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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Statistics for April

As of about 7:45am today (30 April) there has been a total of 1824 hits on this blog (as I didn't record that in February - the last time I provided statistics for this blog - I don't know how much of an increase that represents.

I can tell you that in the past month there were 103 unique visitors to this blog, that is 79 first time visitors and 24 returning visitors for an average of 3 per day.

It appears that my popular days or spikes in traffic were on 16 April, 17 April, and 24 April.

Some of the popular pages from this past month included:

The majority of the visitors came from the United States, with other visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Spain, New Zealand, and India.

That's all for this month...

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Getting Back to the Academy

I guess this would constitute this month's installment of links dealing with life in the Academy.


Job Hunting

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Bunch of Blogging Advice

Here are some pieces of advice about blogging that I have picked up over the past few weeks to pass along to all of you...

Advice to Bloggers

Rules for Blogging

Morals for Blogging

Using Blogging in Your Teaching

Blogging and Adoloscents

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My First Campus Visit

Well, Financial Rounds posted an entry three or four weeks back and I have kept it in my Bloglines because at about the same time he posted Updates From The Job Hunt, I got a call for my first campus visit. Inhis entry he details the day that he had at Unknown University and his impression of the process.

In my case, I went on a campus visit about two weeks ago now. It was really quite interesting. It was a small teaching-focused college, which is very different than the environment that I am currently in. Given the reality of being a small state teaching institution, the visit felt more like a courtship than an interview. I had been told me professors here at UGA that the interview process is a much them selling their institution as it is me selling myself. But I never did realize that this would be so apparent.

The faculty there were all fairly friendly and there were more than half that were quite friendly, making them seem like that would be great to have as colleagues. Even in a single day, there was evidence of a fair amount of collaboration among colleague on everything from teaching to program matters to scholarship to even West Wing viewership. I threw in the last one, because it further underscored for me that these people seemed to really enjoy working with each other.

The day consistent of a lot of interviews, but also a lot of downtime. I started the day with an interview with the Dean of the School of Education, followed by an interview with the Chair of the Department. Both of these interviews were a half hour in length. After a break of about a half hour, I had an hour long interview with the search committee. Then we went to lunch with about a half dozen of the faculty - a process that took about two hours: a half hour to round people up, fifteen minutes to actually get our food (we ate in the student center, whih was nice because it gave me more of a chance to feel out the institution and the students), and then about sevnty-five minutes to eat.

After lunch, I did a walking tour of the campus with the search committee chair. We hit the library, the fitness facility, stopped by and said hi to the grants person on campus, the administration buildings, and a general pointing out of most of the other buildings on campus. Earlier in the day I had seem most of the School of Education and the laboratory elementary school located at the college. It was a small, but growing campus.

This tour was on route to meeting one of the universities Vice Presidents, which I think (or at least have been told) is a function of the size of the school. This was an interesting interview, as it wasn't much of an interview. Having just returned from a conference, it was the type of conversation that you'd have with someone you met at a conference about what you wanted to do for the next five or ten years or you life.

After a short walk back to the School of Education, I had about an hour to wait before tecahing one of their undergraduate class. I taught for seventy-five minutes and then had another hour break before heading out to supper with three of the faculty members (two of whom were on the search committee).

The entire day was an interesting experience. I found that most of the prepared questions that I wanted answered by each of the individuals (i.e., Dean, Chair, VP, etc.) they had already answered during the course of the interview before I even got the chance to ask it. I'm not sure if they had done this so many times that they had a good chance to know what questions I was going to ask or if my questions were just that predictable. I also found that during the meal times, I was quieter than expected. I had been told that these unofficial times were when most of the "real" interview questions were asked, and was ready to be "on" my game. However, they interacted a lot with each other and there were multiple conversations going on at any one time. While I was always brought into one or another conversation, I was also able to stay kind of quiet and just sit back and watch. This really did allow me to see how these individuals interacted with each other and whether or not they seemed to enjoy each other. It also gave me an opportunity to hear a lot of things that were going on with the department, the school, and the institution - as well as pick up on some of the leisure things to do in the area that people around the table enjoyed.

Overall, it was a great experience and I am currently waiting to hear from them one way or another. I was told that they had roughly three dozen applicants, which they seemed please with. They didn't conduct telephone interviews, but brought two people to campus (they had invited a third, but that individual had already accepted a position somewhere else). The second candidate was to have visited two weeks ago, so I should be hearing something soon.

Tags: graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

To Conference Or Not To Conference

I'm just returning from AERA and I've noticed that my conference patterns have changed. I recall two years ago when I attended AERA in San Diego, I took the first day and a half there to see some of the city and then I basically went to as many sessions as possible at the conference until I had to head back to UGA. I had picked sessions from different SIGs, by different scholars that I wanted to see, etc. Before the conference and then filled in my time with suggestions from my colleagues or by session title. I was a session junkie.

Last year at AERA in Montreal, things changed. I was returning to a city that I was familiar with and had been to a number of times. One would think that I'd blow off more of the conference to see some old favourites - which did happen, but not to the extend that one would think and no more than I would at any other conference or conference city. But I didn't attend a lot of sessions. I did go to all of the sessions on virtual schooling and almost all of the sessions from the Rural Education SIG, a few by Memorial faculty, but that's about it. I didn't go to sessions that my colleagues recommended, I didn't go to sessions based on the titles in the program or the SIGs offering them, I simply didn't go to many sessions. And I didn't tourist that much either. I stayed in my room and did a fair amount of reading and writing actually. I can't recall what it was that I was preparing for, nothing bigger than an individual course paper for sure, but I did spend a lot of time working.

In San Francisco this year, I brought my wife to AERA. We spent the first day and a half doing the tourist things and then at least three hours every other day that we were here on our week-long trip. I didn't go to many sessions again, almost all of the virtual schooling ones (one is taking place while I'm in the airport) and almost all of the Rural Education SIG events, and then literally only one other session other than ones I was directly involved in.

Now I know part of this can be attributed to the fact that I wanted to spend time with my wife in what has been described to me as America's most romantic city. But I think part of it can also be attributed to a certain sophistication of my research ideas, without quite being there yet. For example, that first year of AERA I also attended e-Learn, SITE, Georgia and Southern Educational Technology Conferences, and the Illinois Online Conference. Whereas in the past twelve months, in addition to AERA, I have also attended an Advanced Placement Conference, AECT, the Virtual School Symposium, and QUIG. You can see a little more focus there, a little more selectivity, but I'm still not at the point where I am comfortable enough with my own research area to go and play in other spaces and learn a little about other related and even unreleated fields - which is probably why the sessions that I have gone to these past two years at AERA have stayed very close to home for me and my research interests.

In any regard, what is has meant is that I have seen less and less of the conference and more and more of the city and surrounding areas. Not a bad trade-off, if there was one that I had to make.

Tags: AERA 2006, , graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Monday, April 10, 2006

Discussing AERA

Well, yesterday I had a conference experience that I have never had before - I was a discussant at AERA. It was actually the first time that I was a discussant at any conference. I joked during the session, that when I found out that I was going to be a discussant, a friend at UGA asked if I was going to be a nice discussant or a mean discussant. Unfortunately I knew exactly what she was talking about when she referred to the mean discussant.

In any regard, it was an interesting experience. The five papers that I had to discuss were all interesting, which made it easier to read and then discuss them.

During the session I tried to tie the five papers together thematically - and I also tried to bring in an article on the topic and the from other AEARA sessions that I had attended earlier in the conference - and then mentioned the one or two things about each paper that jumed out at me while I was reading it (trying to focus upon things from the paper than may not have been in, or a focus of the presentation) and provided then with a suggestion for next steps or what I would be interested in hearing their further ideas on.

My discussion was well received, with two people from the audience asking me to e-mail my summary of the session to them and two of the paper presenters asking for a written copy of my notes on their paper. So overall I was pleased and it is an experience that I would do again.

Tags: AERA 2006, , graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My Blog Owns Me

I got this from Playing School, Irreverently in her entry about a fifth. eh. ok. And since I have more than one blog and all of them factored into the responses for this quiz, I figured it should be posted to all of them.

25 %

My weblog owns 25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?