Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Finding that first position out of college can be a real challenge for students. I would say it's especially challenging for students who are inclined toward going to graduate school yet aren't quite ready to commit to a program of study right away. That is definitely the category I would put Maura in: grad school material (100%), but she hadn't been thinking about grad school until much later in her studies. Plus, she's talented in many areas, so choosing a graduate program is even more complicated: MD/PhD? Nursing? Community Health? Medical Anthropology? She would excel at them all!
Maura gave me permission to share this quote from her email to me and her position description (image above) so that other students can see a possible path for themselves.
There are many opportunities out there! Even if everyone around you is going straight from a campus job fair to a job with a big company in downtown Chicago, that doesn't mean that is the only path.
In college, try to have a wide range of experiences with a wide range of professors who can mentor you. Maura certainly did that.
Here are her words:
"My summer has been busy as I balanced a couple of Nursing Assistant jobs and applied for the Fulbright scholarship, but I have been happy to be at home with family and friends. I do have some more recent news that I think you might be interested in - I received and accepted a Jesuit Volunteer Corps position in Austin, TX! My year-long position is called "Employment and Legal Services Specialist" and it sounds like it will be dynamic, requiring interaction with legal services, immigration policy, and worker's rights. I leave this Wednesday for Austin! I've attached the job description in case you want to get a better understanding for what I'll be doing. Due in part to my experiences in your class and at the refugee center (SPAN 232), I was able to demonstrate knowledge and experience for the position. Without your encouragement, inspiration, and leadership in that class and since then, I would not be where I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Monday, July 4, 2016
|Sometimes I wonder whether the time and energy we put into selecting (and then critiquing) our departmental leader might be better put to use refurbishing the "ship" they are asked to lead.|
As my department began to transition from one Head to another, we were all invited to speak to the Dean. Specifically, we were asked three questions:
- What do you consider the qualities in an effective leader for our department?
- What are the major challenges facing your department?
- Who would you suggest for the position?
What do you consider the qualities in an effective leader for our department?
Supported and supportive
Able to delegate
Organized--information, money, time
One way to combat this could be to come together as a department and identify about three priorities for the academic year. In the absence of a well-articulated set of priorities, people feel that the leader does what she/he wants, that power is absolute. If someone goes to the Head and asks for something, and if the Head can't give them what they want, it feels personal. Instead, those kinds of decisions (at least some of them) could be clearly articulated and then revisited the following year.
Focused on communication and celebrationIn our department, many people (not all) are sizing each other up and putting each other in their place. We spend so much time and energy on that. How do we move from that to what everyone really wants: a sense of regard, esteem and recognition? Heads have tried to celebrate people's accomplishments, but people reacted very cynically. Furthermore, this sense of celebration and community is complicated by the fact that we work outside the office. But if--if!--there is a way to make people feel seen, appreciated, celebrated, then I think we could solve many things.
What are the major challenges facing your department?
Changing profession and enrollments
Changing student body
Need for income generation
Sunday, June 26, 2016
- Read the first post I wrote about Jill.
- Are you willing to do the networking that I talked about on that post?
- Read Jill's letter below.
- Compare where she was in 2010 and where she is now, in 2016, in terms of her career.
- Note how your beginning doesn't have to be your ending.
- Really think about your passions, and ask yourself if you are on a path to wed your passion and your career.
- If your major or your career doesn't feel like a good fit to you right now, no problem! Just like Jill, your career will have many steps and many doors. Take note of how the path she wants to go down now doesn't negate all the wonderful experiences and learning opportunities that she had in her previous job.
- Notice how Spanish can be a part of your personal and professional life years into your future. What can you do right now to keep your Spanish up? Do it! Don't get rusty and insecure in your Spanish.
- Look at how Jill is using volunteering--and Spanish in her volunteering--to explore and bolster her career plans. How can you do that, too, whether you are still at the U of I or somewhere else?
Friday, June 24, 2016
|Let's show students what active citizens and advocates do after a loss.|
- Inform. I find that many of my students, especially L2 learners of Spanish, do not have much good information about immigration, immigration policies and comprehensive immigration reform efforts. I will ask them to read this press release.
- Model. More and more, I am trying to show my CSL students what they can do beyond volunteering. I like to give them concrete examples of what advocacy looks like. This is one.
- Analyze. I 'd like students to separate out all the individual pieces of advocacy within this press release. (Including the press release itself.) Then put them on a scale of least investment to most investment.
- Create. I want to put them in small groups and ask them to take this one long press release and think of as many smaller bits of it that could be used in CU Immigration Forum's marketing efforts. For example: You have five minutes to come up with as many individual tweets as possible. Go! Now, you have five minutes to come up with as many Instagrams as possible. Go! Etc.
The CU Immigration Forum expresses its regret over today’s Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Texas. The court has, in a 4-4 ruling, deferred the implementation of President Obama’s initiatives of expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the CU Immigration Forum still encourages all immigrants looking for an immigration remedy to schedule a legal consultation with The Immigration Project, a non-profit immigration law firm based in Normal, Illinois with an office in Champaign, IL. The Immigration Project’s four licensed immigration attorneys screen immigrants for other forms of immigration relief.
The Immigration Project and the CU Immigration Forum are hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, June 30, 2016 starting at 5:30pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in the fellowship hall (downstairs) at 2200 Philo Road in Urbana, Illinois. Immigrants that are interested in learning about the next steps after the Supreme Court’s decision are encouraged to attend. Free additional parking is available behind the church. For more information about the meeting, contact the CU Immigration Forum at 217-417-5897.
Additionally, the CU Immigration Forum wants to remind the public that the original DACA program from 2012 is still in effect. It provides the legal permission to work to residents who were brought to the U.S. while under the age of 16, have resided in the U.S. since 2007, were not over the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and have pursued a form of higher education. We encourage all those who meet the requirements to come to the meeting to set up appointments to begin the application process while the 2012 DACA program is still in effect.
"The fight is not over. The Immigration Forum intends to press our elected officials for definitive legislation that will deal once and for all with this country’s longstanding immigration problems," says Tom Garza, President of the CU Immigration Forum. "Until that comes to pass, we will continue to stand with these hard working Immigrant Americans as they struggle with living their lives in the shadows, and join them in their hope for a brighter day when they will be recognized as the full partners in our communities that they have long been."
“These programs had the ability to positively impact the lives of roughly 4.3 million U.S. citizen children,” explains the Executive Director of the Immigration Project, Jasmine McGee. “Now immigrant families remain in limbo – unauthorized to work legally but unable to leave their children alone in the U.S. Studies show that a U.S. citizen child growing up in a household with an undocumented parent faces increased stress from the fear of having a parent deported. In addition these children live in families with lower incomes, inferior housing, and are less likely to take advantage of community services.”
In November 2014, President Obama proposed programs that would provide the legal permission to work and protection from deportation for the parents of U.S. Citizen and lawful permanent resident children. These executive actions expanded the existing DACA from 2012 and created DAPA. Shortly after its introduction, some state governors came forward with a lawsuit and delayed the implementation of these programs. Since then, an estimated 5 million immigrants have been hoping for the start of these programs, but today their dreams for financial and emotional security for their families have been again deferred.
President Obama’s deferred action had the potential to drastically impact the well being of thousands of families in central and southern Illinois. Reports have show that families with an undocumented parent could see a 10% increase in annual income. Furthermore, according to the Center of American Progress, these two immigration programs could have lead to the creation of almost 2,000 new jobs in Illinois and an almost $8 billion increase in cumulative income of all state residents over the next decade. Additionally, the American Immigration Council has estimated that with these programs, Illinois stood to receive an additional $347 million in tax revenue over the next five years.
In Illinois, there are an estimated 519,000 residents who are undocumented, with a portion living in Champaign County, Illinois. The majority of the undocumented population eligible for DAPA in Central and Southern Illinois have strong roots, strong family ties, and have been residing for more than ten years in the U.S.
The programs considered today by the Supreme Court were meant to alleviate immigrant families from deportation temporarily. The Supreme Court decision should impel Congress to stop putting politics over people and to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Local residents who want to take action should call Congressman Rodney Davis at 202.225.2371 and tell him to support a just and humane immigration bill.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
I love my job. I have a wonderful position: Director of Undergraduate Studies. I feel respected on my campus. (I earned that respect, of course.) I am surrounded with resources and inspiration. I wish my department would embrace a more progressive undergraduate curriculum, but, hey, I understand where my colleagues are coming from. I have a fabulous office and work with many great people--not to mention my students who always energize me.
But there's a dark side to being non-tenure track. Sure, there are the contract issues. Honestly, though, that doesn't even worry me too much. (Just a little.) I have always known that I can create another career for myself at any time. Smug? No, I am just confident that I have the smarts, creativity and skills to give another type of employer a lot of value. Or I'd put together something of my own.
Really, it's the little digs that do it to me.
To be honest, they don't come from everyone. But some people really want to put you in your place. (Maybe it's unconscious? I don't know. Don't care.)
Mostly, I just shrug them off. Yes, I fret about them and pour out my hurt feelings to my husband in the evening (or the poor soul who will listen to me on the phone while my husband is still at work.) But after a good night's sleep, I'm usually able to regain my perspective and slip right back into my routine of looking ahead, creating something new, tackling problems like I'm working on a puzzle. That's me.
Sometimes the digs aren't at me. They're at someone else who is NTT. About being NTT. For forgetting her place. Or perhaps the worst: being the best suited person for a position but not even being considered because, you know, NTT.
A couple of really egregious cases have come up lately. Or maybe my consciousness has been raised. I don't know, but I felt the urge to put together my NTT manifesto. It's full of pride. Imagine me SHOUTING it out loud. That's what it is. I'm not angry. (I ain't even angry.) This isn't aimed at anyone. This isn't timed to any particular slight. No, it's just a very clear statement of who I know myself to be!
A very clear statement of who I know myself to be!
(It feels a bit scary to put this out there. I'd love to know what you think. Did I go too far? Is it right to be so assertive?)
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Yes, this gazebo is in my back yard.
Yes, this is where I plan to several hours each day. With my laptop. With a pitcher of herbal iced tea. Listening to the birds. With some privacy, while the kids are in just a few steps away in the house. Away from the phone. Alone with my work.
I'm trying to balance work and family; disconnecting from work yet advancing on projects; enjoying my creative process without burning out; keeping my family close while also claiming my own space.
Does this sound anything like your summer? Maybe the particulars are different, but do you also have to manage competing needs? Between wanting to be active and wanting to just still your mind? If you're a mother, do you want your kids to have fun yet refuse to turn yourself into a taxi driver and money machine?
Summers are a little complicated.
I hope that by limiting my summer goals, I can both accomplish something and revive my spirit.
Online course development
Personal, entrepreneurial project
- Revising and submitting a manuscript to Foreign Language Annals with data from the survey that Rejane conducted with our community service learning students.
- Writing and submitting a short piece to The Language Editor about teaching digital literacies through bilingual social media marketing. Due July 1.
- Writing and submitting a chapter for the volume related to the LSP conference. Due July 31.
- Drafting a short piece for the AAUSC 2017 volume.
Healthy, relaxing meals
Lots of movement and exercise
Family, fun and relaxation
What about you?
Saturday, May 14, 2016
I do. Not as much as I used to, but still, it happens. Even with a relatively small writing project I sometimes feel like I need a block of time (even if it's small) that I don't have. Or I think that since it won't take long I can wait until it's closer to the due date. Or I just don't feel like I'm in the mood for writing.
So I've learned not to write. Just to list.
See, successful writing comes in large part from having strong, clear ideas with supporting evidence. That's structural. And for me, a lot of that can happen before I even write a complete sentence at all.
The trick is to know that jotting down your ideas and listing them is writing that doesn't feel like writing.
Making a list has none of the psychological pressures of "writing." Jot down. Scratch out some ideas. Let me think about this for a couple of minutes. None of those phrases cause as much anxiety as "writing."
So that's what I try to do when I feel myself procrastinating on a writing project. Just make a list.
I often write letters to myself, and looking through some of those letters recently I came upon this advice I had given myself:
"One thing that worked well for you and always does was to jot down ideas, let those soak in and percolate for a while, then write from that list. ... Don't forget this important strategy. Long before something is due, jot down your ideas. Your brain will work on them even when you're doing other things."
Do you use this strategy? Do you have other advice for moving from the procrastination stage to the pre-writing stage? From pre-writing to writing? I think this is so important because I meet so many people with wonderful ideas, fascinating experiences, important knowledge, funny stories who could edify the world with their writing. There's nothing wrong with not writing, of course. You're still smart, funny, wise and experienced without writing anything! But if you want to write and fear holds you back from crossing the threshold between not writing and writing, then why not try to just list your ideas. See if that moves you into writing.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
|How do you welcome new members to your faculty?|
This past year we were lucky to hire three instructors in our department to help teach Spanish, one advisor and one Teaching Assistant Professor to direct the Portuguese language program. For a department that has not experienced the same growth in non-tenure track faculty that many other departments have, this was a big jump.
Perhaps because we were not used to hiring so many people at once, the "onboarding" (as they say in business contexts) was bumpy...and at times non-existent. Some things were out of everyone's control (e.g., late arrivals due to visa issues, problematic visa categories, etc.), but other things, in hindsight, could have been handled differently.
But when it comes down to it, people in our department work very independently, are rarely in their offices, and share no real common spaces. Building a sense of community is hard in a department that doesn't really function as...well...a community. (This is not a criticism. It's simply the way that many people in the humanities work when they are not teaching or doing committee work.)
I won't revisit the past here. Instead, I want to share some ideas for beginning to create a sense of community, at least among the non-tenure track faculty.
Write on Site Meetings. Just because a person is non-tenure track doesn't mean that they do not have research and writing projects. Perhaps a Monday and Thursday meeting each week could be a good chance for people to bring their laptops, focus on their writing and build a sense of camaraderie.
Grading "Parties." The instructors were hired to help out with any course the department needs, but mostly the composition course. I know that students write three compositions in that course, and they are graded in stages. I can find out the deadlines in that course and organize an afternoon (or evening or weekend?) grading party. I say party not because it would be fun, but because we could make it more enjoyable by sitting together in a conference room, playing nice music, ordering/bringing in food, etc. Of course it wouldn't be required, but it might be a way to make that big, daunting task a little less daunting.
Lunch. A few years ago, a storage room in our building was cleared out to create a faculty break room because there was no common space in our building for people to meet and build a sense of community. I don't think that this break room accomplished what it was supposed to, but at the very least there is a place to sit for lunch and also some comfortable chairs. I almost always eat lunch at my desk, but it would also be nice to see if people wanted to meet up for lunch or coffee breaks in this area.
Personal invitations. I invited all of the new people to our home for dinner toward the end of the fall semester. Not everyone was able to come, but it was a nice way to get to know each other outside of our building and offices. Although my evenings and weekends are pretty packed with the children's activities, I definitely would like to make more time for relaxing and socializing with colleagues and friends.
But in the end, whatever I am able to do for and with new people, I will also be doing for myself. I sometimes feel isolated. I sometimes want someone to write with. I could use the accountability and structure of grading parties.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Friday, May 6, 2016
by Joey Gelman
Monday, May 2, 2016
|Take your engagement with cultures and languages even further: consider the Peace Corps.|
I know several students who have gone to the Peace Corps after a college experience filled with travel, language learning and transcultural encounters. It's a fantastic experience, and they come back with unique perspectives and skills.
Scrolling through LinkedIn this morning, I came upon a blog that my former student, Andrew Piotrowski has contributed to. His posts are about El Salvador, and I just loved reading them. I admire the way he presents his experiences, the people who he worked with, and the way the he sees things now that he is back in the US. I encourage you to read them on Peace Corps Volunteers: Stories about the Toughest Job You'll Ever Love.
If you search through this blog, you'll find old posts from Andrew. Here is what he wrote to me after I told him I much I loved his blog posts.
Thank you Annie! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. I feel like I got my start blogging by writing articles for your blog to earn that extra credit hour I needed back at U of I. That was a great experience, and I'm grateful that you helped me reach others through writing!
Sunday, May 1, 2016
by Ann Abbott
On this blog I usually tackle "big picture" items. I think a lot about what a Spanish major should look like in the US today. I use it as a platform to hopefully make Spanish community service learning more accessible to anyone thinking about teaching with it. I want to share my students' reflections so they have a strong voice in how we construct (or don't) our courses. I'd love it if Business Spanish and specific topics like social entrepreneurship and bilingual social media marketing gained resonance in our field.
But I started out, many years ago, as a course supervisor. Of SPAN 101 and 102. That was my first gig.
I worked on the syllabus, did classroom observations, put together tests, soaked up ideas from my professors and mentors, and much more. I had to pay attention to the little things that make classes work. And even more specifically, that make language learning work.
I'm not sure how many classroom observations I've done over the years and how many TAs and instructors I've talked to about their teaching. It's a lot! Scores. So it recently occurred to me that I should share some of that knowledge on my blog and other sharing sites.
Here is my first of what I hope is many: "Giving Instructions One at a Time." Because sometimes just the way you set up an activity determines how much students take away from it.
|It was nice to have my picture taken by a professional photographer.|
As the spring semester and the academic year come to a close, it's a good time to reflect. Last week I handed in my annual activity report, and that forces you to reflect on the products of your work within a structured (and hierarchical) format. Some of the highlights from that list include:
“Incorporating New Areas of Business into Business LanguageStudies: Social Media Marketing.” Global Business Languages 19 (2014): 71-84.
This was my only piece of writing that appeared in print this year. In it, I use Radio Ambulante as a case study to exemplify linguistically- and culturally-appropriate social media marketing. So it combines two things that I love: the creativity of social media marketing and Radio Ambulante's masterful storytelling--in their podcasts and in their marketing. I'm also happy to say that the article cracked Global Business Language's list of its most popular papers.
I have four other pieces in press, one abstract awaiting word of acceptance or not, and one article manuscript that I'm currently drafting. That was a pretty good writing year for me.
For the first time in decades, I taught a 100-level Spanish class--and it was good! I taught two sections of SPAN 142, one of our fourth-semester Spanish courses that fulfills the language requirement. The students were delightful! I used Dia a dia: De lo personal a lo profesional, the textbook that Holly Nibert and I wrote and published a year ago. It was a great chance to put all that work into a real context, with real students. But most importantly, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to have students at that level do some community service learning. The response to that was overwhelmingly positive!
Director of Undergraduate Studies
My happiest accomplishment in this category was the redesign and simplification of our webpage for Spanish undergraduate studies. This summer I will continue to evaluate and perhaps add to the page, but for now I'm just happy to have a "fresh face" for our page.
I don't know of a better way to end the year than with very meaningful awards. I received two, and they make me very proud--not for me, but to be a part of a community that respects and enacts engaged scholarship and teaching.
- The Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement.
- The J. Frederick Miller Award from the University YMCA.
Now that that official reflective task is finished, I'll set aside some hours this week or next to reflect on categories that matter to me and that aren't on the official form. How can I improve student learning? How can I set important, pertinent new learning objectives for my students? What "stretch project" should I focus on? Is there more that I can share on social media (including this blog) that would be helpful? I'll let you know the answers...
What are your accomplishments from this academic year? What do reflect upon? Have you set any goals for next year? I'd love to hear from you and learn from you.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
I say it all the time: I love hearing from former students! Especially when they tell me that they are still using Spanish and are interested in continuing their learning.
This week I received this email from a student:
- Prof. Jolley has a YouTube channel that can help you with both Portuguese and Spanish.
- Prof. Kelm also has a YouTube channel that you can look through. On his blog, look at the right-hand column to see all the links to great resources for Portuguese and other things that might interest you.
- From Prof. Jolley: "Boa tarde! I'd also recommend the online classes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I know of a really great instructor on the italki platform: Isabel de Azeredo Moura. Hope that helps!"
- From Prof. Kelm: Sure enough, Jason Jolley has a great site, check out his youtube channel for both Spanish and Portuguese. 2) From my end, my BrazilPod site is my homepage for all of our Portuguese materials at the University of Texas. And here’s the facebook link too. From there you will find: Tá Falado podcast series, Língua da Gente podcast series, Conversa Brasileira video series, ClicaBrasil lessons, and Portuguese Communication Exercises videos. All of my materials are designed to be ancillaries and extras. All are open access and free to use. 3) You may also like to see the padlet wall that I am currently using for my Introduction to Portuguese Linguistics course. It’s a random collection, but a lot of nice links. 4) If you are looking for a good app to practice chatting in Portuguese, try HelloTalk. I have found it to be pretty powerful and there are tons of Brazilians who want to practice.
- Update. I'm Facebook friends with Prof. Jolley, and he just shared this gem: a website targeted to speakers of Spanish who want to learn Brazlian Portuguese, and especially its sounds.
Friday, April 15, 2016
by Joey Gelman
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Hannah Rickey was a student in a special section of our Spanish composition course the only time I ever taught it as a community service learning course. That's a course that many students take as freshmen or sophomore, so I was delighted when Hannah was my student again in "Spanish in the Community" and my social entrepreneurship course a few years later as a senior.
She went on to work last year as an Americorps legal advocate.
And now she is transitioning again. I want to share her message to me so that all students can see the connections between law and our Spanish community service learning courses. Hannah doesn't say that she's interested in going to law school, but who knows? Many of my former students have ended up going to law school and some now work specifically in immigration law or with immigrants.
Hannah is a role model not only because she has been working with immigrants' rights, but also because she exemplifies the winding path so many people have after graduation. I say it here all the time here, but it's true: focus on finding a good learning experience for yourself in your first step out of college, work hard, impress your bosses, build your network and follow the opportunities that will arise from that.
Monday, April 11, 2016
What a difference a few years makes! I want to share these two emails from the same alum so that current students can see that it's very normal for careers to follow winding paths.
Focus on finding your first job. Then keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to move forward in your career.
Just wanted to send you a quick note and see how everything is going with you. Things with me are going great! I am working at a prevention-based non-profit called Dream, Inc. in Jackson, MS. Our organization focuses on the issues youth encounter. I work specifically with clubs (mostly SADD Chapters) across the state to incorporate highway safety activities into their schools. Unfortunately, I haven't had much of an opportunity to use my Spanish recently and am afraid I've gotten a bit rusty! Grad school is also going well--I just completed my first semester in a Child and Family Studies program at Southern Mississippi and am really enjoying it!
I ended up receiving offers from UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, University of Illinois, and Clemson.
I really liked the human rights/international focus of the program at Clemson, but [she decided on Illinois in the end].
I told Brianna I wanted to get together for coffee when she is back in Illinois and asked her if I could share her story on my blog. This is what she said:
Thursday, April 7, 2016
In preparation for our meetings, we would appreciate your giving thought to the following questions:
Hope you are doing well! Just wanted to give you an update on my life.So the Fulbright didn't work out, I got to the last round and I ended up not getting it, but I will definitely be applying again next year! In the last 6 weeks, I got a contractor job at Beam Suntory headquarters (the Jim Beam company) working in International Supply Chain management. I mostly work with Latin American and Canadian clients, so I get to use my Spanish, and even Portuguese almost every day! I'm also still applying to NGOs and international organizations, but this is a good way to get experience in the mean time.
I'm so happy for Ken's success. The funny thing is that his message came to me just as I am in the middle of writing a manuscript about the dangers of being too specific in our approaches to Languages for Specific Purposes in university programs. Students really can't be sure what kind of job they will have in the near future, and even in the long term. I can tell you for sure that while Ken was sitting in my social entrepreneurship class, he wasn't asking himself how he could apply this to his future job in logistics. I don't know if Ken even knew about logistics.
So, it was good to have that confirmation that what I'm saying about "less specific purposes" has merit from recent alums' viewpoints. (When I am back home and at a computer, I'll add a link to my slides from the LSP conference last month that talk about these issues.) I also asked Ken if he had any advice for current students. He did, and it is such good advice. I hope everyone will read it. On the one hand, it's an invitation to think about the kind of specific job Ken has now as a possibility for your future job/career. On the other hand, it's an encouragement to keep your mind open about jobs/careers and follow a path that might be winding but that will open doors down the line.