talks/colin_stokes_how_movies_teach_manhood.html.

Zimbardo, Philip. “Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?” Filmed March 2011. TED video, 4:47. Posted August 2011. http://www.ted.com/talks/zimchallenge.html

Many thanks to Ms. Sylvia Alves for her assistance in curating this array. This is a draft and please share, but note that this is from the two of us!

My Comments to the UVIC Grad Class of 2013

I was an invited speaker to the UVIC Grad Luncheon. It was held on Sunday, March 24th at the Fairmont Empress. The following is my typed speech, but I ad-libbed some and will try to recall some of those comments.

Today I want to speak to you about a few things with my precious 10-15 minutes. Those of you who have classes with me know that I can gladly take more time!

First, thank you to the Grad Committee for inviting me to speak. I saw the flyers for this event and wondered if I should buy a ticket. I conferred with one of my friends, Dr. Annalee Lepp and decided that this was a student event, and had no idea that you invited faculty to speak (not lecture)! I was happily surprised when I was invited. I have so many current and soon to be former students graduating and thought it might be nice to attend. I believe at last year’s convocation I counted more than 100 former students graduating…so thank you for the invite. My family has been joking with me that it’s just me and some…oh, the college President! It’s definitely one of those moments when I can picture Vice President Biden smiling and saying, this is a BFD. I thank you for this humbling and amazing opportunity and hope that my comments are useful. I won’t lecture, I promise.

I want you to think about the words aspire, aspiration, and inspire.

Not too long ago I was in your shoes…I was about to graduate and wondering what was next. But, even before then I was thinking about going to college and my aspirations. Like many of you, I am a first generation college graduate and in the process of my post-secondary education, I earned four degrees. BA in Women’s Studies, minor in Political Science, MA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, then the MA and PhD in Political Science. With each degree my family was bursting with joy, yet also wondered when I was going to stop and finally become a college professor. I did lots of adjunct work (part-time teaching) between different universities in Southern California. I loved what I was doing and knew that I was in the right career on that fateful day in January 1996, when I lead my first section or as they call them at UVIC– tutorial. I’m lucky. I knew what I wanted to do, but alas my road to full-time work had some bumps in the road—few jobs in places that I was willing to work. Yes, I am a weather snob. I don’t do four seasons. My people thrive in warmer weather!

But, after many years of work, I took a big chance and immigrated to Canada in May 2004 with my family. My partner and I arrived in this beautiful city without jobs. Simply put, I took a chance on Victoria, and on Canada. I was glad for getting short-listed for some government jobs a few times, but when Dr. Colin Bennett called me and asked if I would be willing to teach Poli 335: Gender and Politics, I said: yes. I never looked back. I’m glad that I worked part-time for Political Science and Women’s Studies. I got the lay of the land. I networked. I went to talks, meetings, conferences, and taught lots of courses. I took a chance on UVIC and UVIC took a chance on me. (Here, I referred to Abba and think I sang, “Take A Chance on Me.”)

I want you to think about taking chances. I want you to think about what you aspire to do. Where do you see yourself in 1 year or in 5? How will you use your UVIC experiences to your advantage? How will your education help you get to your next goal? In the 5.1 years that you were at UVIC (that is the average time for most of our undergraduates to complete their degrees)–what have you done? You’ve attended courses, tutorials, hopefully office hours, clubs, events, worked, and occasionally let some steam off. But, how are you going to make use of this wonderful privilege–a post-secondary education? That is really up to you. Some of you will continue to graduate school and work, but most of you will continue working or look for what’s next–the career job. For most of you, that first year after graduating is the hardest. I hear from your friends who graduated–they say that they miss UVIC, they miss the freedom that they had. Believe it or not–your college years are some of your best years. You’ve made so many connections–you’ve learned so much. So, what is next?

I want you to think about people who inspire you. What qualities do they have that you admire? How can you learn from them? Who do you inspire? Many of you have been leaders in different respects on campus or off campus. There are certainly different ways of leading. Others of you are sitting perhaps thinking-who me? I’ve inspired someone. Yes, you have. It could be a classmate, a sibling, your parents, a coworker or one of your professors, who you have inspired. But, you’re not done. You’re just starting. You have more to do—to aspire to and to inspire.

Let me get back to people who have inspired you. I want you to get uncomfortable. I want you to make coffee appointments with some of these people who inspire you. You might send them a friend request on Linked In and then begin to interact with them there or maybe on Twitter. Get to know people in real life, but also within social media–these tools can be incredibly helpful for you. For the people that you can meet with face to face–ask if they have free time to meet with you. You’d be surprised at the number of people who are willing to meet with someone who is interested in learning more about their company—even when they aren’t currently hiring. They might say no—too busy to meet or they might be willing to meet with you. Ask them if they can introduce you to another person. You need to network. You will hear some nos, or people who might not respond to your email or call. Do not let that dissuade you.

You need to see our Career advisors on campus and have a set of eyes review your resume and get comfortable with promoting yourself. Your education is one part of who you are, but now you need to feel more comfortable networking and promoting yourself. You need to think about your aspirations. You cannot rest on your laurels–a BA. You have to go the next step. And network. Look for work. Meet people.

What can you do? Get out there. Join organizations or professional groups in your field of interest. Talk with your mentors. You do have some–think of your networks that you currently have, your former professors, teachers, family network, career services on campus. And, think about what you want to do next. Talk to people about what you think you want to do and this includes your peers. I am a strong believer in peer mentoring. Find a mentor, coach or sponsor–someone you trust who you can chat with occasionally or regularly. You need to articulate, plan, dream, and make things happen, but having someone to chat with is incredibly useful. You have this degree (just about) and what you make of it is up to you.

My hope is that you have some idea of what is next for you. Pursue it. And, remember that you can do so many things with that BA. What have I done? I worked retail, then retail banking from regular teller, business teller, customer service rep w/ loan work, educational foundation work (researcher), then did consulting work for non-profits and now I’m half way through 15 years of teaching and mentoring. I also am quite active in my discipline and I started that activity in 1996, when I was a PhD student. My point here is that you’re going to do lots of things with your career. Be patient, be strategic, and make mistakes. When you look back, they might not be mistakes, but what I refer to as teachable or learning moments.

Your BA demonstrates that you were able to start and complete something. It demonstrates to your family, peers, and potential employers that you have post-secondary education. But, you need to then demonstrate your skills. What are your skills? Think about this. This is where Career Services and Mentor/Coach are helpful. I cannot count the number of conversations with students who didn’t realize how important it is to note their skills, languages, computer software familiarity or social media literacy on their resumes. Ask for help. Think about what you’re good at and what you want to do. Talk to your peer network about your skills and what you want to do. I know this is scary. I’ve been there.

This next year will require you to be more introspective. I want you to be introspective, too. What single word describes you? I think about this lots and depending on the month or time of year I might have a different word. Today: it’s mentor. Mentor describes me. The mentor in me wants to encourage you to read some more. Yes, don’t groan. I want you to peruse What Color is Your Parachute. I want you (women and men alike) to read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In or join the website portal for the book. See what works for you, but remember that even if your formal education is complete–ultimately you will engage in life-long learning.

When I think about where I am today, I realize that years of preparation went into being a standout candidate for my job. I put a few years of prep into making sure that the hiring committee could not think about NOT interviewing me. Sure, I had experienced rejection letters, but this didn’t stop me from trying again, and again. What I’m saying that is success is not immediate. You need to try, you need to aspire. And, you need to get used to the fact that at times you won’t get the interview or be short-listed, but you take a deep breath and try again. Do not give up. I aspired to be the first college graduate from my family and I was. I am the first Dr. Aragon and hopefully not the last. Your BA is the first of many accomplishments for you. Try different things! Make your life list and write/type or text what you want to do and revisit this list periodically. Be flexible–be smart. And, update this life list—chat with your trusted network about your aspirations.

I want you to be introspective and remember to aspire for more. You are really at such a propitious moment of your life. I know that I speak for many– I am so proud of you. We are proud of you. You are on your way to becoming UVIC alums. And, looking out at your faces this afternoon I have a sense of inspiration. You inspire me—you make what I do rewarding. Congratulations UVIC Class of 2013!

UVIC Next? Salary Study

I don’t normally share my emails, but this one is worth doing so.

Dear Colleagues: After the UBC Gender Salary Correction went live on January 21st, I heard from many of you. Then the Globe and Mail covered the issue and noted how women faculty were being “given” a raise. I have some good news to share. On January 25th, I was told that the Administration and Faculty Association had signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA). The LOA notes that the Administration and Faculty Association will investigate gender salary issues at UVIC. This LOA was signed on June 29, 2012. Since I am not part of the Faculty Association’s Negotiating Team, I was not privy to this LOA.

At first you can imagine my frustration finding out six months after the fact. After I had invited a UBC colleague to share their story, and then after spending an all day meeting in Vancouver strategizing with our sister Chairs. However, I realize that this was privileged information and that by having presentations, meetings, and discussion this was a good thing. It kept our membership thinking about what we need to do and our Administration was paying attention to this work. Now, we know that the Administration is going to work with our Faculty Association. The UBC Report through correction took four years. I hope that it doesn’t take as long at UVIC.

There will be a committee including Administration reps, Faculty Association reps, and an AWC rep. The AWC Steering Committee will meet later this month to discuss this issue as well as other ongoing events. This is a sign of good faith from the Administration. I urge us to celebrate this move forward, but to be cautiously optimistic.

Please take a look at our colleague, Richard Pickard’s, blog post about this matter at:

http://notstrategic.blogspot.ca/2013/02/gendered-salary-inequities.html

Richard notes that he is not speaking for the Faculty Association’s Negotiating Team. Also, generally speaking it’s worth taking a look around his other posts.

Hope to see you at next week’s Faculty Association meeting–for the special Valentine’s Meeting! Thursday, February 14 at 3:00pm in Social Sciences and Mathematics Room 102.

~~~~~~

Within minutes of sending the above email I have had numerous positive emails. Thank you! This is not going to be an easy process. But, let’s move forward in good faith.

Word Camp Victoria 2013

I attended my third Word Camp in Victoria AKA #yyj this past weekend. It was another great event, where I learned lots about Word Press and the various functions of the platform. More importantly though, I got to see some of my students in action, as we sat on a panel together about blogging. I’m so impressed with these students and others and just want to send positive energy out there to: Renae Sinclair, Adrienne Sanders, and Alannah James. I’ve placed them in the order of our presentations. Way to go!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a Word Camp, I would suggest that you do or look for a Word Press Meet up in your region. It’s good to bounce ideas off of others and to also hear about the plug ins that are tested or the favorites of the more advanced users. I’m really lucky to live in a tech saturated city–another name for Victoria is Tectoria. And, this May Social Media Camp will take place. Check it out!

Tough Mudder: Give a Sister a Hand Up

I am a champion for women and girls. This does not mean that I do not support men and boys; however, I have dedicated my life’s work to supporting women in higher education, and in other aspects of my life. I mentor and coach women and men equally, but that is not the point of this post. I feel that another part of my efforts is supporting women athletes. I live with one competitive swimmer and her little sister is following the same path. I also participated in team sports throughout high school, so I feel a special kinship to and for women athletes.

It gives me great pleasure to blog about one of my UVIC students who is a Tough Mudder. She’s a bad ass. She’s an athlete, personal trainer, and scholar. And, I’d like to introduce you to her: Lindsay Van Gyn. Lindsay is a student in the Social Science Faculty at UVIC in the Anthropology Department, who is focusing her degree on First Nations of British Columbia. Lindsay is taking one of my courses this term and approached me about her upcoming competition.

Previously Lindsay has volunteered for Adbusters Magazine. And, she comes from a family of women athletes. Her sister is a professional snowboarder! Why am I sharing this? Well, Lindsay qualified for the Tough Mudder competition in New Jersey and she’s fundraising for iBelieve Foundation—dedicated to finding a cure for Hunter Syndrome. Here is her Indiegogo site. Did I mention that Lindsay was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Seattle Tough Mudder. She must sit in my first year class and think that the environment is nice, warm and friendly—compared to the grueling Tough Mudder competition. It’s not easy to qualify for the World Competition—only some 5% of Tough Mudder competitors are invited. What can Lindsay expect at the Worlds:  8 miles that includes more than 40 obstacles and all at a balmy freezing or below freezing temperature! Lindsay will compete in this race for 24 hours completing the course as many times as she can. Yes, I did say that the she will run complete the race multiple times. This Tough Mudder race makes the Camp Pendleton Mud Run seem like a cake walk (but please don’t tell the Marines this), and I can tell you that the Mud Run is a hard race. So, I’ll support Lindsay in spirit and more. Don’t you want to open your hearts and wallets?

I am asking readers to share this information and think about donating to one Tough Mudder—Lindsay, who is raising money for a great cause. Please share this post! And, as  usual, thank you for reading and commenting on my little slice of the Interwebs!

Faculty In Residence: Part 1

I was contacted this Summer by the Student Residence Program to find out if I wanted to participate in this new program on campus: Faculty In Residence. What this entails as far as I know, is meeting with students who live on campus and discussing different topics. The time commitment is up to me. This project will have students meet professors in a non-classroom environment.

I’ve participated before in talks to students who live in residence, which were more informative talks about research or how to be a good student. This initiative though is meant to get the students to establish a better or perhaps different relationship with faculty. Perhaps–demystify the professor. I don’t know everything about the initiative, but I did agree to it. As I have repeatedly blogged about, mentoring is my mandate and I take mentoring and coaching students and peers seriously. I also have mentors and friends who I go to, so mentoring/coaching never really ends.

And, to the students who suggested me for this program, I thank you.

This short post is one of hopefully several about the Faculty in Residence program.

Open Political Science Courses at UVIC

I don’t normally do this, but what the heck. Here is a screen shot of Political Science courses at UVIC that have room for students! Be bold and take a course:

As you can see we have some new courses, too! Remember that getting on the waitlist can work to your advantage–just go to class. Many students enroll in 6-10 courses, but “shop” during the first two weeks. Good luck!