I wrote my last post back in May after participating in OTESSA conference: The #OTESSA22 Recap and Resources and honestly I had no idea the craziness of a summer that I had ahead of me! It has been 1.5 months since we moved to Knoxville. The boxes are unpacked and we have settled. I think that has been the number one questioned I have received for the last month from friends and colleagues.
There is so much that has happened this summer, I really do not know if I can sum it up into a blog post but here are the highlights:
I completely deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Initially those were going to be temporary deactivations but every time I thought about reactivating my account, I hated the fact that I was going to fall into old habits or deal with the social media non-sense (one day I will write about this term “social media non-sense”). It has been challenging at times because there are connections that I really miss and some that I honestly cannot connect in any other ways (i.e., friends who live abroad). But, I am still undecided on whether I will rejoin again.
We no longer live in our Seminole Heights bungalow in Tampa. I can’t believe we sold our first house. The process of selling was difficult in so many ways. It was exhausting mentally. It took over our lives. I will miss our neighborhood. Seminole Heights will always have a special place in my heart (i.e., it is the house were I saw my son take his first steps and the neighborhood he learn to ride his bike) but I am happy that the house sold allowing us to move and fully focus on our new chapter in Knoxville.
I became a U.S. citizen. I remember arriving in the United States January 2004 and landing in Kansas City to attend school at Emporia State University. That was an absolutely crazy adventure. I took the Greyhound bus from KC to Emporia (a two hour ride) and when we arrived in Emporia I was dropped off at a gas station. I was like “What the hell? Where is the bus terminal?” I asked the gas station employee to please call a cab for me and he was like “Well there is only one cab in town so know that it will be a while” (Yes, this was life pre-UBER, imagine that!). I really should write more about my adventures as an international student. Anyways, glad I completed all the requirements and applied for citizenship. The best part is that I get to vote!
I did the bare minimum in terms of scholarship. Instead I focused on the relocation process and I am so happy I didn’t kill myself trying to do a million things. Early in May I was contacted about a project that “must be written over the summer because the institution was going to pay us $$ over the summer to write the paper”. My response was: “Well the institution can keep their $$ because I am not about to comprise my sanity over a paper I can write in the Fall”. Best decision ever!
I did teach a two-week course on “culturally competent design for online learning” as part of a grant funded project “Online Ready” by colleague Dr. Lucy Green and colleagues. It was so much fun designing the course and launching it. It was an online asynchronous course for K-12 school librarians. This was the first iteration of the course now we get to address the feedback and launch it again next year with a different cohort.
There was minimum travel this summer but in the road trip to Knoxville we did get to explore two other major Tennessee cities: Chattanooga and Nashville. Definitely visiting again!
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!
Last week, in preparation for a class, I reached out to professional instructional designers (ID) via Facebook and asked them to share good instructional design related questions that they had to answer in an interview in the past. The reason for collecting these questions was to engage my graduate students in an mock interview exercise.
The response from the ID community in Facebook was great. I am still getting notifications of questions that are getting posted. In addition to the questions posted by ID professionals, I also asked the graduate students in both the Intro and Advance IDT Seminar courses to create questions that would be a good fit for an ID-related interview.
Here is the final Google document with all the interview questions, including those: a) crowdsourced from Facebook, b) UT IDT Intro seminar students, and c) UT IDT Advance seminar students: The Instructional Design Interview
If you are interested in becoming part of this ID FB communities, here are the links:
Yesterday, I purchased my plane ticket to Las Vegas (to attend the AECT 2016 International Convention later this year). This reminded me that I wanted to share a sneak preview of the AECT Research & Theory Division (RTD) sessions. As you know (if you read my blog posts regularly), I have the pleasure of serving as the AECT RTD Convention Planner as well as the Featured Research (FR) Sessions planner. The peer review process for all the sessions was earlier this year (it was not an easy process). The AECT RTD had a large number of good submissions and, at the same time, it had a limited number of allotted presentation hours (plus we had very rigorous reviewers). Now that the review process is completed and all accepted authors have been notified, all planners put together division highlights for the conference printed program. Below are the sneak preview or “highlights” for the AECT RTD and Featured Research Sessions. The full AECT16 schedule will be available in a few months.
The graduate students in the EME610 Trends and Issues in ID&T course (Spring 2014) presented their research results from the analysis of 150+ ID&T job ads. The students were divided into groups and each group focused on a specific job market (faculty, corporate, higher education/K-12, government/military).
I am now in the other side of the classroom… I accepted an Assistant Professor position at The University of Tampa. I knew from the moment I started my doctoral studies that I wanted to pursue a career in academia. I always wanted to teach others about instructional design and I have a passion for research.
It was very exciting when I got the offer but I am even more excited now that I am in Tampa and ready to start the academic year. The position is tenured track position, I am planning to stay focus on my teaching, research and service. I will be teaching mainly in the Instructional Design & Technology graduate program but I am also teaching a graduate level course in the teacher education master program. During the first academic year, I plan to work on a teaching and writing routine that works for me. I hope I can find a decent balance between the two of them.
I have to say that the move to Tampa was good but we had to make some adjustments . We (my significant other and myself) are still in the East Coast so we did not have a time change but we did have to get use to the Tampa weather. It consist of hot summer days and then the late afternoon thunderstorm. We also had to adjust the “sunshine” levels in Florida, now I know why the state of Florida is nicknamed the “sunshine state!” …we now wear sunglasses. Overall, it has been an interesting adventure and experience.
I want to share my academic job search and I hope that it helps others that are also looking for jobs in academia.
I had received several tips on how to organize the job advertisements to ensure I submitted all the required paperwork. I decided early that my brain works better in folders than spreadsheets so I created a very organized electronic folder system. Every position was a new folder. Every folder was numerically organized based on when the materials were due. I also contacted several professional references. I asked them if I could list them in my reference list, I also mentioned that I would have to ask for letters of recommendations at some point.
I wish I could say that the process was easy and stress-free but it was not. Compiling materials for my job applications took time away from my dissertation and it also took a toll on my emotions. One of the first decisions you will have to make is where you will apply. I received several pieces of advise (i.e., apply to research universities, apply to universities with known instructional design programs only, etc.). I decided that I was going to apply to all types of institutions (i..e research intensive, medium size, public, private).
Words of advise… Early in the process write your teaching philosophy, research philosophy, statement of research interest, update your curriculum vitae, and write a fairly detailed cover letter (that includes teaching, research, service and diversity). You will tailor your cover letter depending on the position you are applying to. A few aspects that I highlighted in my cover letter where my coursework and how it related to the position, my distance education experience, my instructional design practice, fellowship funding received, and the preference for the location of the university.
In total, I applied to 32 jobs in the United States, Canada and internationally. I was contacted by two universities for phone/video conferencing interviews and one on-campus interview. One interview was for a postdoc position in a research intensive university and the other was for an assistant professor position in a medium size private university. I think both interviews when well and I was fairly happy with the two universities, the positions and the location of the universities. I received a good offer from one of the two universities and I accepted it.
I hope that my post helps you in your academic job hunt. Here are some links that helped me as I was going through the academic job hunt:
Academic Job Hunt: Tips [Link]
Tips for a Massive Academic Job Search [Link]
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