May 11, 2010
Faculty Academy 2010
Below are some links used in Dr. Linda Boland’s spring 2010 Introduction to Biological Thinking (IBT) course: Biology 199, Neural Communication.
June 5, 2009
The rest of my day at the Virginia Network State Conference was divided into a breakout session, lunch with the second keynote speaker, Josefina Castillo Baltodano, and a session on financial planning and retirement. I will highlight the breakout session in this post, as the one I chose most closely matched my reasons for attending the conference. I had a difficult time choosing one session among the six breakout sessions, which included “Unconventional Pathways,” “Charting Your Own Professional Career,” “Superwoman: Balancing Career and Family” (though I don’t have a family yet), and “Salary Negotiation,” of which UR’s own Director of Consulting and Recruiting, Kim Wilson, was a panelist. Next year, I would definitely recommend repeating some of the breakout sessions in the afternoon or splitting sessions between a.m. and p.m., or recording the sessions so that participants can watch the archives. (Hey, it’s what the edtech geeks do at every conference!)
I finally chose “Charting Your Own Professional Career,” which the program described as:
“No woman is an island - even at work. Career planning should begin with your first job. Every woman needs to develop life goals and to write a business plan for life so that she can control her own destiny. This session will help get you started on defining you personal goals and planning for success. Learn how to build on your professional relationships to land the perfect job, advance within your university/company and secure the executive office. Topics will also include how to find mentors, the role of networking, how technology can widen your network, and why women need mentors of both genders.”
I thought it was going to be a hands-on workshop where participants wrote out life mission statements and carefully meditated on their desires for the future, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. Linda Thomas-Glover, president-elect of Eastern Shore Community College; Deneese Jones, dean of Longwood University’s College of Education and Human Services; and Princess Moss, a Louisa County K-12 administrator and member of the Board of Visitors of University of Mary Washington spent more than the allotted hour sharing their most pivotal career-shaping moments and fielding questions from the aspiring attendees. Because I spent the session soaking up the knowledge, strategies, and experiences of these women, I am well on my way to disciplining myself to create my personal mission statement, starting with reflecting on where I’ve been, and how what I want ties in with my talents, skills, and personality. But first, I’ll share with you some of their words of wisdom.
Linda Thomas-Glover spoke first. Glover asked, “Are you getting energized by what you’re doing?” She and the other women emphasized both knowing yourself and knowing where you don’t want to go. Earlier in her career, when she was unsure of what she wanted, she knew what she didn’t want, which prevented her from wasting time wandering down side streets. She encouraged the women in the room to be prepared — to get the credentials, whether degrees or other experience, that they needed to succeed in their chosen fields. One of the fears of my generation is getting “locked in” to something, but Glover told us not to be afraid to explore [academic/professional areas] and reassured us that we’re not stuck in one area with a specific degree. She used herself as an example: She was recently elected to serve as president of a community college, but she has a doctorate in chemistry (and made good, direct use of that degree before her new position).
Glover shared her advice with us on seeking out a mentor: “You need someone who can be transparent, but also has your best interests at heart, is willing to make you be honest about yourself, and makes you think things through. And she reminded the fifty or so women in the room: “The mentor doesn’t have to be female!” Some of her mentors happened by default, because of a role or position she’d held. Jones echoed her message: “Find someone who has qualities you like, and try to mirror them.” Moss’ sentiments on mentorship: “Don’t forget to BE a mentor, and be kind to everybody you meet. Even though a person may not be in a position that interests you, you never know where they’ll be tomorrow or a year from now.”
Glover concluded with, “Avoid the victim mentality. Ask ‘What can I learn from experiences?’, and be mindful of the bits you can take out.”
And for those earlier in their careers, Jones encouraged the women to think about “What kinds of careers would connect to your skills and aptitudes and be consistent with your values and passions?” She went on, saying, “Explore your options. Make a list of people in these careers. Ask if you can observe or shadow someone for a day.” She shared her experience shadowing a college dean, a position she was interested in, when she realized she had no idea what a dean really did. “Make sure you see and understand the full range of duties of potential positions.” Her advice for getting ahead: “Apply for or ask to be nominated for leadership preparation or organized-development experiences. Be deliberate, and choose the fork in the road. You can’t just put your head down and do what others tell you!”
In figuring out her own direction, Jones had words of advice. She said that we should take the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory and other personality tests because they encourage us to be reflective. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m really into Myers-Briggs. I learned during the talk that Jones shares my type of ENFJ (extroverted intuitive feeling judging), which we share with approximately two to three percent of the world. We are rare! Maybe that’s why I found it so easy to relate to what she was saying. The extrovert in me, who gets recharged from being around and communicating with others, has a hard time getting motivated to make time for reflection. But once I do, the theoretical, intuitive side of me takes over, and I spend hours engrossed in thinking, planning, goal-setting, and learning more about myself. Jones told us not to forget our hidden skills and not to take abilities for granted. MBTI and the myriad other personality tests out there can help us recognize these skills and abilities and how to incorporate them into our careers.
Next, Jones told us to find ways to showcase your “value-added” and package your potential. In the tech world, this is a direct message to “brand” yourself. Lately, there’s been a branding buzz in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. (See this Fast Company article to learn more about the importance of creating a brand for yourself.) A blog is probably the number one easiest way to build a brand. It’s a low-barrier-to-entry way for anyone to put himself or herself out on the web, start networking through comments from visitors, and showcase his or her experiences in and insights on current events and topics of a chosen field.
Finally, Jones encouraged us to “Figure out how to be confident and competent — assertive — without being arrogant.” But often, even those who do figure this out are seen as harsh, conceited, insolent, or worse, as I’m learning in “Women Don’t Ask,” by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever. I’ll share reflections on this book in a future post, but the authors show that because of stereotypes, the culture we’ve grown up in, and myriad other influences, many women are programmed to tone an assertive demeanor down; they are often afraid to ask for what will make them happy and they frequently take what is given to them without negotiating. They name countless studies that show women don’t have as high of a sense of entitlement as men do, and that women are willing to work longer hours for shorter pay. (This is a fascinating read that I highly recommend to all women.) Jones finished with, “Be prepared to deal with stereotypes.”
Princess Moss anchored the talk. She said, “Don’t accept it if someone puts you in a position where you are set for failure.” She had several pieces of wisdom on planning. In finding her direction, she wrote down one big goal and outlined the steps she thought she’d take to get there. She encouraged us to do the same. No, you wouldn’t always follow that exact outline, but to have a next step, a goal at the center of your mind that you can constantly be thinking about as you evaluate, “Will this action/event/project help me achieve my end goal?” help me is critical to staying motivated. Then, she told us to write the plan of where you DON’T want to end up.
Stop and think about that for a second…how many of you have ever done that? How much would an exercise like that benefit college students, or those early in adulthood who are unsure of the directions they’d like to go in?
Moss also echoed Jones’ sentiments on mentors, emphasizing that men and women thought differently, and that people of different genders can help you in different ways. She concluded with, “Don’t be afraid to take risks.”
June 1, 2009
On Friday, May 29, 2009, 239 other women and I attended the Virginia Network State Conference sponsored by the Office of Women in Higher Education of the American Council on Education. These women served their colleges in roles from deans to museum curators to professors to college presidents. Even a few graduate students attended the event, held nearby at Virginia State University, a 127-year-old historically black university nestled alongside the Appomatox River.
I was immediately attracted to the conference theme of “Putting the Pieces Together: Bringing Balance and Unity Into Your Life.” I hoped to make connections that could lead me to potential mentors, and to learn from women who’ve worked in the field of higher education for many more years than my two. As a young, curious instructional technologist, I eagerly soaked up advice from some very engaging speakers. Gwendolyn Williams, one of the women who delivered the opening remarks, encouraged us to “be selfish for the day,” to take a moment to exhale and soak up all the wisdom about to be bestowed upon us. She encouraged us to network, and (as I heard several times throughout the day) find a mentor. “More people fail from a lack of preparation than a lack of talent,” she said, and it hit me that all of these things — learning from those wiser and more experienced than I, finding a mentor, and sometimes taking moments for “me” — were essential elements in the preparation process for a solid and satisfying career.
The Hon. Viola Baskerville, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Secretary of Administration, delivered the opening keynote. Inspired by a favorite professor of mine, I’m often thinking about ways to become a better communicator, both in casual conversation and when speaking in front of a group of people. In recent months, I’ve been carefully observing speakers and reflecting upon how they connect with their audiences. Viola excelled in all aspects of a speaker. She established rapport from the beginning, made us laugh, exuded confidence without arrogance, and told memorable stories from her own life. She clearly had her audience — busy women who were trying to balance careers, families, and other interests — in mind when she was preparing her talk, which encompassed things that all working women in education could relate to. Her message was more powerful because of what a strong woman she was — accomplished in her career, happily married, the mother of two grown sons, and a woman who transformed her health by working hard to lose 65 pounds.
Viola fired up the audience with, “We are women. Hear us roar!” (That got a lot of laughs.) In her talk, she shared the tenets by which she lived her life, and urged us to slow down the frantic pace of our lives. She lamented that working women often neglect to time out for themselves. She said, “We overwork ourselves in our jobs, then immerse ourselves in caretaker roles.” I’m not at the caretaker stage yet, but I know that someday I will be. I want to prepare myself as best I can for my future life, so I’m eager to soak up all the advice I can get from others who’ve been there.
Beginning with prioritization, Viola began disclosing her life lessons. “You can have it all, just not at the same time,” she said. I like to say that there’s a season for everything, but in reality, I often think I can make the current season the season for everything. It was good to be given this dose of reality (again) that I must stop thinking this way!
Then, Viola dove into the theme of the conference: balance. She said, “Identify the top four categories that you want to balance, and honestly assess how much time you give to each… Ask yourself, ‘What matters to you, right now?’” That question was on my mind as I went about my weekend, and days later, as I prioritized tasks at work. “Get rid of clutter and baggage in your house and life. Don’t be so busy being busy. Ask, do I have to go to this event? Is it going to change me? Figure out what is primary and secondary. Learn how to say no.” Easier said than done. I, and many other women, thrive on being busy, which sometimes leads us to add things to our plates that aren’t top priorities in our lives. This leaves us with the pitfall of running ourselves into the ground — the opposite of the life balance we’re trying to achieve.
“Don’t let people step over your boundaries,” Viola continued. “Carve out time for personal time first. Then event plan, but pick and choose. Guard your personal time.”
A light bulb went off in my head. The extrovert in me, who gets her energy from conversations with others, often neglects to do this. By the time I get around to having personal time, I’m wiped. But when I’m at an energy low during my me time, I’m actually cheating myself out of the high-quality thinking and reflecting that is necessary for personal growth and discovery. Viola went on, encouraging us to drop the technology during quiet times. “Private time means private time — without e-mail.”
At that moment, I made a pact with myself that in the near future, I was going to revisit a book called Boundaries (Cloud and Townsend), which I’d bought about a year ago, but, ahem, never found the time to get past the first chapter.
Viola said, “Spend more time trying to find your own voice, and less time trying to please others.” This is an area where I (and many who share my Myers-Briggs temperament, NF, often struggle). NFs (iNtuitive Feelers, or Idealists — particularly my type, the Teacher) spend so much time doing for others that we forget to really listen to and take care of ourselves. She told us to “figure out what matters to you right now so that you can have a clear sense of purpose. Figure out what you want your priorities to be, rather than what you think they should be. If you live in agreement with your purpose, it will be strengthened.” She challenged us, “What makes you happy? What is your passion?”
Next, she shifted to people. She, and most of the other speakers that day, told us not to be afraid to accept help from others. She urged us to get rid of the toxic influences in our lives: “Do not surround yourself with negative people. Don’t spend your major time with minor people. Surround yourself with people who share your goals, values, and lifestyle.” And because life is not always harmonious, she encouraged us to “fight conflict at its earliest stages.”
She ended by reciting a poem called “The Dash Between the Years” about a man who spoke at his friend’s funeral. The “years” refers to those on her tombstone, and the dash represented how she spent her time on earth. It’s a good reflection on what really matters in this life. Watch this short flash movie if you’re craving some inspiration.
Be on the lookout for my next post about the conference, which will highlight the rest of my experiences at the Virginia Network State Conference.
May 14, 2009
Yesterday, I attended the University of Mary Washington’s annual Faculty Academy conference. About 100 instructional technologists, librarians, faculty, and other higher-ed professionals from across UMW, Virginia, and beyond enjoyed a day of debating the usefulness of course management systems and the benefits of open course content, enriching students’ educational experiences by fostering community with Twitter, learning how to craft a unified digital identity despite a fragmented career across different educational institutions, and taking in a showcase of blogs in and out of the classroom. Not to mention following the meaningful discussions among attendees (and those watching from afar via ustream) on the Twitter backchannel #umwfa09.
I’ll leave you with an entertaining teaser. Cole Camplese, Penn State’s Director of Educational Technology Services, shared Irving Fields’ original “Youtube Dot Com” Song during his talk, “Engaging the New Classroom Conversation.”
May 6, 2008
In order, here is a listing of what was explored during today’s Learning 2008 presentation on copyright and collaborative web 2.0 multimedia-sharing communities:
- A Fair(y) Use Tale
- Viacom Sues YouTube for $1 Billion
- We Didn’t Start the Fire
- Consortium of College and University Media Centers: Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Media
Creative Commons and Flickr
- YouTube: “Wanna Work Together?”
- Creative Commons
- Spectrum of Rights Comic
- Creative Commons Licenses
- CC Licenses: What each icon represents
- Flickr: Creative Commons
- Flickr; Flickr Advanced Search (most interesting/Creative Commons)
- CC Licensed Most Interesting Photo Findr for Flickr
- Library of Congress’ Flickr Photostream
Copyright-free media finders
- Our Media
- Testimonial: Lawrence Lessig on OurMedia
- Wikimedia Commons
- Mayflower (Wikimedia Commons Search)
- Morgue File
Slide Sharing Communities
Collaborative audio and e-book communities
I will follow up with a posting on other related resources that I didn’t have time to cover in the Learning session. Thanks for attending and feel free to leave your comments, ideas, or links to other web 2.0 multimedia-related communities, sites, and blogs in the comments section.