Academia, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Research, Teaching

TPS? Tenure, Promotion, and Sabbatical

So, I think by now everybody and their grandma knows that I have earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at the University of Tampa. Just in case you missed my Facebook and Twitter post, the Dean’s newsletter, and the global email send to all members of the UT community, here is photographic evidence of the good news!

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Tenure and Promotion Letter

All joking aside, I feel proud of this accomplishment. I am immigrant afro-latinx women who started this journey with very little financial support or knowledge about the education system in North America.

Have you ever seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? One of my favorite parts is when the father of bride is sitting in the kitchen table with his daughter and they are discussing who is invited to the wedding. The father feels such pride that his daughter is getting married and he wants to invite every single one of his friends. The daughter wants to keep it intimate and then the father says: “I came to this country with 8 dollars in my pocket!” and then he goes to tell her how hard he worked and the pride feels on everything they have accomplished as a family.

I sometimes feels that as my son gets older, I will say something similar to him: “Diego, your grandparents and I came to North America with one suitcase each and very little money.” This is very true! When I was 19 years old, my parents and I left our home country (Panama) to settle as an immigrant family in Canada. It was not easy. We did not know the culture, we struggled with the language, the cost of living was high, and we knew no-one. It is a really long story with sad memories, struggles, moments of triumphs, and joy. It all let eventually to settling into our new country of residence.

I wrote before about taking a year off from school to work and save money for my education. This happened immediately after I moved to Canada. I worked many jobs, including: the maintenance person (cleaning offices in the Sears headquarter building in downtown Toronto), as a front desk person in several hotels downtown Toronto, and even did a short-term gig as an admin assistant for an administrator in the Toronto School District Board. I feel a little like that Drake song “Started from the bottom”:

“Started from the bottom, now we’re here
Started from the bottom, now my whole team fuc*** here” 

Sorry when you have affiliations to Toronto, you start quoting Drake! lol

It is true, we started from the bottom now we, as a family, are here. I made two phone calls as soon as I found about T&P. I called my mom in Toronto and I called my dad who is currently Panama. The joy in their voice was everything I needed to hear in that moment. Of course, I celebrated with my husband and son. They have all been part of this journey with me <smiles>.

Something else that I have not mentioned to many, just recently shared in a Twitter post, is that last fall in addition to my tenure & promotion (T&P) dossier, I also submitted an application for sabbatical. At my institution we are allowed to applied for sabbatical the same year you apply for T&P. The sabbatical application was approved both by the sabbatical committee and the Provost. I am very excited for the sabbatical and the projects that I will work on during that time. More on that later this year.

Happy Friday!

 

Academia, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Multimedia

Trends in ID&T Database

The biggest benefit I get out of FB are the groups that I belong to. They are great for sharing resources and learning from others. Recently, in one of those groups a colleague from a different institution shared a link to the Trends in ID&T Database:

The Trends in ID&T Database is now live! You can access information from more than 80 resources pertaining to the innovations employed and valued in K-12 schools, higher education, and business and industry. We also welcome contributors to help keep the database current. Additionally, please feel free to use this resource within your classes! Find out more at trendsandissues.org

Academia, Education, Higher Education, life, scholarship, Teaching

When a Scholar Dies

Several weeks ago I was lurking around Twitter and came across tweets that mentioned a scholar. Someone had created a hashtag and asked others to share their memories related to this scholar (and to include the hashtag in the tweets). I was curious to know who this person was and why people in Twitter were sharing these stories. I quickly learned that the name of the scholar was Dr. Erik Olin Wright. After following a few twitter threads, I found out that he was very ill and the tweets from others were a way to honor what he had done as a scholar, advisor, and as a person. In the mist of the different Twitter posts, I came across a link to his online journal (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/erikolinwright/journal). In it, Dr. Wright was documenting his illness  and life after his cancer diagnosis. The very first post that I read, in his journal, was titled “Strange State of Existence” posted on Jan 5th in which he discussed having three weeks to live. This is a portion of Dr. Wright’s post on Jan 5th:

Screenshot 2019-02-02 21.44.59After reading his initial post, I continued to silently follow his journey. Every couple of days, I would click on the link and read his new entries. One of the most emotional and wonderful parts of the journal were the comments left by hundred of individuals who had been touched by Dr. Wright in one way or another. This is just one of hundreds of comments shared in his journal:

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If you did not clicked on the link to the online journal, I am sad to share that Dr. Wright passed away on Jan. 23. Reading his journal and the comments made by others has made me reflect tremendously.

  • The reality that we have a limited time in this planet.
  • The reality that as scholars the impact of our work goes far beyond metrics that are often used to rank, classify us, or give us “status.”
  • The beauty of Dr. Wright’s thoughts and humanness in his journal, as well as, the comments by others reminded me that there are still individuals who are genuine, sincere, and candid.

I hope that others find his online journal and continue to read it.

 

Academia, Distance Education, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Research, Teaching

The Book [Work In Progress]: Research Methods in Learning Design & Technology

I am currently on the early stages of a book project. The title of this edited volume is “Research Methods in Learning Design and Technology.” The book is anticipated to be released in 2020. Currently, there are 11 confirmed book chapters. I am now in the process of seeking authors for a few additional chapters that will complete the line up for the book (link to the full Call For Proposals). 

Introduction: This edited volume serves to combine knowledge related to research methodologies in the instructional design and technology (IDT) field. It will address questions such as: How has our research methodologies evolve? What are the methodologies that can be used to investigate traditional and new research environments? How can we apply innovative research methodologies to address questions related to learning, design, and technology? This edited volume will provide IDT scholars with a solid foundation of the different methods that can be taken to investigate a research problem. This knowledge aids researchers in the understanding of the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understand a research question.

Objectives of this Book:

  • Present a historical overview of how different methodologies have adapted to the new and changing learning environments
  • Illustrate how different methodologies can be used to investigate topics related to IDT
  • Explore benefits and drawbacks to different types of research methodologies in research related to the IDT research
  • Discuss the future of research methodologies in the IDT field


Target Audience: 
There is a wide range of individuals that can serve as the audience for this book. Any individual (research faculty, teaching faculty, and graduate students) interested in research in instructional design, educational technology, instructional technology, and learning sciences would serve as an audience for this book. This book would also be appealing to instructional design practitioners who conduct research within their workplace. The chapters in this book will also be of benefit to educational researchers, in general, who at some point within their careers would like to focus on research related to instructional design, educational technology, instructional technology, and learning sciences.

Again, if this project is of interest to you and you feel that you would like to learn more about the call for proposal please: click here

Important Dates
Proposal Submission Deadline:
March 1, 2019
Full Chapters Due: August 30, 2019

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

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!

 

 

Self-care

50% Chance of Rain

Yesterday was a great day for a stroll in one of the local parks. The forecast said: “50% chance of rain.” It definitely looked cloudy but I was too entertained by gators in the park to notice the clouds approaching. The gator in the photo below, in particular, was just hanging out and chillaxing while everyone just took photos.

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Before I realized it, it was pouring! It was like someone had just opened the faucet. We managed to find shelter under the stairs of one of the observations towers. There was a group moms with five children who looks like they were six or seven years old. They were definitely not impressed with the situation. This was not what they had signed up for. I was also thinking: “well this sucks!” The stairs were not really providing much shelter.

 

Then, we all saw a kayak with two people (see image below) paddling as fast as they could trying to make their way back to the “launching point” were they had rented the kayak. In that moment I realized that:

A: While sometimes you may think you are in a bad situation, it could always be worst.
B: Sunny days are good but you have to make the most out of days with a “50% chance of rain.”

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