Academia, Education, Higher Education, Job, Professional Development, Self-care

Failure

I really enjoy celebrating accomplishments but I also like normalizing failure. We do not always achieve what we want or it make take several tries before we accomplish a goal. If we are mentally prepared to understand that failure is a possibility, we are more likely to build strength to pick up the pieces and try again. So here are some things that I have failed at in the past, yet they did not stop me from continuing to pursue what I wanted to accomplish in the long run.

When I graduated high school, I decided to study computer systems engineering. That did not go too well! At that time (and still today), I was a social butterfly. College was a great place to hangout with my friends. Becoming an engineer was not really a priority. After the three semesters studying engineering and failing many courses, I decided that it was best to throw in the towel. I took a year off from college level courses to work and save to pay for my education. I eventually when back to college and started with an associates degree in Computer Programming which I completed with honors. I went on to successfully complete an undergraduate, master, and doctoral degree.

Another moment of failure in my life was when I applied to doctoral degrees. You see, I was determined to move back to Canada and in particular to Montreal. I had fallen in love with the educational technology program at Concordia University. After spending 5 full years studying in Emporia (Kansas), I was ready to complete my application, get accepted, and start a new chapter of my life as a doctoral student at Concordia University. That did not happened! I applied to three universities: Concordia University, Boston University, and Old Dominion University. A few days after doing my doctoral interview (a phone interview with all faculty members of the educational technology program), I received a letter from Concordia University letting me know that I was not accepted. I cried so much!

However, I was accepted to Boston University (with a graduate assistantship but no tuition reimbursement) and to Old Dominion University (with a graduate assistantship with full tuition reimbursement). Eventually, I decided to attend Old Dominion University and that let to so many wonderful opportunities that have shaped my personal life and career. I decided that although I was not at my number one choice, I was still going to earn a doctoral degree and make the most out of it!

Of course, there are many instances of failure in every day life: the article that gets rejected, the class activity that does not go as planned, the award that I do not get, etc.

Why am I sharing this? In academic circles, it gets really competitive. Heck, in life people get really competitive. We start looking at what others are doing and assuming that everyone is “doing things,” “going places,” and basically just “living the dream.” But the reality is that we are all working towards our goals and we all have moments of failures. That is just life.

Academia, Higher Education

Thank you, 2018. Looking forward to meeting you 2019!

I’ve been wanting to write a few sentences in my blog for a while, but it has been a “busy” end-of-the-year and also I have been choosing to stay away from my computer. So, while everyone at home is taking a minute to rest, I am writing this blog post.

When I think of 2018, so much comes to mind. It was a year of writing, data collection, and leading. I wrote grants, manuscripts, a book proposal, award applications, conference presentations, and my T&P narrative. I collected data on four different projects. All of this projects are now manuscripts in progress. Last, but not least, thanks to the grants I was awarded I was able to hire and mentor three research assistant this year (Spring and Fall). Of course, in addition to these research related tasks, I also served and taught several courses. I also do not want to forget the study abroad program to Switzerland (hopefully my Swiss friends already received the “Christmas cheer” I sent them in the mail)!

There were moments in which I wondered how I was going to do everything I wanted to do. At the end of the day, I tried my best to never look back, instead I just kept looking forward. One lesson that I believe is extremely important as part of your career (even if you are not an academic) and personal life is to surround yourself with people that have the same vision you have and that share similar values. I know “values” is such a loaded word. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is important to surround yourself with others who will cheer you during the good and bad times. These individuals will keep you grounded when you need to eat a bit of humble pie and will listen when you just want to vent. As Dr. Becca Kennedy mentioned: “it is important to find your people.”

Anyways, 2018 was overall good to me. I guess a better way of saying this is: there were many hours of hard work, emails, meetings, and basically moments of “making magic happen,” BUT in the end I feel good about the outcome(s). Also, this year serve as seed for many more “outcomes” to come.

Wishing you and yours a 2019 full of health, prosperity, and love!

 

Academia, Higher Education

Counternarratives of WOC Academics

I recently finished reading the book “Counternarratives of WOC Academics” and I just want to share how much I enjoyed it. Love the autoethnography approach used in the book. I also like the diversity of the authors and the stories shared (faculty members, graduate students, and even those who decided to leave academia). Higher education is a complex environment and it truly requires bravery, vulnerability, and resistance to make an impact.

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We often equate bravery and resistance with “disrespect,” I was happy to read how these women were able to accomplish their goals while truly being brave and still respectful. Similarly, in higher education “vulnerability” is often equated with “weakness.” It is very sad when I see scholar ashamed to share signs of weakness as if were are always strong and powerful. Reading about others sharing their vulnerable side, expressing their fears and doubts, is something I wish we did more often.  I think their is beauty in showing we are still “human.”

I am so excited for my next book. It should arrive next Tuesday!

 

 

Academia, AECT, Conference, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Professional Development

Moment of Honesty

Moment of Honesty A:
I was really dreading attending AECT 2018.

Moment of Honesty B:
I feel that I am changing as a scholar, as person, and a member of society

I attended my first AECT conference in 2009 and felt welcomed. I knew immediately that I would come back every year. I became involved in the leadership as part of the Research & Theory Division (RTD). I started serving in the RTD board in 2010 and I am stepping down from my leadership role this year. As an active member of AECT it has been a very rewarding experience.

This year, however, I felt a bit different and I think it is related to the “Moment of Honesty B.” I wish I could articulate all of this in a better way but that seems to be work in progress.

I do want to say that although I was dreading attending AECT 2018, I am glad I attended this year. First, I had a pretty awesome roommate (Dr. Valerie Irvine)! Also, I got to hangout with the usual suspects that shall remain nameless and with whom I can be brutally honest. Third, I got to see colleagues from around the globe and talked about the projects they are working on (great intellectual discourse!). Last, I joined several panels and contributed to conversations related to the IDT field, higher education practices, and our role as scholars.

I am very much looking forward to AECT 2019! We are so lucky to have Dr. Michael Grant as our president-elect (and as the person who will be leading the planning of AECT 2019). Based on my past experiences working with Michael, I know it is going to be amazing!

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Academia, AECT, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Job, Professional Development, Research, Self-care, Teaching

Latest Publication: ” Undisclosed Stories of Instructional Design Female Scholars in Academia”

Our article titled “Undisclosed Stories of Instructional Design Female Scholars in Academia” published in the Women’s Studies International Forum is now available online (co-authors: Tuğçe Aldemir, Jozenia Colorado-Resa, Camille Dickson-Deane, Ginger Watson, and Ayesha Sadaf).

Abstract: In this critical autoethnography, we come together as female instructional design (ID) faculty and graduate students. We use self-reflection to explore, through our writing, the experiences of our lives as female scholars. This includes gender-related challenges, concerns, and experiences that shape our lives as researchers, instructors, and practitioners. The theoretical frameworks that guide this critical autoethnography are radical and intersectional feminism. Radical feminists practice consciousness-raising in which women come together to share their personal experiences with each other. Intersectional feminists acknowledge that the various aspects of humanity, such as class, race, sexual orientation, and gender do not exists separately from each other. Our stories provide a view into the gender inequalities experienced by women, from various cultural backgrounds, ranks, and roles, while maneuvering the socio-cultural norms ingrained in higher education institutions. Our intention is that these stories generate understanding of these issues and inform ways that higher education may be more inclusive and supportive of female academics in the future.

This personalized URL provides 50 days’ free access to the article (until November 17, 2018). You are welcome to read or download. No sign up, registration, or fees are required: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Xoml-6kqPaWN 

Academia, Belgium, Education, Higher Education, Professional Development, Study Abroad, Travel

#UTampa Travel Course Alert: Belgium

TRAVEL COURSE ALERT! Prof. Merrie Tankersley will be leading a group of students to study abroad in Belgium next May 2019. Dr. Enilda Romero-Hall will participate as a assistant coordinator. This program is open to ALL UT students. The program includes potential side trips Ghent (Belgium) & Amsterdam (Netherlands)! For info on dates and cost, please see flyer. Also, feel free to email us. Never too early to start planning for next year 🇧🇪 ✈️

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Academia, Self-care

Self-Care: Barre Workout

Last year during Summer, I started taking barre workout classes. It was painful but I felt good after every class. I did this as part of a Groupon for a month-membership so after the promotion was done, I stopped the classes. All Fall and Spring, I really missed the bar method classes. So I decided to take classes (in a different studio) this Summer. Pretty much every week (except for two weeks in which I was on travel or recovering from travel) I have taken at least two classes.

This is a major accomplishment for me. I have issues committing to any kind of workout and I feel proud of the fact that I was able to workout at least twice weekly all summer. This is also a major form of self-care. I can honestly start work at 8am and stay connected to my laptop thinking that I must get “whatever I am working on” done. I become very sedentary and that is not good. Prioritizing my group exercise class has become a part of my daily routine (I normally do a mid-day class). I am not sure how this will transition into my routine during the academic year but I hoping for the best.

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