Last Review & Response

Here is a copy of my last review from January 2014, when I was promoted to Associate Professor: Review from Promotion & Tenure Committee_January 2014

My Response

To aid in your review of my portfolio, here is how I addressed the recommendations from my last review, when I applied for promotion to associate professor (letter was dated January 2014).

Teaching:

In my last promotion review recommendation letter, it was suggested that I “apply my creativity and planning ability to develop grading processes that are more effective for students. In particular, she should continue to work on getting feedback to students in a timely manner.”

To meet this end, I did the following (in brief):

  • I now utilize grade rubrics and evaluation templates to simplify and expedite the grading process. In addition, I also use Adobe Acrobat to give students audio feedback on their work, which I embed into the student’s file. This is particularly effective when giving feedback on layout assignments, because I can speak about various areas of the student’s design. This is also a much faster and more efficient grading method, and students appreciate the audio feedback, which can be more engaging and clear that written feedback.
  • This year, I’ve also started using Google Docs in Arches to give students “live,” virtual feedback outside of class time. The student and I will log in at the same time, the student will share her document with me. I will walk her through the editing process, giving her immediate feedback and guidance. Students appreciate the one-on-one feedback, and they can ask questions – and get responses – immediately.

Other thoughts about teaching:

  • One of my areas of struggle is time management. I have a tendency to “over prepare” – I plan too many activities for a given class period and often do not have time to complete the activities. While I like to have “extra activities” planned for each class in the event that we complete a lesson plan early, I am trying to be more careful about budgeting my time and allowing students sufficient time in class to process information and reflect upon the task at hand. In order to do this, when prepping for class and developing my daily lesson plan, I have started allocating specific lengths of time for each activity, and I carefully monitor the time as the class progresses. At the end of class, I note how long the activity took and how well it went, so I can make adjustments in the future.
  • Because I teach writing-intensive courses, I spend a significant amount of time reviewing, evaluating and grading student work. While I believe detailed feedback is essential to student learning, I am developing methods to reduce the time spent grading, including utilizing grading templates that I can customize with individual student feedback; incorporating more in-class peer review; using grade rubrics; and giving feedback during student conferences.

Service:

In my last promotion review recommendation letter, it was recommended that I “continue sharing [my] expertise with students, fellow faculty members, and audience at-large.” To meet this end, I did the following (in brief):

  • Served the University and English Department through my work as department chair (fall 2014 – present).
  • Continued to serve as the adviser of Arches, the student magazine and website.
  • Led a Faculty Forum at Mount Mary University in August 2015 called “Copyright, Fair Use and Other Legal Issues for Bloggers and Website Writers.”
  • Worked with English faculty members to propose a 3+2 five-year dual degree in English, MFA in creative and new media writing, and minor in creative writing.
  • Worked with English department faculty members to revamp the undergraduate and graduate curricula.
  • Offer my new media skills to help the Mount Mary community and faculty (for example, I have met with fashion faculty members to help them create blogs for their classes).
  • Presented at numerous regional and national conferences, including BlogHer, the world’s largest conference for online content creators.
  • Continue to seek out competitive internship opportunities for our students and network with local businesses.
  • Became a founding member of the Board of Directors of the newly formed Wisconsin College Media Association, which supports students and advisers in news media throughout the state of Wisconsin through training, an annual convention, and the annual Better Newspaper Contest. I work with fellow board members to develop educational opportunities for student journalists throughout the state of Wisconsin and to promote collaborative work, which will benefit all college journalism programs, big and small. (For example, we work on securing speakers for free online webinar courses, which students in journalism programs across the state can view for free.)

Professional Growth:

In my last promotion review recommendation letter from January 2014, it was recommended that I “continue the trajectory [I] am on.” To meet this end, I did the following (in brief):

  • I continue to publish professionally, in lifestyle magazines and as a freelance writer for Fortune 500 companies. I would like to broaden my reach by submitting to more national magazines/publications and academic journals.
  • I blog for Little Lake County.
  • I am the Art Director and designer of Chicago Baseball magazine, and I develop and manage the publication’s website, www.ChicagoBaseballMag.com. This experience has been invaluable, as I can better teach students how to design for a magazine.
  • In the future, I would like to write a new media/blogging textbook and complete a young adult novel that I am working on. However, with the added responsibilities of chairing the English department – in addition to advising Arches – this has proven to be difficult, as my professional development time has been significantly reduced.