Frankenstein, Deep Humanities, & Creating Posters in a Literature Class

For the last 6 months, I’ve been busy organizing the Frankenstein Bicentennial along with my student Project Manager and two collegial British Romantics scholars at Santa Clara University and San Francisco University. Since I don’t have an opportunity to teach Romantics very often (it’s been 8 years!), this was a terrific opportunity to celebrate the complexities and cultural legacy of this brilliant and its author, Mary Shelley.

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Using Promotion Dossier as a Platform?

This afternoon, I received the final review from my colleagues in this bid for promotion to Full Professor — the University Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Committee — it was quite exhilarating to read the enthusiasm. And, I’m grateful to all of my colleagues for their extensive service on these promotion and tenure committees.

Now, the entire set of reviews and my digital dossier traverse the campus to land with a kerplunk on the digital doorstep of my Provost and then our President. The President’s decisions about promotion will be announced on Friday, May 25th.

Though all of my reviews have been laudatory, they all notes (as did I) that my student evaluation (SOTES) numbers are not where I’d like them to be — but I also note in my dossier that these SOTES don’t represent a holistic view of my pedagogy. Then, I proceed for pages to provide details about successes and failures in my Pedagogy Adventures. I also provide letters from current and former students with details about how my pedagogical choices effected their learning.

The Department, College, and Dean reviews do well to note this holistic perspective. But, from the University committee review, there’s one dissenting vote. Just one, in what has been a series of unanimous votes up until now. I don’t find this so irksome as much as the explanation: Read more…

Moving up the Professional Ladder – Promotion Narrative for Full Professor

In 2012, I submitted my dossier for promotion to Associate Professor. I received tenure 2 years earlier, but due to shenanigans, promotion (and a raise) didn’t come with that honor. I’ve blogged about that time and the psychological and financial toll that took on my professional career, and I’ve also blogged about my insistence on governing my career with a specific map in mind, not necessarily one dictated by my colleagues or the profession, including a commitment to open access research and scholarship, revising Digital Humanities into Digital Pedagogy, and focusing on History of the Book in my literary field. I also wanted to avoid silo-ing myself on campus and thus took opportunities to serve on college and university-wide committees to get to know a wider swath of my campus’ faculty. In other words, my career has not been haphazard in its trajectory — and everything has been connected.

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What is (the value of) Digital Humanities (again, again, again, again…sigh)

Update 11/1/17:


Two things converged, well, three, no four. Oh hell — everything converged in the last 6-8 weeks. Some of it was real work. Some of it was exasperating returns to 2010.

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Going up for Full Professor & Shaking Off Tenure PTSD

In September 2010, I went up for tenure and promotion…and was denied by my department despite having stellar reviews each year for 5 years. The committee decision was split and caused some unending reverberations in the department among the faculty who were on the committee and those who were not. The decision was a complete surprise to me. As the year went on, all of the succeeding committees and administrators over-turned that department decision but decided to kick the promotion question back to the department (not wanting to get involved in department politics). I was awarded tenure, but not promotion (i.e., no raise) in May 2011. I called in our union. Many, many meetings ensued. Some lies were told by senior colleagues in the department as CYA. In a strategic move, two years later after the make-up of that department committee changed due to term limits, I went up for promotion to Associate Professor and was awarded that and a raise in May 2013.

Some wounds healed. But, snips and drabs of the conversation from the department decision in September 2010 dripped out. And there’s never a big university meeting where someone doesn’t come up to me to ask if my department has righted itself from the troubles of 2010 and 2011. (In 2011, that same department committee did the same thing to another department colleague who was unquestionably qualified for tenure and promotion.) I can’t be allowed to forget. Read more…

Commonplace Books: An Assignment

As we are approaching the runway for our final class sessions, I’m getting to see much of the work that my Digital Dickens students have been doing all semester. We’re working through our Omeka Exhibits on Bleak House now. It’s been utter joy to bring all the way into a variety of methodologies: History of the Book, Textual Scholarship, Bibliography, and Print Culture Studies. On the first day of class, I handed each of them a hardbound journal with blank pages (no lines) and invited them to commit at least 6 entries each week in the model of a commonplace book. They are just about to turn in the lab reports for this semester-long scholarly adventure. Before that, though, I got a look at the elaborate color-coding, pasted images, indexing (yes!), and pressed flowers that ended up between the pages. What they didn’t realize is that the Commonplace Book assignment prepared them to work in a digital environment — they were already using visual representations to articulate argument in their books! What follows are the instructions for the (reflective) Lab Report.

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Assignment: Digital Dickens & Reading by Candlelight

Learning Management Systems have come a long way since we first started using Moodle and Blackboard on our Campus — even further since our MOOC fiasco some years ago. Now, we have Canvas, which seems to be more robust even in its infrastructure. I use Canvas instead of a WordPress blog because it streamlines grading, and, more importantly, students use the running tally of their grades to see where they are at any point in the semester. There are still some bugs, though, with one annoying bug in general: I can only make public the syllabus for a course (e.g., Digital Dickens), not the assignments or discussion post prompts.

This means that cool or interesting assignment prompts that I’d like to share can’t be easily shared from the course website. Another step is required to open up the pedagogy. Because constructing assignments, prompts, and instructions is a skill in and of itself, it’s important to share our materials widely…and then provide acknowledgements if we borrow those materials.

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