The On-Campus Interviews

After 9 years, this spring 2022, I had two on-campus interviews. One was a virtual on-campus interview and the other was an in-person on-campus interview. I want to start by saying that both groups of search committee members were amazing. In addition to the on-campus interviews, I also had two additional Zoom interviews (with other universities that did not lead to an on campus interview). Overall, great experiences with all of the search committees.

I am also here to tell you that the on-campus interview (virtual or in-person) are honestly so much work for the search committee members. Perhaps it is because I have served in a few search committees myself that I feel a great deal of empathy for those who were inviting me for interviews. I know it takes a lot of email, coordination of schedules, time, and energy. So huge thanks to everyone that takes the time to participate in a search committees and give your candidates a good experience. I consider myself lucky during this 2021-2022 job search period, I was treated with a great deal of respect.

During the virtual on campus interview, the committee divided the search into two days and that was really nice. It was an afternoon and then the following morning. It was enough time in front the computer to give the best of me, but not too long that I was Zoomed out. It was also nice that break time was incorporated in between meetings.

The on campus interview was with The University of Tennessee Knoxville (where I accepted an offer) and I have to be honest one of the highlights was flying over the Smoky Mountains on my way to Knoxville. The interview was a dinner (the day of arrival) followed by a day of meetings and a research talk. I also decided to stay an additional day to see the different neighbors and learn more about the area. I will share more in a future post about my decision to accept the offer at University of Tennessee Knoxville, but I am just going to say that I am very excited and happy!

Guest what? Even after 9 years I still followed the advice I gave back in 2013: https://enildaromero.com/2013/07/

These are a few snapshots from the UT Knoxville on-campus interview:

Sometimes in order to reconnect, you have to disconnect

A few weeks ago, all of a sudden, I just decided that I needed to take a social media break. I wanted to think about my use of social media and what I was truly getting from it. Also, what was I giving up in return. I wanted time to think about the relationships I had formed with others in the different social networks I use.

The time away from all the social network platforms, in all honesty, was great (thank you all for your text messages of care and concern). I was able to channel my energy on other activities and thoughts. Also, anyone that needed to get a hold of me was still able to reach out using email, text, or a phone call.

The time apart from the different social networks also truly allowed me to determine what I want to do moving forward. The reality is that some social networks no longer serve a purpose for me and I am completely fine letting them go. But for some reason my relationship with Twitter is just such a love/hate relationship that I find myself struggling with how to move forward. I think that for now I am going to focus more on blogging. Please consider this the “I am taking a social media break” formal announcement.

I attended my first in-person conference: #NSEE 2021

This past week I attended my first in person conference since February 2020. It was the Annual Conference of the National Society for Experiential Education. Back in early Summer, when I received the email from the Center for Teaching and Learning about attending the conference I felt good with attending the conference. Florida at that time was doing better with the number of COVID-19 cases but that quickly changed and I was starting to become hesitant about attending the conference. Thankfully the numbers are starting to decline after a massive spike due to the Delta variant. Another encouraging aspect was that the conference had a mask mandate for all attendees. It was sent out via email several times prior to the conference. It was also nice that the conference was in Orlando so if I didn’t feel comfortable with the COVID-19 measures, I could drive home in 45 minutes. Thankfully after I walked into the keynote session I immediately noticed that everyone was wearing their masks and wearing them properly. The conference did include a lunch but I didn’t attend because I didn’t feel comfortable attending this event so I just ordered some UBER eats.

The conference this year had an overall theme focused on social justice in experiential education. My first session was the keynote by Dr. Raja Gopal Bhattar (they/them/theirs) on Tuesday morning. As stated in the website of the conference: “Dr. Bhattar is a nationally recognized higher education leader, advocate, consultant and author. Raja will address how effective experiential learning requires intentionality and clear understanding of outcomes for our communities. Through storytelling and reflections, this keynote will offer insights and strategies on how experiential education leaders can incorporate equity, inclusion and belonging in all aspects of our work.” I loved the keynote speaker! I like it when keynote speakers make me reflect and this was a perfect example of this. Some of the questions I had to think about white listening to keynote speaker:

  • How do we show up?
  • Identity versus perception?
  • What is our role in upholding/disruptive inequitable systems?
  • How our students receive us?
  • Whose perspective is not on the table?
  • How do societal systems enhance or inhibit student success on campus?

We also had to do an identity grid that helps us reflect on “how often do we think about who we are beyond our titles? ”

Identity grid.
Identity Grid at NSEE 2021

Other sessions that I really enjoyed were:

  • Social Justice and Antiracism in Career Education and Experiential Education: Session discussed a process for creating a Call to Action with accountability measures, equity-oriented course syllabi, and a 5-step model to consider in your own work. This is a wonderful resources shared during the session: https://tinyurl.com/4j2tmxaw. This resources were used to create the Social Justice and Career Education infographic. Please see image below.
  • Providing career readiness support to female students in male dominant industries: This was a nice round table session focused on different kind of events that staff and faculty can use to create opportunities for networking, grow , and support for female students and those who identify as woman.
  • Using immersive virtual reality in higher education to facilitate authentic learning experiences: This was a very introductory session into VR and how a university had employed VR experiences into the curriculum to provide learning experiences related to manufacturing at the start of the pandemic in lieu of in person field trips. We got an opportunity to brainstorm ideas for our own curriculum.
  • Learner-centric virtual exchanges: No travel, no problem: This session related to a virtual global challenge that an institution took at the beginning of the pandemic in lieu of study abroad programs. As soon someone who has coordinated a study abroad program in the past and who is considering one next Spring I want to think of alternatives in case the pandemic requires me to make a change in plans. This session helped me think about different approaches that I can take virtually.
  • Influencers abroad: Enhancing cross-cultural awareness through social media activities: This session explored leveraging strategically designed social media learning activities to enhance cross-cultural awareness. I thought it was a creative to consider alternative assignments during study abroad experiences. Some of this assignments included: Vlogs, Instagram stories (academic versus personal accounts) every day, Instagram food related posts, and end of a program presentation/reflection.
Social justice and career education infographic

Dense Breast Tissue and Mammograms

Do you know what kind of breast tissue you have?

Until two days ago I had not idea the kind of breast tissue that I have. Until two days ago I didn’t know that women can have fatty breast tissue or dense breast tissue.

As you may or may not know, I turned 40 this year. You also may or may not know that I had a hysterectomy last year. After the hysterectomy, I had a check up with my OB/GYN and he reminded me that because I was turning 40 I should start having my yearly mammogram. So late this summer, I went ahead and schedule my first mammogram.

Woman in pink with a breast cancer ribbon.
Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash

One of the most frustrating parts of this experience is that the process lacks an “educational” component that would allow me to truly learn about the health of my breast, the mammogram process, and health screening for breast cancer. So this is what happened:

  • I visited the doctor’s office and had my first mammogram. The experience simply involved having the 3D scan of my breast with the mammogram machine (I am sure there is a proper name for the machine).
  • I got a call from the doctor‘s office 5 days later letting me know I needed to schedule a follow up mammogram at the hospital in the breast cancer center (scary!).
  • I when to the follow up mammogram. I met the technician who told me that she would have to take additional 3D imagines for both of my breast. I had to ask why. Her response: “the doctor’s office notice something in both of your breast”.
  • After the follow up mammogram, I was put in a waiting area and told that it is possible I would have to have an ultrasound of my breast.
  • After a few minutes an ultrasound technician took me to a room where she quietly performed the ultrasound of both of my breast. After completing the ultrasound she told me to wait there while she shared the imagines with the radiologist.
  • After what seemed like forever, she returned and told me that what they were seen in my breast scans and ultrasound images were lymph nodes in one breast and “dense breast tissue” on the other. She simple said: “ But are fine. The radiologist didn’t fine anything abnormal.”

Perhaps for the technicians, radiologist, and other health care personal assume that all of the language that they used was familiar to me or I understood all the consequences of what was happening. But I actually ended up doing a lot of googling throughout the process, the terms, and the research. I came across all sorts of different resources. One major finding amongst the sources I read and listened to is that women with “dense breast tissue” are more likely to have undiagnosed breast cancer: https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/dense_breasts

Two takeaways from this experience that I hope help others that read this post:

  • I felt that there was a lack education during the process. I wish someone has sat with me an explain the process, the terms, and potential outcome in more detail. I will be talking to my OB/GYN in more detail about this. But, it also means you have to do your own research too. So, seek education from a professional but also spend time looking a reputable sources to better understand women’s health.
  • If you are 40 years and older get a mammogram every year. If several mammograms are inconclusive, request an ultrasounds of your breast. I found the TEDx Talk below to very helpful (I know not all TEDx Talks are helpful, but this one truly aligned with research from reputable sources).

Recent Publications related to Online Teaching and Learning

In this post, as I have done in other posts, I want to share some research that I have co-authored and published so far this year related to online teaching and learning:

The three-tier design process: Streamlined guidelines for designing and developing a course in a learning management system to promote effective learning” You can access this journal article here

This is a collaboration with Weiwei Ji (Instructional Designer at Arkansas Tech University) and Pauline Salim Muljana (Doctoral Candidate at Old Dominion University). It is a design framework supported by research-based evidence and influenced by the instructional design practice of WeiWei (Will) and his experience as an instructional designer. Of course, it is also supported by the knowledge, skills, and experience of Pauline and myself. As we state in the abstract: “We propose a set of guidelines called the Three-Tier Design Process (TTDP), providing a pathway for faculty and other higher-education professionals who intend to design and develop a course in a Learning Management System and to promote learner-centered experiences. This paper includes detailed discussion about each tier of the TTDP, its subcomponents, and an example of its application. The TTDP borrows from existing theories, models, and literature in the instructional design field that focuses on key aspects that help create positive learning experiences. Tier 1 focuses on course design and serves as a foundation for the next two tiers; Tier 2 emphasizes course development; and Tier 3 concentrates on the user-experience considerations. Examples from a real course are additionally provided.” We were invited to write a blog post about the journal article for the Online Learning Research Center. Here is a link to the blog post: https://www.olrc.us/blog/designing-and-developing-courses-in-learning-management-systems-how-do-we-enhance-learners-experiences

“Hybrid flexible instruction: Exploring faculty preparedness” You can access this open access journal article here

I was excited to see this journal article finally published. This journal article is the result of a collaboration with University of Tampa undergraduate elementary education major, Caldeira Ripine. It is a research project supported by the Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Grant from the University of Tampa. The data was collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic during Fall 2019. As the pandemic started and plans for continuity of instruction were shared by higher education institutions, I knew that the data Caldeira and I had collected needed to get publish as soon as possible. But, due to a number of factors (including lack of childcare) it took a while a to get this out into the review pipeline and of course, then it had to go through the peer review process. In any case, as stated in the abstract: “The aim of this investigation was to survey faculty members on their perceived level of preparedness to design and implement hybrid flexible (HyFlex) instruction. Participants included 121 full- and part-time faculty. Using an electronic survey, faculty members: a) rated their preparedness to engage on different HyFlex instruction competencies, b) shared which pedagogical strategies they felt prepared to use in this instructional modality, and c) listed the resources and support that they felt were needed to successfully implement their course.” The journal article is open access, you are welcome to download, read, and share.

Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash

Writing during “Stay at Home” Orders

How much fun was it to write manuscripts during “Stay at Home” orders without childcare? Well if you have not experience this during the last year and half of the COVID-19 pandemic then consider yourself lucky! It is not fun at all. I wrote the following in a reflection I was putting together on what April 2020 was like:


Upon our return to the U.S. we were faced with the news that, due to the pandemic, our childcare center had closed indefinitely. My partner and I had to adjust to working from home while providing childcare for our 4-year-old son. I had to quickly realize that some of the projects that I was hoping to start before the end of my sabbatical were going to be delayed or canceled. The projects that I was planning to complete were going to require a massive amount of focus and dedication. In order to accomplish all our work requirements, my partner and I had to divide our days into three “shifts.” The morning shift (8 am to 1 pm) in which I worked and he would care for our son. The afternoon shift (1 pm – 6 pm) in which my partner worked and I would provide care for our son. The evening shift (6 pm until midnight) in which were are exhausted but aimed to spend time together as a family.”


In April 2020 during a three week period during my “morning shift” I wrote a manuscript for a special issue that was published in the Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D) journal. The realization that I was going to have less than the estimated amount of time to write this paper stressed me so much. But I had to channel that stress into getting the work done. During the process of writing the proposal I had gathered and read most of the literature and had put together an outline. Having this things done was a lifesaver! During the three weeks of writing I had to buckle down and eloquently put the literature and my ideas into a document.

I should give a little bit of context: I initially thought I was going to have a month of full-time work hours during a term in which I was on sabbatical. But because of the lack of childcare (due to COVID-19) I actually had three weeks with 4-hours per day (during week days) to write the paper. I do not know how fast others are at writing papers but gosh I am such a tortoise. To make it more interesting, this was a solo-authored publication.

Kind of funny, I can write without problem in a busy cafe with all sorts of background noise. I pretty much wrote all of my dissertation in a Panera a few blocks from my apartment when I lived in Norfolk, VA. But it was so hard to write this paper from home while having my family members’ voices in the background. I remember putting on my headphones and close the door and still every now and then I would still hear their voices and conversations in the background.

I think that been really passionate about the topic I was writing about made a huge difference on how I approached this writing project, despite the hardship endured in the process. I am grateful for Reviewer # 1 and the editors of the special issue for such wonderful and detailed feedback. I truly helped me improve the paper during the R&R submit process. The manuscript was published “online first” this January 2021 and is titled: Current initiatives, barriers, and opportunities for networked learning in Latin America .

This was the first of many experiences like this. Our son stayed home for 6 months while we worked from home without childcare. And, even after he went back to the childcare center, there were other instances in which he has stayed home and we had to maneuver the same dynamics of still completing our work. Having the deadline of special issue submission did add more pressure in this specific instance (shared in this post)! It made it hard for me commit to any special issue submissions for almost a year (hence why I missed out on so many opportunities to submit for COVID-19 related special issues in 2020, sadly)!

Happy Monday everyone!

Hello World!

As usual I have once again neglected my blog.

I really have not felt inspired to write in my blog. Since my last post on June 8th, I was busy teaching my summer course (which ended at end of June) and June was also an intense month with writing projects. It seems like everything was due in June.

Then I decided that July would be a month of recovery. Recovery meant spending as much time as possible outdoors. Working from home means I sometimes neglect to spend time outside during the work week. By July, I really needed to make time for the great outdoors, getting vitamin D, and fresh air. I needed it both physically and mentally.

August was a month of change. So much change. I really need to dedicate an entire blog post to describe it all. So, let’s put a pin on it for now.

So in order to hold myself accountable, I am going to write that over the next few months I will share more on my blog about some of the hobbies in the great outdoors that I have enjoyed lately, some of the changes in my life (and the life of those around me), and updates on some projects.

This post sounds so vague but it gives my some direction to make an effort to reconnect with my blog.


One of the few relaxing things that I did manage to do in June was to spend a weekend alone while my partner and son went camping. It had been 16 months since I had been apart from them overnight and felt super weird. I did used some of that weekend to do some writing (which I hardly ever do on the weekends) but more importantly I made sure to spend plenty of time relaxing. One of the relaxing experience that I had that weekend was pottery painting. It was seriously so calming, relaxing, and such fun experience. I spend nearly 4 hours painting. I should do it more often. Use the slider below to see some before and after pictures of my “work of art”. I am not Picasso but I think did pretty good!

Pottery Painting

Your Goals

Unless you are independently wealthy or a master manipulator, you will have to work hard and make sacrifies to achieve your goals. I know to most people this may sound like a pretty obvious statement, but for some reason I get the impression that there are some who think that success just happens overnight. Trust me when I tell you I have made plenty of sacrifices to achieve pretty much everything that I have been able to accomplish including becoming a mother, purchasing materialistics things, and my professional accolades.

Right after I completed my undergraduate degree, I went on to do my master and doctoral degree. I studies non-stop for from my associates degree to my undergraduate to my master and then to my doctoral degree. Yes, I was a professional student for 12 consecutive years of my adult life. This does not include the two previous years of undergraduate studies that I did while I live in Panama (after graduating high school). By the time, I started my masters program, most of my friends (in Canada, the Unites States and Panama) were buying cars, buying houses, getting married, having kids, going on fancy vacations, and affording a lifestyle that I could not live because I was on a graduate student stipend.

But, I had a goal in mind. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Therefore, I just stayed focus.

Why do I share this? I share this because I see graduate students comparing their journey with the journey of others. Trust me when I tell you that those who made it to the end (who earned their degree) also made sacrifices. You may not see how they worked hard or the sacrifices they made, but as someone who has been there I can honestly tell you it was not easy for them either.

It is also here where I would like to re-share a prior post I wrote called “Failure.” Here is a quote from that post:

“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.”

I would like to modify the last sentence of that quote and say: But the reality is that we are all working towards our goals and we all have moments of failure, sacrifices, and hard work. Stay focus on your goals and what you want to achieve.

By the way, sometimes I need this reminder too.

CFP: Feminist Pedagogy for Teaching Online

The curators of the Feminist Pedagogy for Teaching Online guide (Jacquelyne Thoni Howard, Clare Daniel, Niya Bond, Liv Newman, and myself) are putting together a new edited collection on this topic. A list of potential topics is included in the call.

Please consider submitting a book chapter proposal by July 2nd, 2021. The book will be proposed to the Distance Education series at Athabasca University Press for publication in an open-access format.

For more information about the CFP or to submit a proposal visit: http://tiny.cc/FemTeachOnline

Recent AECT Interactions Post about #FeministPedagogy

I was recently invited to write a post for the newly established AECT Interactions digital publication. I welcomed the opportunity to write about a topic of my choice and was honored to be amongst those invited (which included colleagues who I deeply admired and whose work I value). Since I am starting to explore and write about feminist theories in various ways in my work, I decided that I wanted to write a short practical piece about feminist pedagogy. The lead of this new AECT initiative, Dr. Michael Grant, encourages us to write pieces that serve as a reflection of our own teaching experience and/or research outcomes. It seemed natural to me to write about my own experience embracing feminist pedagogies in my teaching. You can read my published post in AECT Interactions here: How to Embrace Feminist Pedagogies in your Courses

I shared the post widely online in different social media outlets and received fairly positive feedback on the topic and content covered. One of my favorite comments was shared in a Facebook group. It put a smile on my face. Below is a screenshot of the comment.

Facebook Comment’s Screenshot

I know that AECT is looking for authors who would be interested in contributing posts for this new publication. To learn more about AECT Interactions or how to submit a post for publication, click this link: Launching a digital publication to impact educators and learning professionals.