Friday, January 30, 2009

This Week is OVER! The To Do/Completed List

My goodness! I cannot believe that this week is over! *Yes, I am secretly excited! 
Here is the to do list for this week:
  • Teach classes.
  • Upload test and test reviews.
  • Design test for the online course.
  • Grade discussion questions using rubric.
  • Contact second year, tenure track friend at SUNO.
  • Write national conference proposals.
  • Make journal editor's revisions to the article.
  • Hold Tuesday/Thurs (7 pm to 8 pm) virtual office hours via Yahoo IM.
  • Check e-mail and Bb mail. (6x daily)
  • Distribute the "Black Undergraduate Student Study".
  • Meet with [XYZ] University's Minority Student Leaders President.
  • Attend with university-wide committee meeting.
  • Attend departmental meeting.
  • Attend student services focus group meeting.
  • Contact faculty support services about Bb.
  • Register for national conference.
  • Purchase airline tickets for a regional conference in March. 
  • Update blog.
I am happy that the weekend is here. However, I do have to grade papers and score tests over the next couple of days. Ah, the life of a second year, tenure track faculty member. I love it!
Millennial Professor

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Retrospect...Mentoring Undergraduate College Students

This weekend, my husband and I presented a workshop titled, "Student Leader to Professional" at the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference in College Station, TX.

It seems that the 50+ students who attended the workshop really appreciated the content. After the presentation, a majority of the students had questions about their job search, student organizations, internships, etc. In fact, one of the students asked me to critique her resume.
I love helping students make a successful transition from the college environment to the workplace. In fact, this transitional period is one of my strongest passions in life. Sometimes, I miss supervising undergraduate students in a managerial capacity. I always tried to make sure that they were professional at all times (personal and professional). In fact, many of the students that I supervised at my former university still serve as my mentees. 

Here's what one of my mentees wrote on facebook.

Thank you!! much of what I have become as a leader is because of you. I do have many people to thank, but a greater thanks is extended to you- as you have molded much of what I am, the first few years of a college student's career are vital. there arent enough words to thank you, Im so thankful that I had you to look up to.

This student recently graduated and I was suprised to receive a message from him. I truly enjoy observing students when they effectively apply concepts and theories in their everyday lives, but student affairs was different. I supervised students who are professional alumni of their undergraduate institution. In fact, one of the students is working on his master's degree in student affairs.

This is my second year at XYZ university, but I feel that I have to work harder to sustain a mentoring relationship with my students. Many of these students take my 100-level course as a requirement of the core curriculum. However, a few of our non-majors have taken my upperlevel classes as electives. In fact, one student (that was undecided as a freshman) decided to become a communication major and has taken EVERY class that I introduced at XYZ university (including a 400-level class when she was a freshman). I feel that I established a mentoring relationship with her and also with students in an organization that I advise.

I hope and pray that I am able to establish a mentoring relationship with our undergraduates and graduates.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama's Big Day!!!

I am watching events as they happen this morning. For the past couple of days, my father-in-law has been sending us pictures from the events in Washington, DC. I am glad that someone close to me attended the events in Washington this week. 

As I watch CNN, Fox, CSPAN, and MSNBC, I wonder how many college students are present at today's event. It seemed that a majority of college students were supportive of President-Elect Barack Obama. A majority of students at my campus were supportive of Senator John McCain (according to a campus poll), but I am glad that they were active in the voting process. Personally, I think that both of the candidiates were wonderful, but the people of America supported President-Elect Barack Obama as America's new leader.

I hope and pray that today's events occur without disruption. Bless the new President.

***Take a look at Barack Obama's Myspace Page

Millennial Professor

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day of Service

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! (A Day on, Not a Day Off)

I am too excited about today and tomorrow. As I stated in prior postings, I have always been excited about the presidential elections and this year is no exception.

Despite my excitement, I never bring my political views into the classroom. I strive to state both sides of controversial issues and I gave updates from both the republican and democratic national conventions.

Today, I am happy about the event tomorrow, yet unhappy about lack of MLK Day of Service activities in my area. I would have to travel 50+ miles to the nearest service activity. I would create one, but I am not quite sure how my community would respond to a MLK Day of Service. We are one of the black families in the community.

However, today I plan to prepare for this week's classes. What did you do for MLK day?

Millennial Professor

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Can See You on My iPhone Student Tracking Program!!!

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, article titled, "Stanford U. Unveiled iPhone Application That Will Soon Let Students Locate Each Other". A couple of Stanford University students created an iPhone program that will enable students to find each other on a GPS-like network (with the students' permission). In the future, I wonder will professors be able track our truant students down via iphone when they choose not to come to class. Interesting concept!

Thought provoking questions:

a) Will this program increase the number of reported student stalkings of each other on college campuses?
b) Since most students are engrossed in facebook and myspace, will these GPS-like programs result in more student to student, face-to-face contact?

c) Will more student choose to purchase iPhones?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why I Became a Professor...From a Former Student Affairs Practioner's Perspective

Why did I become a professor? Well, it has been a long (from a millennial's point of view) journey that just became longer (with the tenure track). 

  • May 2003 - Graduated with a Master of Arts Degree. Served as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Affairs.
  • May 2003 -  Started my first full-time job as a Coordinator of Multicultural and International Student Services.
  • May 2004 - Gained admission to a higher education doctoral program (cohort-based).
  • August 2006 - Started serving as a full-time adjunct teaching six undergraduate-based classes at a community college and four-year institution in Texas. Began working on my dissertation.
  • January 2007 - Gained a fellowship in my doctoral program, taught as an adjunct for two community colleges, and continued working on my dissertation.
  • July 2007 - Defended the dissertation.
  • September 2007 - Started the tenure track and a four:four teaching load.
  • December 2007 -  Graduated with my doctorate degree.
  • January 2009 - Projects galore! Can I really survive on eight committees?
I made the switch, because I have some wonderful mentors in student affairs and academia that always push me to my limit. Since I was an undergraduate, I have wanted to become a chief university officer. This dream was derailed when some of my close mentors told me that I could not achieve my dream unless I became a professor. 

So, academia became my new dream and mindset. Instead of fund raising for student affairs programs and planning events, I have to search for grants, publish scholarly papers, present at conferences, serve on committees, and (of course) teach wonderful undergraduates. I love my job. I would not change what I have been blessed to do for ANYTHING.I love it when the undergraduates experience that "a ha" moment when they truly get a concept. I adore the exhilaration that I feel when I receive letter of acceptance for a faculty institute or grant. Most of all, I enjoy the feeling of humility when I receive a rejection letter for a journal or a "revise and resubmit" offer from another journal. This job is challenging, but I would not trade it for the world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

UT Austin is Pushing for Change in Texas' Top Ten Percent Law

It seems like things are changing around Texas. Our wonderful state is known for giving the top 10 percent of high school seniors automatic entry into almost any public higher education institutions in Texas. This basically means that these seniors can attend one of the top public institutions in Texas, the University of Texas at Austin.

This admission perk seems to be a burden for the UT Austin, because many high school seniors are choosing to attend this institution. In fact, according to Education Week, "81 percent of the Texas freshmen entering the university this fall gained admission through the so-called "top 10 percent rule."

As a result, The University of Texas at Austin's President wants to change the law that guarantees automatic entry to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

Read more about this potential law change here.... UT Pushing to Modify Top 10 Percent Rule.

Any food for thought?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Return vs. Investment = The Ivy League Experience

During August, I read an article titled, "Ivy Leaguers' Big Edge: Starting Pay ". This article was eye opening, because I operate under the belief that it does not matter where you attended school (as long as you obtain the degree). As a child of a single parent, I knew that my parents could not afford SAT/ACT prep or afford private school tuition. Therefore, I sought scholarships at public schools.

One of the most surprising statistics was, "According to the survey, graduates of Dartmouth College, an Ivy League college, earn the highest median salary -- $134,000." I graduated from a public, mid-sized higher education institution in Texas with under $2,000 in student loans (thanks to scholarships). Yes, I think that an Ivy League education is wonderful, but I do not think the debt is worth it. Here's the clincher, I worked with a wealth of people who received the Ivy League experience and have the Ivy League experience debt. The most interesting aspect of this clincher is...we earn the same salary and I have less student loan debt. 

Is an Ivy League education worth the debt?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Does Graduate School Prepare Millennial Professors for the Professional Environment?

I really enjoyed my break. I had a chance to visit family, to shop, to wrap gifts, to CLEAN MY HOUSE, and to spend time with my husband. In addition, I temporarily gave up my "24 hour professor syndrome" for three entire weeks. However, on new year's night, I responded to e-mail in my university inbox and I completed a information security training during the celebratory ball descent. 

The interesting aspect of my eventful new year's night is...I celebrated the new year in a completely different way BEFORE graduate school and becoming a professor. Today, I operate under the mantra of professionalism at all times. I never know when I will come in contact with a student at the local Chili's restaurant, Kroger, or at Wal-Mart. 

It is amazing how graduate school acculturates future professors for their teaching job. However, I was a student services practitioner before I joined the tenure track and I gained a wealth of experience in professionalism with undergraduate students.

Do you think that professors should have professional (or more relaxed) relationships with students? Does graduate school prepare millennial professors for the professional environment?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Are High School Students in Rural Environments Left Behind in the College Admissions Process?

In my spare time, I operate "Academic Workshops: The College Prep Boot Camp" with my husband. Through this boot camp, we prepare college students to take the SAT/ACT, inform them about the college admissions process, and navigate through the financial aid process. We focus on rural communities in Texas.

Many of these students will attend two year or four year colleges/universities. Most of these students indicated that their high school counselors do not help them with the college application or admission processes. In addition, many of these students are first-generation college students who feel that they cannot attend college because of tuition costs.

High school students who live in the urban/suburban environments have access to Go Centers or city-based services. Students who attend high school in rural environments do not usually have access to these services.

What does your state do to reach these students?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The 2009 Outlook -Tenure Track Goals...

I am too excited about this new year! It seems that 2009 is going to be one of the BEST years. I am finished with my doctorate, my family is settled in our community, and I am ready to write. Here are my goals:

a. To maintain work-related interpersonal relationships.
b. To write a scholarly article every two months.
c. To keep the blog updated at least two times every week.
d. To read at least two scholarly articles a week.
e. To keep an organized and updated calendar.

     This year's goals are smaller when compared to last year's goals. I shortened this year's goals to start on a focused path towards tenure. Last year, I gained wonderful mentors that I need to stay in contact with this year. In addition, I will try to attend as many academic conferences as I possibly can. Networking and organization are the keys to a successful 2009!