Miscellany

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Linky goodies

More bullets, if you can stand them

Even more random bullets of crap -- what a disgrace. Perhaps I should go ahead and tell you that what with my new administrative position, these may be the only kinds of posts I have time to write from now on.

  • My blog reading habits have changed a bit lately. I've especially been reading a lot of good DIY/money-saving/consumption-cutting blogs such as Lifehacker and the blogs on the LifeRemix network:

    Behance

    Cranking Widgets Blog

    Dumb Little Man

    Freelance Switch

    Happiness Project

    Ikea Hacker

    LifeClever

    LifeDev

    No Impact Man

    Pick the Brain

    Success From the Nest

    Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Workweek Blog

    Unclutterer

    WiseBread

    Zen Habits

  • I've learned a lot about placement in the last week, as 95% of my time has been devoted to analyzing various cases. We use a system which places students in writing courses (basic, intro, or honors) according to their test scores, but we also have teachers assign a diagnostic essay on the first day of class, which we use as triangulation to make adjustments to the placement decisions if appropriate. To be sure, I'm no embracer of high-stakes testing and teaching to the test; however, I haven't been able to help but notice that the quality of the writing samples has been consistent with ACT and SAT verbal scores in most cases I have reviewed. The exceptions are the cases in which the test scores are okay, but the writing reveals problems; I suppose these cases demonstrate the need for writing-to-learn approaches over drill-and-test approaches.
  • Next up on the administrative agenda: syllabus review. This check is going to be pretty basic; I and other members of the first-year writing committee are going to look for the following:

    1. Is there a breakdown of how the grade will be calculated?
    2. Is there a brief description of each assignment? (Note: something like, "Essay 1, personal narrative, 3-4 pages")
    3. Is the attendance policy clear and in accordance with university policy?
    4. Is the plagiarism policy clear and in accordance with university policy?
    5. Are the appropriate textbooks in the "required materials" section?
    6. Does the instructor provide contact information and office hours?
    7. Is there a course description?
    8. Are emergency evacuation procedures listed?
    9. Is the disability policy clear and in accordance with university policy?

  • After syllabus review comes faculty development workshop planning. We're already planning a diversity workshop, and there are other possibilities. Others have expressed interest in workshops on responding to student writing and on plagiarism, and of course I will take instructors' needs into consideration when deciding on topics for workshops, but those two topics have been done and done and done some more (though I have some good ideas for how to shake up a plagiarism workshop and make it new). One I'm interested in would be a workshop on monitoring students' mental health. After the tragedy at Virginia Tech, this is especially important, and I'm convinced that things are going to change for writing teachers because of it. At stake are students' privacy and freedom of speech, weighed against the safety of the student body. What should writing teachers do when they are disturbed by student writing or believe a student is mentally disturbed? Is a recommendation to talk to someone in student mental health services enough anymore?
  • Also: I HAVE TO work on research, sometime, somehow -- I'm devoting this weekend to it, actually. It's been so hard to set boundaries these first couple of weeks, when so many (very nice and collegial, mind you) people need to talk to me. Everyone in my department and on the WPA listserv has said that it gets better, that the beginning of the semester is the busiest time, and I hope they're right.
  • Oh yeah, and I'd like to exercise today. I'm thinking about going swimming in our apartment complex pool.

Random bullets

  • I'm thinking about creating an administratosphere category after the fashion of Collin.
  • Speaking of administration, I've been trying to figure out which offices I need to contact to introduce myself. So far I have:

    * the library (to find a research librarian who can schedule library
    visits for FYW courses)
    * the Services for Students with Disabilities office
    * the Office of International Affairs
    * the Counseling and Testing Center
    * the Office for Campus Diversity
    * the Department of Student Personnel (an office of the Dean of Students)
    * the Department of Modern Language (regarding writing courses for ESL students)
    * the Moodle administrator
    * the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
    * the Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
    * the registrar's office
    * the Office of Admissions
    * the university bookstore
    * writing program administrators at other universities in the state with whom we have articulation agreements
    * the Office of Institutional Research

    I think I'll have some built-in networking opportunities with some of these, as the director of first-year writing is expected to serve on the Admission by Exception Committee and the Enrollment Management Committee. Before posting the list here, I submitted it to the WPA listserv. I thought I'd get flamed for posting about a topic I assumed they'd talked about many times before, but it actually got some positive response. I'll be interested to see if any of you have any additions to the list.

  • The new issue of Kairos is out, and I'm thrilled to see a version 2.0 of an article Steve Krause wrote years ago, "'Where Do I List This on My CV?' Considering the Values of Self-Published Web Sites." Charlie has been talking about the value of publishing updated revisions of landmark articles for years, so I'm hoping others follow Steve's lead.

    Particularly exciting about the article is the fact that Steve gives updates on each self-published site he showcased in 2002, and he asks the authors about their sites' effect on their tenure cases:

    Lee Honeycutt earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor at Iowa State University. In email correspondance for this revision, he said that he thought his hypertextualized version of Aristotle's Rhetoric helped his case "as several external reviewers believed the site was comparable to a 'critical edition' work. But online work such as this cannot be the only standard. Candidates for tenure still need to show evidence of traditional scholarship in print journals" (electronic mail communication, June 12, 2007). Interestingly though, his previous self-published web work seems to have laid the foundation for recognition of his more current self-published web work, Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory. Honeycutt wrote, "Though I had not discussed (the Quintilian site), my department listed the site in a 'books and other works' category when compiling our department bibliography this year" (electronic mail communication, June 12, 2007).

    Daniel Anderson earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In email correspondence, Anderson wrote "I think having technology be a part of my job portfolio helped a bit when it came to getting promoted for tenure. It allowed me to use articles and textbooks as my traditional scholarship by layering them over a foundation of lots of technology innovation that could be pitched as one of the main reasons for my hire. So, the argument was, the hire was for tech innovation--that is there--and on top of it, look at these books and articles" (electronic mail communication, June 12, 2007).

    Also, the original 2002 article was published in a special issue about electronic publishing. The special issue was spread across several journals, which Steve also revisits:

    I'd really like to see a list of needs from the editors of Enculturation and The Writing Instructor. If you're reading this, editors, how can we, the rhetoric and composition community, help? What needs to get done in order to get these journals going again on a regular schedule, even if it's just one issue per year?

The Piggly Wiggly, the Tan'n'Browse, or the laundromat?

Phil Campbell, Alabama is 34 miles from where I grew up, and every time we go to my grandmother's house, we pass through it. Now there's a hilarious video about the annual Phil Campbell Hoedown:

You should check out the other videos by Magical Pudding as well.

Dans la Louisiane

We've been in Lafayette for several days now, and we're settling in. We have, of course, loved the food. We've had some excellent Greek and Thai food, but my favorites are probably Poupart's Bakery and Lafayette's. We had the Cajun lunch buffet at Lafayette's, which was outstanding, and I can't wait to have the Sunday brunch there. Going around doing all the new-job things, like setting up email accounts and voice mail, getting faculty IDs and parking passes, and moving into offices has been draining, so I haven't had much energy to blog lately. Hopefully that'll change. For now though, some photographs from the UL campus, mostly of the swamp:

Turtles in swamp on UL Lafayette campus

Turtles in swamp on UL Lafayette campus

Turtles in swamp on UL Lafayette campus

Turtles in swamp on UL Lafayette campus

These turtles are SO CUTE. They saw us leaning over the brick wall, and they swam over expecting to be fed, but we didn't have any food on us.

swamp on UL Lafayette campus

swamp on UL Lafayette campus

swamp on UL Lafayette campus

swamp on UL Lafayette campus

My undergraduate campus had a live lion in a cage, and now I'm a professor at a university with an alligator habitat.

UL Lafayette campus

Lolcephalopod

This one's for PZ Myers (and yes, I'm behind on my Google Reader):

Lolcephalopod

Exhausted

We finally got to Lafayette the day before yesterday. We had expected our things to arrive yesterday, as it had been four to five business days since we loaded the truck and they picked it up.

HOWEVER. Our stuff is...still in North Carolina! They have "committed" to having it here by Friday, though we don't know what time on Friday. Gah. So now we're sleeping on body pillows for a couple of nights and drinking canned Starbucks coffee in the mornings.

Blogging, then, will still be light for a while. Today we're going to campus to get office keys, fill out some various paperwork, and join a credit union.

Quick post from the road

Jonathan and I are staying for a few days at my parents' house, as this is around the midpoint of our 1000+ mile move. It'll soon be over.

Also, comments have been re-enabled. I adjusted the comment closer setting, so please comment away.

Anyway, I'm starting a cake meme, as that's about my brain's level right now:

Cakes I love

dark chocolate
red velvet
coconut
Italian creme (with almonds)
yellow
strawberry
spice

Cakes I dislike somewhat

cheese
carrot
black forest
tres leches
caramel

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