Jul
2015

Program Director-ing

For the past three semesters I’ve been a Program Director. I know some posts have mentioned that, but because I initially took on the responsibility for a colleague while he was on sabbatical, it felt temporary. He came back and then left again, so taking over a second time means I finally know what I’m doing. :)

Although the on-campus Professional Communication & Emerging Media program has about 130-150 students in it, I want to focus on the online one since that’s what I’m charged with “growing to a full cohort of 24 students within three years of launch.” We launched in Fall 2014 and enrolled 5 students, but going into Fall 2015 we already have 14 students, with new inquiries coming in each week. I’ve upped the marketing efforts and have a better awareness of the nearby tech schools and UWColleges that can feed in to our program, but this year will be crucial. Here’s more info about our target audience as well as our program objectives:

The potential student demographic has been outlined as follows:

  • Students who complete a two‐year degree at a WI/MN community or technical college and wish to finish a B.S. degree online.
  • Students enrolled in a UW-Colleges campus who wish to pursue a collaborative degree while attending their local campus.
  • Students who did not finish a bachelor’s degree who wish to build marketable skills by combining their professional competencies with communication skills.
  • Students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree with no previous college experience.
  • Students currently enrolled in the on-campus PCEM program who wish to complete their B.S. degree 100% online.

Graduates of the PCEM.AC program will demonstrate that they can:

  1. Gauge audience concerns and attitudes
  2. Apply appropriate rhetorical principles
  3. Understand and apply concepts and strategies of global communication
  4. Understand interpersonal, organizational, and intercultural communication within discourse communities
  5. Understand and apply ethical concepts
  6. Apply visual communication strategies
  7. Apply user-centered information design strategies
  8. Apply research techniques
  9. Demonstrate use of audience-appropriate styles
  10. Apply usability strategies
  11. Understand concepts of content management and use content management systems
  12. Write effectively for a variety of audiences, technical and/or generalist, within chosen industry fields.
  13. Apply the concepts of effective communication in their particular field, industry, or specialization.

Today the Stout Online director sent out this “Online College Students 2015: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” report and while technical and professional communication isn’t listed as a “top” program choice, I’m happy to say we definitely offer students opportunities to jump the other five hurdles.

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Jul
2015

summer of healing: good days and bad days

OK, so now it’s time for the nitty gritty. (Although I’ve FINALLY had a steady stream of good days, so this post probably won’t capture the true angst I feel on bad days. I know that’s a good thing, but if I do have a bad day I’ll be sure to update this post then!)

Everything you’ve read in my previous two posts is probably easy for you to understand. She has pain, she goes to the doctor, she’s doing physical therapy, and things are on the mend. Well, that’s not the everyday drama/trauma of this “injury.”

You don’t know how badly I wish I could say, “I did ____ and broke/tore ____, which typically takes __ amount of time to heal.”

But since tendonitis is caused by overuse, it took almost a year to get to that breaking point of not being able to walk. I had a slight limp, but I could get around well enough. I was never told to stop teaching Zumba, so I kept at it because it felt good to stick to my routine.

And even though my 3-week trip to Australia last summer wasn’t as carefree as the 2013 one to Greece, I was still able to carry my backpack all over Darwin and Queensland. These days, I can’t even take a trip to the grocery store. (Yes, I’m driving one of those scooters, but you’ll never see a picture of that!)

This article “16 Things People in Chronic Pain Want You to Know” captures everything I’m going through (except #7 since I’m fortunate enough to have a job and health insurance) but I’ll just highlight a few:

  • Numbers 1 and 8 can be combined for me. During the Spring semester I didn’t have too many early morning meetings, but if I did, it took everything in me to get up and get out of bed. Actually even today I waited until the absolute last second possible to get out of bed because I constantly worry about what those first few steps will feel like. Those steps usually determine whether or not I will have a good or bad day. But returning to number 1, I can tell you that I definitely spent way more time on makeup than usual. Since I don’t have to be on campus very much this summer, this is what totally defines this my #summerofhealing! I have much more time to heal, mentally and physically, and can even explore different workout options like aquacise and pilates. On bad days, as recent as three weeks ago, it probably took me an hour to stop crying and “glue myself back together” as Audrey Hepburn says in Breakfast at Tiffanys. Anyone who saw me that day was given a performance. I can guarantee that the second I was back in my car or back home that I was a weeping mess again, so much so that I denied myself pain-relieving appointments (either chiropractor or acupuncturist) because I knew I wouldn’t be able to answer questions as simple as, “What brings you in today?” or worse, “Got any fun weekend plans?” without sobbing.
    • Why do I cry? Most of the time it isn’t necessarily pain related, but the fear that I’ll never walk normally again. Which in turn means I’ll never travel the way I used to again. I just traveled to northern Wisconsin and got really depressed that instead of camping we were in a hotel and driving everywhere instead of walking around town, not even just the few blocks of their main street. Over the past few months I’ve come to terms with never teaching Zumba again, but if I can’t travel, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I know there are plenty of accessible places I can go, but I’m not ready to think about that just yet.
    • When do I cry? Mainly when both feet hurt. While the trouble these two years has been my right foot, my left foot has been displaying (on and off) the same symptoms since I tried out those damn rigid orthotics last September. The new inserts are better, but I’m still breaking them in, which will take about a month. I live in fear of these hurting more than helping, especially since I now know about that accessory navicular, but I’ll see how things go for the rest of the summer. Still, this week leftie was bugging me so much that at yesterday’s PT appointment we did Graston on that foot more than my right, and we iced both.
  • Number 10. Once again, I feel the #summerofhealing is going so well because I don’t have many in-person obligations, professional or social. I have been working and teaching online about 4-6 hours every day (more earlier in June when I was enrolled in the Quality Matters course which deserves its own post), but I can sit, ice, stretch, etc. at the same time! When it comes to social outings, I’ve always enjoyed “Daisy by herself days,” and because I don’t like to talk academic/campus stuff much, I’ve said “no” to colleague invites every summer! This is actually why I fell in love with teaching Zumba and Yoga at the gym–a whole new community of people I could spend time with, with no discussion of promotion, tenure, publications, etc. This summer, because I can’t walk very far, I’m only saying “yes” to events at people’s houses or to new workouts. I joked yesterday that my #summerofhealing was turning into a full-time job because I had pilates in the morning, therapy in the afternoon, and aqua zumba in the evening. Needless to say, I slept well!
    • Related to the pie-chart in #10, I’ve noticed the way I pack for short trips has changed dramatically as well. I’m now carrying extra sets of shoes, ice packs, prescription naproxen, Tiger Balm and Biofreeze, a foot roller, compression socks, and Epsom Salts. I’ll try to take a pic of this crazy collection before our next road trip!

All in all, I think it is safe to say that I now know what chronic pain is, I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy. (Well, maybe this guy, but that’s another story.)

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Jun
2015

summer of healing: procedures

As my previous post mentioned, this tendonitis issue has been around since the summer of 2013. That June I took an amazing trip to Greece and after a very long hiking day on Kea I decided to abandon my muddied up Nikes. I wore flip flops for the rest of the trip and didn’t have a care in the world, as you can see from the picture below.

If I knew then what I know now…

 

Before I get into the emotions associated with chronic pain, which it looks like will have to be a post of its own, I’ve decided to include some pics from the past few months to document what my medical visits look like:

1. Ten weeks ago I put on the boot cast. Only this week can I say that I see a future without it (depending on how long the walk is.) My physical therapist suggested weaning myself off it by not wearing it in the house and that’s been working. I also found out last weekend that when I do go back into the boot for longer periods of time, my foot gets very annoyed.

Gonna be a Boot Babe for a few weeks. Hopeful it will heal me! #tendonitis

A photo posted by @phdaisy on

 

2. This will be round 4 of Physical Therapy for me. The first three included strengthening exercises and iontophoresis patches, but now that I’ve reduced the inflammation thanks to the bootcast, we have to focus on returning to weight-bearing movements and building up the calf muscle I lost. I’ve been in the pool for aquatic therapy for the past 3 weeks, which has coincided nicely with the Mayo Clinic’s summer offering of Aqua Zumba. All the pool time has been great and, I have to say, having the time to do this over summer break has re-energized me. During the semester it was tough coordinating my teaching, administrative duties, service, and research with various doctor’s visits; hence, the #summerofhealing.

 

Got Graston? #tendonitis #summerofhealing

A photo posted by @phdaisy on

 

Ultrasound Friday #tendonitis #summerofhealing

A photo posted by @phdaisy on

 

3. Custom orthotics are supposed to be the best for issues like mine and last longer than over-the-counter ones, even though they take some time to break in. Here’s a pic of the plaster fitting I had in May. Powersteps worked for me in the meantime, especially since my new doctor took one look at the first custom pair I had and remarked that other than cockroaches they would be the only things to survive a nuclear holocaust. (Again, booooooooo first doctor for recommending those rigid torture devices!)

orthotics take 2

 

I received the softer and gentler finished product in the mail last week and just wore them for a few hours today. So far, so good.

 ***

So what’s the prognosis? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m doing all the right things. I’m resting whenever possible, which means saying “no” to lots of social things, and doing all my exercises religiously. I hope and pray to return to campus in September walking normally and not having to explain why I take the stairs sideways (ala an old Hollywood musical) or one at a time.

The best outcome would be for me to be able to say in a few years, “Remember that time my tendons hated me and I couldn’t walk? God, that sucked. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that anymore!”

I’m cautiously optimistic about that, but a girl can dream…

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Jun
2015

summer of healing: background

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll see a number of my recent posts hashtagged “#summerofhealing.”

As I’ve blogged here before, over the past couple years my long history as a ballet and folk dancer and more recent work as a Zumba Fitness instructor caught up with me and posterior tibial tendonitis has taken over my life. And that is not an exaggeration. There were times of relief, and I even traveled to Australia last year, but once I was back from that trip ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. I had been fitted for some rigid custom orthotics and those ended up hurting rather than helping, likely because of an extra bone or “accessory navicular” I have.

xray

Look at me! I’m causing you all sorts of trouble!

Since September, I’ve slowed down in e-v-e-r-y w-a-y possible. I stopped teaching at the gym and pretty much stay home whenever I can. I did travel for a quick conference in Denver, to NOLA at Christmas, and recently to Florida to visit a friend, but none of these trips (purposefully) included much walking. In fact, I’ll only consider myself healed when I can go to New York and walk the streets of Manhattan in search of bagels! More in a separate post on how this chronic pain has changed my everyday routine, but first I want to give you a brief rundown about what I’ve learned:

  1. Find a good doctor. Not one whose visits last less than 15-minutes and who doesn’t even touch your foot or ask you to stand or walk. I put up with one guy for longer than I should have, likely because I was scared of bad news. So while the “no news” and tests to eliminate other causes/issues seemed like moves in the right direction, I wasted valuable months of healing time. For example, once we did get an MRI done last November, which showed some fluid in the ankle and inflammation, I should have been put in a bootcast, but I wasn’t until this April when a second MRI proved that fluid was still there and that there was no tendon tear or degeneration. It could have been the #winterofhealing, but instead, here we are.
  2. Get a second opinion. Now this seems obvious, but it was only after talking to friends and family that I started looking for someone else, someone who specialized in sports and dance injuries. Getting appointments with these folks took some time and at one point I had a long 2 months of waiting between appointments, but once I did see them and started to get answers, I knew I could put a recovery plan in motion. In fact, while the aforementioned first doctor interpreted the MRI as “your tendon is fine,” the two new ones (separate practices in separate states) both agreed that the tendon sheath was inflamed. That alone, a name to the problem, put my mind at ease, although it’s still a long road to normal activity.
  3. Try new methods of healing. Other than rest, icing, compression socks, elevation, and ibuprofen (also known as Pills+RICE), I now own a foam roller, a foot roller, tons of Epsom Salts, and have been to countless acupuncture, massage, & ultrasound appointments. Even though there’s no magic fix, these methods have helped me on a day-to-day basis, even if just to get the blood flowing. I know I’ve been so scared of pain or reinjury that at times I freeze and don’t move at all, but that only makes things worse.
  4. Foot pain is the worst! Well, anyone experiencing any kind of pain will say that about their condition, but I truly feel foot pain is the worst because you can’t get anywhere quickly. (Hell, only now am I beginning to feel comfortable standing whereas last year at this time I was teaching 3 yoga classes a week!) Unless you’ve been put in a cast or wheelchair, the feet never truly get a chance to rest. As a professor, I like to walk around the classroom, but this Spring I sat A LOT, although my students totally understood. I was spoiled in having to only be in one building this semester, with a husband to drop me off right at its front door, but going from a super active lifestyle to making decisions based on how many steps I have to take has been eye-opening.

With that final statement, my next few posts will reflect more on the ups and downs of chronic pain, but I hope you’ve learned a little about what my year has been like.

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Apr
2015

Springtime

Stop snapping selfies and look up at the spectacular world around you. Zachary Levi and Sesame Street’s Bert know that a day in the park doesn’t need a filter. Take a walk with them on this lovely sunny day!

How is it that I never saw this until today? We need some sun here in Wisconsin!

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Apr
2015

An Update & Advisement Day

It’s been forever since I’ve updated.

Here’s why:

A colleague resigned in January, so I’m back to being the program director for both of our Professional Communication & Emerging Media programs. That’s about 130 students total. I actually enjoy and (dare I say) excel at it, except for the meetings about budget cuts (stupid Scooter).

My teaching schedule changed and some other real life stuff has happened, so I’ve been too busy and/or distracted to update this blog. However, I think all you readers, whoever you may be, know I’m all over social media, now successfully managing 2 Twitter accounts (@phdaisy is a bit more entertainment-driven now but @profpignetti is directed at students & their interests). I’m even paying more attention to LinkedIn. If you’re a PCEM alum or soon to be graduate, join our group!

I’m also still dealing with chronic pain in my right ankle but should know about a surgery option and timeline for healing by the end of next week. Turns out there’s so much scar tissue in my ankle that it’s forming “coalitions.” Who knew?!? I’ve HATED not going to the gym and not teaching Zumba, but I’m staying hopeful that I’ll be back at it in September.

Anyway, back to the good stuff. Our on-campus PCEM program is booming with student achievements, client projects, enrollment numbers, and cool new faculty coming in the Fall. To learn a little more about all of that, check out the presentation I gave at this week’s Advisement Day. See also the obligatory stickered laptop pic:

Fangirling in higher ed

 

I really liked using sway.com to create that presentation. An alum showed it off to my Capstone students and I thought I’d give it a try. What do you think? (Go fullscreen and arrow down to get a better sense of it.)

The online PCEM program is still trying to build enrollment, but I am truly excited about the marketing efforts my student workers and I are putting into place. I started as a Marketing major at Loyola but then switched to English Writing, so here’s my big chance!

So that’s what I’ve been doing all of 2015. I thought the first year of tenure would be a little less intense, but oh well. Seriously though, I’m desperate for things to improve at the UW, even if just for our morale, but I remain dedicated to students. A colleague will take over the on-campus program director role in the Fall, so I’ll have time to get back into my research and possibly apply for a sabbatical.

Woohoo! And here’s to more blogging!

 

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Nov
2014

fun finds for ENGL 121 & 335

I don’t know if it’s the glow of tenure, although I’m totally bogged down with service commitments this semester, but I’m having a great time teaching the Intro to Professional Communication and Critical Approaches to Digital Humanities courses.

Here are some fun finds I’ve been able to share:

On a more serious [or just less silly] note, now that our Digital Humanities [PDF] concentration is a few years old, I have a better handle of what types of texts and exercises we should spend our time on. ENGL 335 is the first course in the DH sequence, so we spend a lot of time defining DH and figuring out how we, at a polytechnic university, can maintain our access to the humanities. Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore has proven to be an excellent introduction to the field and possibilities of DH:

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore.

Finally, central to DH is “open access,” and Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” TED talk offers real-world examples of crowd funding and trusting the people of the internet to help rather than harm you.

(JZ’s TED talk is a great prequel to her’s too).

There’s always more to share, and I haven’t even started on the new texts I’m using in the graduate course, Communication Strategies for Emerging Media, but that’s a post for another day!

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Oct
2014

Autocorrect Humanity (Turkle-esque)

CROSS-POSTED FROM THE GRADUATE STUDENT COURSE BLOG:

I’ve got my Intro to Professional Communication students blogging this semester as well, with the main difference from your assignment being that they are to create their own individual blog spaces and post twice a week. The posts aren’t readings-based, but instead should:

  • focus on the issues and trends in communication/journalism/technology that you find most interesting, and
  • cultivate your voice and draws your classmates’ attention to images or articles you’ve found online

See my recent blog post about this project, which includes all the info I presented at The Teaching Professor Technology conference a couple weeks ago. I won’t say more about the work it takes on my end to evaluate 44 separate spaces, but as I do their midterm blog evals this weekend I have to say I’ve been impressed!

A few students this semester have shared this video (now at 7.8 million views!), and had I seen it before putting together the midterm exam, I would have included it on the list of supplemental resources. Give it a watch and let me know what you think:

 

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Oct
2014

Blogging: Becoming Visible and Attracting Audiences

Today I’m presenting at The Teaching Professor Technology Conference in Denver, CO. While I have presented on my use of blogs in the classroom several times over the years (see this Prezi for a precursor to today’s work), this is the first time I’ll be able to share student responses from my Curious Stout Innovator [CSI] project. Also see here for the Blog Rubric I use as well as the ENGL121 Blogging101 assignment itself.

Background:

When I started my doctoral program at the University of South Florida in 2003, I was required to create a blog as part of my Rhetoric and Technology course. That first course influenced my entire program of study, my dissertation project, and my pedagogy. My project for the Curious Stout Innovators [CSI] program illustrates these ongoing efforts.

In the Fall 2012 semester I taught ENGL 335: Critical Approaches to Digital Humanities, the first course offered in the Digital Humanities concentration of the Professional Communication Emerging Media [PCEM] program. The course was a hybrid one that relied on Tegrity to “capture” the face-to-face meetings and share those recordings with the online students. However, to increase student engagement, I asked both groups of students to participate in “virtual Fridays” where they discussed readings and course goals on a WordPress blog, http://engl335digitalhumanities.wordpress.com/.

Some may critique assigned or “forced blogging,” a term defined in 2004 by Dennis Jerz as follows: “Since a ‘real’ weblog is a license to write whatever and whenever you want, an instructor who assigns the topic, frequency, or length of blog entries (in order to facilitate grading) violates the spirit that draws voluntary bloggers to their avocation.” However, this exercise was intended to emulate the burgeoning field of Digital Humanities, which defines itself as a social one composed of people with “a shared interest in texts, and the use of computational technologies to explore and understand them (as opposed to merely creating or distributing them)” (Alvarado).

This first cohort of Digital Humanities students flourished in their “open” posts, the ones that were to draw their classmates’ attention to online artifacts related to course goals; meanwhile, their posts designated to react to the assigned readings lacked originality and often were not even proofread. As such, my work with Renee Howarton in the CSI program initially aimed to create a set of best practices when using the course blog again in the Fall 2013 semester, this time with the added intent of networking with Digital Humanities students at other universities.

Due to lack of enrollment, however, I ended up not teaching ENGL 335 again in Fall 2013. Instead, I was assigned two sections of ENGL 121: Intro to Professional Communication, the first required course all PCEM majors.

Previous instructors of this course have asked students to create blogs, and given my personal experience and research history with blogs, I was excited to include a blogging component and this switch ended up working in my favor. Not only did I have a greater data set, but at the heart of the course was the goal of “understanding how technologies mediate communication.” For freshman and transfer students new to the major, frequent and focused blog writing and commenting upon the writing of others in the class opened their eyes to a new genre, one that offered them the space for much more depth and engagement than other social media profiles, i.e. Facebook statuses and Twitter updates.

As a result, I revised my CSI research project to investigate the extent to which weekly blogging showcased these PCEM majors’ creativity and helped cultivate their professional online presence. For several years now industry and academic experts in the field of technical writing have advised students and young professionals to create and maintain a blog, citing the ways it can help with a job search.

Today’s presentation, see the Prezi and resources that informed it below, shares the details from the project and the data collected, not from students’ individual blog posts, but from responses to the Final Exam Questions. I am pleased to see reflective comments that support my hypothesis that weekly blog writing pushed them to craft and design posts that were both meaningful and professional.

Additional Resources

These videos also help start the discussion on blogs and their history and varied uses:

Hope to see you at my #TPTech14 session later today!

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Sep
2014

aging

It’s officially been a year since this tendinitis pain started. I blame spending most of last summer in flip-flops. When I first went to the doctor, the problem was easily solved by some inserts for my Nikes, but in November some pain returned and subsided, and then hit full force on Christmas Eve. Not fun at all, especially going into the worst winter ever. Cold temps, slippery ice and snow, etc.

I’m in my second round of physical therapy and a little over a week ago would have told you that I felt 90% healed and stronger, but I think that optimism may have led to a few over-exuberant Zumba moves. Yes, I’ve somehow kept teaching at the gym, and I know overuse is a cause of chronic pain, but with Zumba Toning I really don’t jump or travel across the room very much. Everything is centered and on two feet. And the PT folks haven’t told me to stop.

The latest round of exercises is helping [this guy is THE BEST] as are the ASICS and IontoPatches you see below.

This pics is from Thursday and all was fine until yesterday. No idea what I did, but the pain or awareness of pain, even if dull, at ALL times has returned and that’s really got me down. I even have custom inserts now [the word “orthodics” makes me feel VERY old], and perhaps the issue is that I’m still getting used to them. Wasn’t supposed to have another PT appointment for a month, but I’m gonna call first thing in the morning to get one for this week.

Wish me luck!

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Feb
2014

Home

I’ve spent the past month writing a book chapter about John Biguenet’s trilogy of plays: Rising Water, Shotgun, and Mold.

I’m also still dealing with my tendinitis issues, the semester started, I started my position as Program Director, and (if you read my previous post) I successfully jumped through the tenure hoop. (That’s my way of saying I’m still writing the chapter. Given all the new meetings and course preps I have on my schedule, I often only get a chance to add new words on the weekends.)

Typically, when I write about Hurricane Katrina I focus on role of the blogs and social media to share stories of the city’s recovery and inspire activism, but for this edited collection I’m returning to my undergrad and literary analysis roots. Coincidentally Biguenet is a Loyola-New Orleans professor and, while I never had the chance to take one of his classes during my years there (BA ’96), I attended a talk of his about “depicting disaster” at an alumni college event a couple years ago, which is what inspired my answer to this CFP (which I now see has been updated).

I’ve really enjoyed selecting scenes from his works but (as is often the case) I also start to spiral down my own rabbit hole of Katrina-specific memories, and re-reading trauma theory to apply doesn’t really help, especially at this time of year when I’m always homesick for Mardi Gras.

This week in my Composition 2 class we will start reading Chris Rose’s 1 Dead in Attic (the books title comes from this column) and based on an entry ticket exercise we completed at the end of last week, it is clear these students know very little about my beloved hometown or the impact of levee breaches. Many were in middle school in 2005 and their only Katrina-specific memories are all tv news related, so I’m looking forward to sharing other texts with them, both print and tv/film.

To start our discussion tomorrow, though, I plan to show Pico Iyer’s TED talk. Our course theme is place and I think this will be the best way to ease us in:

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Feb
2014

tenure!

Because of the way my uni separates promotion and tenure, I honestly wasn’t that freaked out when, at the end of our January department meeting, the time came for my tenure vote. (I can elaborate on that once the official Board of Regents letter comes in the mail, but suffice it to say promotion is a demoralizing university-wide ranking system while tenure is left to the colleagues who know you best, your Department).

I’ve also been majorly distracted now that I’m in a new position as Interim PCEM Program Director, which continues to cause anxiety because of all the new information and crazy amounts of email.

But when it came down to it, I felt confident about my tenure vote because I’ve had “Above” evals since I started at UW-Stout in 2008 and have continued to serve my Department, the University and the Profession diligently and enthusiastically. To get a sense of my statement you can read my Tenure Portfolio Narrative 2014 or check out this wordle:
tenurewordle.jpg

In brief, the vote came in “All in Favor” and there were handshakes and hugs all around!

Yay!

I had always joked that I’d immediately become this guy:

New Yorker cartoon

but when I went to search for that image, this one seemed more accurate:

I’m no poser, but there’s been so much written about the academic “impostor syndrome,” I couldn’t help but smirk, especially considering this piece that lists the first cure for said syndrome is getting tenure!

But what really made me smile, because this tenure thing is finally starting to sink in, is a post from my new favorite Tumblr blog, Precious Academic Moments:

My Reblog

My Reblog

So with that, I can breathe a little easier but still spend my weekends writing and trying to meet deadlines since there’s no time during the week! 😛

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Nov
2013

#AcWriMo

Back in April 2012 I mentioned meeting with an Acquisitions Editor about revising my dissertation into a book. I submitted the revision plan in June 2012, received feedback in October 2012 and then [since no timeline was given for incorporating these revisions] I dropped the ball. Going through the stressful promotion process at my university [on top of teaching a 4/4 and too much committee work] sucked all of my energy. Well, I’ll admit I maintained enough energy to teach Zumba 3 or 4 times a week, but that’s a different energy [and cuter outfits] :)

Anyway, while enjoying my summer vacation in Greece, I received an email from the UP’s new editor who asked me to resubmit my book proposal. I took all the feedback into consideration, had an identity crisis about what field to ground my work in, e.g. rhetoric, composition, writing studies, trauma theory, and/or internet research, but eventually submitted the new plan in September 2013 and got the go ahead soon after to implement the plan and resubmit chapters at the end of November.

Enter #AcWriMo.

Having just attended the AoIR conference in Denver [notes on the fishbowl session I moderated need to be posted ASAP], I was reminded how important research like mine on social media and disaster, specifically on Hurricane Katrina and the NOLA Blogosphere, is and that I can’t let the teaching load and service commitments distract me.

So here’s proof that I’m gonna try my damnedest to get those chapters revised by the end of November and the new material outlined:

Not only will this online community motivate me, I think I’ll meet some great academic writers to commiserate with about nonacademic things too.

I’m ready! Opening a blank WORD doc now!

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Sep
2013

Performance Objectives 2013-2014

I’ve still got several posts in DRAFT form, which I will finish this weekend, but I wanted to share this academic year’s “performance objectives” the way I did last year.

 

Teaching

This academic year is a turning point in my career, as I will be filling in for Matt Livesey as Program Director of the Professional Communication and Emerging Media program while he is on sabbatical the Spring 2014 semester.

This impacts my teaching schedule because I will have two new preps: ENGL 121: Introduction to Professional Communication in the Fall semester and ENGL 471: Professional Communication Capstone in the Spring.

So far I still have freshman composition courses on my schedule, with my Fall ENGL 101 course exploring the impact of technology upon one’s literacy, and [if assigned a Spring section] ENGL 102, which will explore the theme of place writing.

This Fall I will lead a single-seat ENGL 480 for Kaitlyn Patrick in order to prepare her for a year-long ENGL 495 Digital Humanities Capstone project.

This summer I began mentoring Lindsey Redenbuagh on her Honors Contract work, a series of movie critiques archived at http://lredenbaugh.wordpress.com/. This work will be finished at the end of the Fall semester.

Regarding my role in the MSTPC program, this Fall I have my usual ENGL 745: Communication Strategies for Emerging Media course and am advising MSTPC student Lisa Topper as she writes her ENGL 735 field project exploring the effect of HTML-formatted process instructions on processor accuracy, speed, and accessibility. I will not be teaching any graduate courses in the Spring, but may still advise students on their field projects if they align with my background in rhetoric and social media.

 

Service

  • CAHSS Representative, Race, Ethnic Studies & Global Perspectives Committee
  • Member, Advanced Writing Committee & Freshman Composition Committee
  • Member, Editorial Board for the eJournal of Public Affairs
  • Member, Editorial Board of Writing Commons

 

Research & Publication

My revised “dissertation to book” proposal, Disaster 2.0: Stories of Ongoing Recovery from the New Orleans Blogosphere, was submitted to the University Press of Mississippi on September 2, 2013.

On September 7, 2013, I received confirmation that my book chapter, “Dramatic ‘Belated Immediacy’ in the works of John Biguenet,” will be included in a 10 Years After Katrina volume.

I have been invited to speak as a Guest Lecturer at UW-Barron County on the topics of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and blogging. The talk will occur October 10, 2013.

I will be leading a roundtable discussion on the topic of “requiring social media in the classroom” at the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Denver, October 25th.

I plan to submit an abstract to the Fitness, Exercise and Physical Culture subject area of the Popular Culture Association national conference. If accepted, I will attend this meeting in April 2014 in Chicago, IL.

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Jul
2013

Grecian Girl

Untitled by daisydancer99
Untitled, a photo by daisydancer99 on Flickr.

Long time no blog [again]. The excuse this time is an amazing 2 week vacation in the Greek islands.

I’m going to try and find a flickr widget to add to this blog sidebar, or even switch my WordPress theme [again] to make this more of a photosharing site, but until then here’s a preview pic taken on our last night in my happy place, Santorini.

Kali Spera!

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Mar
2013

zumba queen

Way back in September I revealed I’d become a ZUMBA instructor over the summer. Then I never blogged about how that happened!

Here’s that story:

I’ve been taking ZUMBA since 2006 when I was a grad student at USF in Tampa. My first teacher was Nakreshia C., but I also took a lot of classes with Jeni J. Both have their own fitness ventures now, CardioFunk and FlavaFitness Studio. Go girls!

When I first moved to Wisconsin in 2008, I saw flyers for ZUMBA classes at community rec centers and took a few, but I never considered joining a gym until 1) I finished my dissertation and 2) I found out they had a wide array of Group Fitness classes, with 3 ZUMBA instructors! So I’ve been a dedicated member of BodyWorks Athletic Club since 2010. [I should also note that since that time I have become a huge fan of TurboKick. In fact, I’m tempted to go to an instructor training for that in April but it’s the day before my ZUMBA TONING training and I think my 37-year-old body might not be able to handle both in one weekend. LOL!]

Anyway, as a former ballet, musical theatre, and folk dancer, I loved the nonstop hip shaking in ZUMBA, but never seriously thought about becoming an instructor because of my full-time academic job. I was also content just recommending songs as you can see in this post from last year. But then one of the BodyWorks instructors, a grad student, got an internship across the state. A new instructor had been hired, but she too got a summer job. Then one day one of the trainers, who is a SuperWoman who teaches EVERYTHING, pulled me on stage to lead the class in a Pitbull/Marc Anthony routine. When we high-fived after, she said, “You should get your Instructor License!” She sent me some links to upcoming trainings and I really did hesitate. I was worried about having to create 15 separate routines and my stamina. But eventually I pressed the “register” button, and on July 1, 2012, drove 5 hours to Waukegan, IL to train with Jani Roberts, a teacher I’d taken master classes with way back when I lived in Tampa! Talk about full circle!

Training was awesome, I had some jitters during my first few classes, but with the support of everyone at my gym, I’ve grown so much. I never expected to love teaching so much, and I went from 2 classes a week to 4! See my detailed schedule at http://daisypignetti.zumba.com/. And as I hinted at earlier, I’m now registered for a ZUMBA TONING training in April as I’ve deemed 2013 the year I get some arms!

While I’d be remiss not to mention that I’ve lost 30 pounds since I started on this ZUMBA journey, the most significant outcome of my new role as a fitness professional is how much I get to engage with my community. I was asked to do ZUMBA demos at a Wisconsin Women Veterans event in September, have been invited to be part of the health and wellness event organized by Alpha Phi Omega, and am scheduled to energize the crowd at the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Dunn County event in April.

Shake It

And as you can see from the picture above and video below, this past weekend I took part in this year’s SHAKE IT event, which honored 11-year-old boy, Brett Boettcher, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Brett’s parents, Bart (Athletic Director, Menomonie High School) and Lynn (Fitness Instructor, BodyWorks), have committed a lot of their personal time and effort towards Parent Project, and I’m proud to say this year we raised over $7,000! Like us on Facebook to keep up with upcoming events. I know there’s already a marathon team prepping for the Twin Cities marathon.

WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

And go to zumba.com to search for a class near you. JOIN THE PARTY!

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Sep
2012

back to school post

Long time no blog, I know, I know…

After the Spring semester I was exhausted so I didn’t teach this summer [except for working with some thesis-writing grad students] and it made a world of difference on my Fall outlook! There’s so much to catch you readers up on, namely my loss of nearly 25 pounds and new role as a Zumba instructor, but first I thought I would share my Performance Objectives.

I submit these every year to my Department Chair as a way to bring into focus what I intend to achieve during the academic year in terms of my teaching, service and research. Enjoy! [And now you know what keeps me so busy!]

Teaching

  • My ENGL 101 courses, both in the classroom and online, explore the impact of technology, specifically social media, upon our everyday & academic lives. Students are starting the semester by writing technology literacy narratives, will move into readings from their textbook New New Media to create an annotated bibliography that updates the author’s 2008 publication, and then will read the novels Little Brother, Fahrenheit 451 and Feed before writing research papers and creating presentations on the topics of moral responsibility, access to knowledge, privacy, and power, security, and freedom in a post-9/11 America.
  • I’m very excited to be teaching ENGL 335 Critical Approaches to Digital Humanities, the first course offered in the DH concentration of the Professional Communication and Emerging Media program. The course is a hybrid one, so I’m using Tegrity to “capture” the face-to-face meetings and share those recordings with the online students. I’m also asking students to collaborate in writing a manifesto in Google Docs and participate in “virtual Fridays” where the discussion of readings will happen on our course blog. These exercises emulate the field of Digital Humanities, which defines itself as a social one composed of people with “a shared interest in texts, and the use of computational technologies to explore and understand them (as opposed to merely creating or distributing them)” (Alvarado).
  • In ENGL 745, Communication Strategies for Emerging Media, graduate students will contribute to a course blog, write literacy narratives, respond to a midterm exam, and propose then complete a seminar paper. We rely on the following texts from Instructional Resources as well as a long list of PDFs I’ve scanned and uploaded into D2L:  Digital Literacy for Technical Communication, Socialnomics, and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.
  • This Fall I am advising MSTPC student Heidi Decker-Maurer as she writes her thesis about images macros and how they address social issues in the age of participatory culture. I am also finishing up work with Carmen Butt whose thesis was on the role of social media in health care institutions.
  • I foresee advising more graduate students in the Spring if their thesis or field projects coincide with the two courses I teach, Rhetorical Theory & Communication Strategies for Emerging Media.
  • I continue to advise students in the B. S. Professional Communication and Emerging Media program.

Service

  • CAHSS Representative, Planning and Review Committee
  • CAHSS Representative, Racial and Ethnic Studies and Global Perspective Curriculum Advisory Committee
  • Member [perhaps Co-Chair this year], Advanced Writing Committee
  • Member, Editorial Board for the eJournal of Public Affairs
  • Member, Editorial Board of Writing Commons
  • Mentor to new hire Kate Edenborg

Research & Publication

  • I submitted a book proposal/dissertation revision plan tentatively titled Disaster 2.0 to the Acquisitions Editor of the University Press of Mississippi. It is with an external reader for a formal review and I should hear back in mid-October.
  • If that book proposal is accepted, I hope to share my experience and advise current doctoral students either has a mentor at the Conference on College Composition & Communication or Computers and Writing conference. Both meetings hold pre-conference “research network forums.”
  • I recently answered a “Literature of Hurricane Katrina” edited collection CFP.
  • I plan to answer the most recent Technoculture CFP as its third issue is focused on “dead, lost, or underused technologies.”
  • Currently I have no conference travel scheduled, but will be proposing to the Popular Culture Association conference in Washington, DC in March 2013 and the Digital Humanities conference in Lincoln, Nebraska in July 2013.
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Apr
2012

PCA/ACA 2012

Last week I was in Boston at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. My session was part of the Virtual Identities & Self Promoting track and as you can see from the program, the papers focused on Using Social Media for Empowerment & Exploration.

What’s interesting is that I almost didn’t attend this conference. I answered a CFP I saw posted on the IABA listserv thinking it was for an edited collection because there was no mention of a conference, hosting organization, city or dates. Having spent a lot of travel grant money in Oxford, England, earlier in the academic year, I didn’t think I could pay for another conference. And knowing I’m going up for promotion next year, I wanted to focus on getting more publications on my CV.

But when I learned it would be a Boston conference, I decided to go for it. I lived in Boston between 1997-1999 when earning my MA from Northeastern University and loved it there. When some travel money came through from the Provost’s Office, I knew it was a go!

I had a great time listening to sessions about the relationship between social media & BBC’s Sherlock, and, how’s this for a title?, “Alan Rickman as Phallus.” I may edit this post later to include more links to info these presenters shared, but for now I wanted to link to my abstract and first solely designed/authored Prezi:

which should be accompanied by the working paper I have up on SSRN.

If you’ve read this blog at all the past few years, you’ll recognize this as a section from my dissertation and I’m quite excited to report that I’m in the process of writing up a proposal to turn the diss into a book!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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Mar
2012

spotify & ai se eu te pego

I know y’all are seeing that title and asking, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

So here’s the story:

I’ve been listening to playlists on Spotify for a few months now. Way back when, I listened to Pandora radio, but I got tired of skipping songs I didn’t like, especially since they claim their stations “play only music you like.” Case in point, I think you all know I LOVE the Pet Shop Boys, but whenever I listened to my PSB radio station, all Pandora would play is Depeche Mode. I know it was the 80s and all, but that’s not what I was looking for!

So Spotify came along and I liked being able to subscribe to playlists based on my interests as well as playlists dedicated to movie and television soundtracks. And what’s cool is that these playlists are constantly updated.

My favorite playlist so far has been “You, Me, Dancing!” It has tons of the songs we use in zumba and other top 40 pop/club tracks. Last month I noticed a non-English song called “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” and I instantly loved it. Its sing-a-long sections and accordion solos reminded me of my folkdance touring days. There’s a story about a performance in France that I could tell here, but I’ll save that for later.

Anyway, yesterday when I was grading papers the song came on and I took a break to search for its singer, Michel Teló, on YouTube. I figured I would share the song with my zumba instructor to see if she’d like it. Well, turns out this song from Brazil is pretty much this year’s Macarena all over the world, except in America, of course. If you have heard of it, please leave me a comment!

Before I give you a selection of what I’ve found on YouTube, here are the lyrics in English:

Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you

Delicious, delicious
This way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God if I catch you

Saturday at the party
Everybody started to dance
Then the prettiest girl past in front of me
I got closer and started to say…

Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you

Nothing spectacular, I know, but wait until you see his smile 😀

 

The official video

The English version

The official choreography

[although there are some variations as seen in this German performance]

Check out the video compilation that starts out this performance as well as the audience going wild

And finally, what song is really a song these days without a Pitbull collaboration?

Too bad Mr. 305 didn’t have the choreography down yet when he called Michel out on the stage with him. His crazy helicopter spins crack me up though!

 

OK I’ve just realized that no one except me will actually watch all of these videos, so I’ll stop embedding them now. I do hope you give at least one a listen, and let me know what you think!

 

God, I love the Internet…

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Mar
2012

Spring Break 2012!

Since my last post, I came down with an awful sinus infection and basically slept from Feb 28-March 5. Seriously! The antibiotics helped a bit but it really wasn’t until March 7th or so that I could work out again, answer emails in a coherent manner, and grade papers. My teaching was evaluated on March 8th, so that worked out, huh?

I’ve still got a ton of papers to grade and I could’ve caught up on those over Spring Break, but this is the first time in 5 years that my husband’s and my Spring Break vacations lined up. Within minutes of discovering that, I booked tickets to NYC to visit friends. And boy was it worth it! I put up my “out of office” email message on the 9th and totally removed myself from any academic thoughts, except from when we went to see Seminar.

What’s Seminar, you ask? Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

In SEMINAR, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (Alan Rickman), an international literary figure.  Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.  The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting new comedy.

It was a great play, but I’d be lying if I said that Alan Rickman starring in it wasn’t the reason it came on my radar. In fact, it was my freshman composition teacher’s posts on Facebook that brought it to my attention. Ahh writing geekiness and fangirl social media-ness. 😉

Here’s me & hubby after the show waiting to meet Snape, err, I mean Mr. Rickman:

And there he is!

Special thanks go to my BFF Eric who was my personal paparazzo on this trip, but I have to say my iphone got some good snaps of Snape too [sorry, couldn’t resist]:

Here’s one final pic from our matinee experience; notice the fully autographed Playbill:

After the show we went to our fav NOLA-themed restaurant, Delta Grill and then had some drinks at Industry where a nice fella from Mississippi took this fantastic group photo of hubby, me, Eric and Nick:

Ack, I have got to get to grading, so let me finish up this post with some touristy pics, especially since this was hubby’s first trip to NYC:

FAO Schwartz and the Statue of Liberty

View from the Empire State Building

Rockefeller Center

Rupert G at the Hello Deli!

In front of Dave's studio with our black & white cookies

American Museum of Natural History

At the museum The Butterfly Conservatory was open so we walked through a room with hundreds of them flying around! Here’s a gorgeous one posing for us:

Two more pics, I promise!

Upon our exit of the museum…

Clam Shell

and later that night in Queens…

The best friends a girl could have!

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Feb
2012

#tools4teach

As my previous posts have indicated, February has been a busy month. Thankfully, I did get a chance to put committee work on the back-burner and make it to the Tools for Teaching Northwest Regional Showcase at UW-Eau Claire this past Friday. Looking at the schedule, nearly all of the presenters had the entire hour to themselves to share their ideas, but [and I think it’s because Twitter is so cool] I was notified that my “Teaching with Twitter: 2008-2011” would share a time slot with “The Twitter Project: Twitter & First-Year Seminars” presenter from UW-Superior.

And rather than just split the presentation into a half hour each, Mickey Fitch approached me about organizing things in a way so we could play off the commonalities in our experiences. We emailed and tweeted back and forth, with most of my content coming from the info you can read on the Twitter tab of this website, and she created the Prezi below, something I’ve been wanting to play with for a long time now.

Needless to say, this was a lot of fun and it pushed me to 1) reflect on my use of Twitter for reader responses and 2) reconsider bringing Twitter back into my online courses to create greater “virtual classroom” community. I’m going to try and write up more about this for the launch of Writing Commons, so watch this space for an announcement about that next month.

Til then, I look forward to future collaborations with Mickey and other UW tweetybirds!

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Feb
2012

stress relievers

Amidst all of the stress I just mentioned, these videos have brought me down off the email ledge & made me smile this week:

I’ve been a MIKA fan since 2007 and cannot wait for his new album!

Here’s another favorite so you can actually see him:

Oh, and very appropriate for this post, a new video for “Relax, Take it Easy”

 

And now for the best academic + 80s thing I’ve ever seen EVER:

Take the 10 minutes and go watch it NOW.

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Feb
2012

spring semester stress

When the emails started taking over my life 2 weeks before the Spring semester started, I knew this one was going to be a doozy.

I’m teaching 2 online sections of ENGL 102, 2 sections of ENGL 371 [a rhetoric course to the Tech Comm majors], and 1 online graduate course in Rhetorical Theory, also online. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I’m directing two thesis projects.

I’m sure there are people who will read this and think that it’s a piece of cake to only have 1 face-to-face class that meets twice a week, but the reality is the more online students you have, the more prep work you have to do and the more emails you get.

But this post really isn’t about teaching. I’m doing a good job replying to discussion board posts and blog posts and grading papers in a timely manner, but I wish I had more time to focus on my teaching, not to mention my research.

The service component of this tenure track job is eating into my time more than I would like. I’m on the department Hiring Committee, chair of the Advanced Writing Committee, member of the Race, Ethnic Studies, & Global Perspectives committee as well as one of two consultants from this committee who helps approves new course proposals regarding our criteria, member of the Program Review Committee, and on the editorial board of two journals. I also have weekly meetings with the Tech Comm program faculty to discuss our growing number of undergrad majors and graduate students who are nearing the end of their program & need thesis or field project directors.

As I write this, I know that I enjoy doing all of these things, due mostly in part to liking everyone I work with, but given that I was passed over for promotion this year, I worry that I need to do even more when I’m pretty much at my breaking point!

 

 

And for some reason what causes me the most anxiety is email. Seeing the number of messages coming in every day gets my heart racing, and not in the good way. Because so many of our online students are working professionals with families, I can’t simply turn off my email at the end of the traditional business day. That’s when they are working on their course work–evenings and weekends. Well, I can turn it off but I feel bad doing so.

But when I was so exhausted on Monday afternoon that I couldn’t even make it out of bed to go to my beloved Zumba & Turbokick classes, I knew I HAD to step away from the laptop, iphone, and ipad. [I’m on my desktop writing this.]

I have a policy in all of my syllabi stating students need to reply to my emails within 48 hours so starting March 1, that’s what I’ll adhere to as well. So that’s that.

Now let me go email all of my students to tell them this…

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