Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Texas Southern University - Increased Admissions Standards...Potentially...

The link to the article -

The new president at Texas Southern University (TSU) is thinking about ending their open-admissions policy for undergraduate students. As an African American, this is very interesting. Texas Southern University is one of the two public historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Texas.

Another interesting aspect of TSU is that the university is currently not under a "higher education" system. In Texas, we have four systems for public universities:

a) Texas State University System

b) Texas A&M University System

c) Texas Tech University System

d) The University of Texas System

In my opinion, ending the open-admissions policy is a step in the right direction for Texas Southern University. This step may make a difference in the perceived competitiveness of the university. A few years ago, there was a large push for public universities in Texas to cease their open-admissions policies and to increase admissions standards.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Now Is the Time to Prepare for Millennial Faculty

"Now Is the Time to Prepare for Millennial Faculty" is the title of a wonderful article that is a little too late. Newsflash!!! We are already here and we are invading your campuses as adjuncts, instructors, and assistant professors. Currently, we are navigating the waters of academia and are striving to make our mark as faculty.

This article focuses on cultural differences, collaboration opportunities, technology, and how academic departments can attract millennial candidates.
Empower your millennial faculty.
Give your new/potential millennial faculty the chance to make a difference in academia. Currently, I am interested in engaging millennial students in the classroom environment. Therefore, I incorporate blackboard.com in every face-to-face class that I teach.
Utilize available technology.
Some professors in my department merely post their syllabus and information pertaining to class assignments. However, I organize my students into virtual focus groups (VFGs) and each group has to complete discussion questions that are focused on the current chapter. I post most of the students' grades online (except for tests administered in class) and the millennial students like the fact that they can check their grades through the "my grades" feature on blackboard.com.
This is one of the only articles that I have found that is focused on this topic of millennial faculty and I am desperately seeking other articles.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Communicating with Students via Yahoo Instant Messenger

Communicating with Millennial Students by Using the Yahoo Instant Messenger Program:
A Forthcoming Study

In the fall, I started using Yahoo Instant Messenger to communicate with my students during office hours. My office hours are in the morning and afternoon. I try to make office hours convenient for both me and my students, but sometimes both cannot be accomplished for all parties involved.

Therefore, I incorporated the use of Yahoo Instant Messenger to communicate with my students. Most of my students are millennials and they are excited about an additional way to communicate with me during office hours and outside of the workday. However, I use the "invisible" feature very frequently to avoid the "24 hour professor" syndrome.

The Future Study
I am writing a paper about my experiences, but I wanted to share then with the blog readers. Last fall, only five students from my 100+ students joined my instant messaging program. In addition, most of the students communicated with me through blackboard.com. This spring, over 20 students have joined my instant messaging program and midterms have not occurred yet. Who knows what the number will be by the end of the semester.

Implications for Further Research
After the semester ends, the students do not delete my name from their Yahoo Instant Messenger list and I am able to maintain communication with them. This may serve as a longitudinal qualitative assessment mechanism for my virtual communication research.

My Instant Messaging Background
I have used instant messaging programs since 1998 when I was still in high school. Back then we had ICQ and I thought that program was the best thing since sliced bread. During college I made the switch to AOL instant messenger to keep in contact with my sorority sisters. In graduate school, I started using Yahoo IM, myspace.com, and recently facebook.com.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

This American Life

This American Life: My Guilty Pleasure

On a gloomy Saturday evening, people tend to focus on activities that are lower on the priority list in the work week. All day I have been glued to my laptop listening to podcast after podcast of my favorite online show "This American Life". I would have to say that this is my guilty pleasure. This podcast has very interesting stories, which range from an environmental expose' on the diminishing landmass of Nauru to an ethnic doll selection process as perceived by little girls and their mothers.

Yes, I have been an avid podcast listener today, but I have also completed the following:

(a) read and outlined two academic books
(b) created a 2008 monthly budget
(c) created family dinner menus for everyday
(d) sorted through my 1,000+ articles on google reader

Now, for another podcast - 307: In the Shadow of the City

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Millennials Do Not Read

I personally feel that millennial students/Gen-Yers do not read. After conducting research, another source agrees (Sweeny, 2005).

However, I feel that I am one of the outliers when examining this subject. Since the age of eight, I have read the Sunday newspaper from cover to cover EVERY Sunday morning. Currently, I live right outside of a large city and I am able to get the local and regional Sunday newspapers.

As I stated in the beginning, I feel that I am outside of the norm. My students do not READ newspapers and consequently they do not know what is happening around them. This year, I have started my class with an icebreaker pertaining to the news. I ask the students a question about the election, the obesity problem in Mississippi, the Grammys, the Super bowl or ANYTHING that focuses the status quo. I post the question about current events to the students, most of them look at me with a blank stare. However, there are some students who started reading the news after I began this current event icebreaker.

I am a BIG advocate of the NAA College Readership program, which supplies the students, faculty and staff with newspapers that are available across campus. Personally, I think that this program is VERY underutilized by all of the students, faculty and staff on campus. Some days I walk by the newsstands on campus and there are still MANY newspapers that were not taken during the day.

Sweeney, R. T. (2005) Reinventing library buildings and services for the millennial
generation, Library Administration and Management. 19(4), 165-75.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Former African-American Doctoral Student: Relections Abound

Don't feel entitled to anything you didn't sweat and struggle for.
Marian Wright Edelman

The title of Maya Angelou’s book, “Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now” describes my experiences during the doctoral program and after receiving my degree. I started the doctoral program while I was working full-time at the university in student services. At first, I was the only African American female and at [between 22 - 25], the youngest member of my doctoral cohort. After the first semester another African American female joined the cohort and we began our journey of “African American Accountability”. This level of accountability involves helping each other persist through the classes and the comprehensive exams.

The initial part of my journey involves taking advantage of opportunities when they arise. When I began the program, my career goals were centered on the student services field and I wanted to become a Vice President of Student Services. However, through the doctoral classes and constant mentoring that I received from the doctoral faculty, I realized that functioning as a staff member in the university environment was not my life’s calling. After the comprehensive exams, I began teaching in the community college and university environments. This was a pivotal part of my doctoral journey, because I was focused on my dissertation which pertained to college students and their relationships with professors.

The middle portion of my journey consisted of constant mentoring. I am proud to say that I have a wealth of mentors in the Educational Leadership and Counseling program at [name of university] and they have helped me make successful transitions through my doctoral journey. Mentors are very important in the doctoral process, because their goal is to ensure that each doctoral student is successful and that each student realizes the potential impact that they will have on the educational environment after graduation. As an African American doctoral student, I realized that I could not make my journey alone, but I had to have other companions ([name of institution]'s faculty).

The final part of my journey involved finished the dissertation. As an ambitious African American woman, I strongly believed that this process could be accomplished within a short amount of time. However, I realized that the dissertation is a mechanism that is used to refine the research and writing skills of doctoral graduates. During this process, I learned a wealth of knowledge about my personal endurance, working with others, and the importance of honing writing skills before the process begins. Drs. [advisor 1, advisor 2, mentor 1, mentor 2, and mentor 3] helped me through this process and assisted me in securing my current position as [junior faculty member].

I would not take anything for my doctoral journey, because I was able to gain interpersonal skills, research skills, and writing skills along the way. Reflecting on my journey as an African American doctoral student, I learned information from my African American, Caucasian American, and Hispanic American mentors in the department. I would strongly encourage others to take advantage of the resources that are available to them through the [name of department] and to network with others regardless of color or ethnicity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In-Class Evaluations: An African American Perspective.

Yesterday, I finished my FIRST in-class evaluation for the tenure-track process. I was very nervous before my chair visited my class, but as time progressed I realized that I did not notice that he was in the classroom. I mentally prepared myself for the evaluation and I intrapersonally repeated... "I am going to treat this day like any other day." One of the students even verbally commented, "I didn't even know that you were having an evaluation. When my other professors have their evaluations, they act fake and you didn't."

I hope that it went well.

Writing Dates! - What a GREAT Idea!

The Writing Date

The Chronicle of Higher Education had an interesting article yesterday pertaining to scholarly writing. It was called "The Writing Date" and it was written by Rachel Toor. This article was centered around the concept of "writing dates" or the weekly/monthly dates that we schedule with ourselves to write our scholarly work. I will definitely adopt the "writing date" concept for my daily writing (this blog) and my weekly writing (scholarly research).

I have to dedicate some time to the scholarly article concepts that I listed in the prior blog. If I schedule dates with myself, then I might get a few articles complete by the summer. A few articles are currently under review and I hope to hear back from those editors soon. I pray that the outcome is positive.
To keep myself accountable, I will do the following:
a) Contribute at least three blog posts a week.

b) Schedule at least two "writing dates" a week.

c) Read at least one book a week.

Please do the same. We will keep each other accountable. :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Publishing Revisited...

Publishing is important...they say. I intrapersonally reply, "Important eh? I need to research something that has future implications in my life and in the lives of others... Can publishing accomplish this?"

Sure it can, publishing is important. Important enough for me to spend 7:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m. polishing my faculty evaluation packet with current publications.

Believe it or not, I have almost 10 publications "in process". Now the term, "in process" is relative and can be misconstrued, thus begins the clarification process...
For me, the term "in process" means that I have a Word 2007 document for the following topics (included by not limited to):
  1. Engaging business and professional speaking students in a small group-based business plan competition.

  2. Supports for and barriers to on-time graduation as perceived by Hispanic American undergraduate students attending historically black colleges and universities and historically white colleges and universities.

  3. Student engagement and the high school science classroom.

  4. Service learning and the intercultural communication classroom.

  5. Communication among African American undergraduate students and academic advisers.

  6. Undergraduate students’ perceptions of the future implications of facebook and myspace.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Blog's Readibility Level?

This is an interesting website that enables blog owners to discover out the readability level of their blog. Our blog is rated...

blog readability test