Link between after-hours email expectations and emotional exhaustion

Have you ever emailed someone after working hours? Do you expect to get responded emails after working hours? Do you think that your expectations can cause stress for recipients?

At the 2016 Academy of Management annual meeting in Anaheim, California, on August 5-9, Dr. Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University, Dr. William Becker of Virginia Tech and Dr. Samantha A. Conroy of Colorado State University presented a study titled “Exhausted but Unable to Disconnect: The Impact of Email-related Organizational Expectations on Work-family Balance”, which was the first study showed that email-related expectations were a job stressor.

The authors conducted a survey of 385 participants from various industries and organizations. In the survey, main factors that authors wanted to measure included expectations of the company/organization, time spent of emails after hours, psychological separation from work during non-working hours, level of emotional exhaustion and perceptions of work-family balance.

In the digital age, accessibility to email gets easier than ever. The study showed that expectations of employers that emails are responded during non-work hours are the main reason that employees cannot separate from work both mentally and physically, resulting in a chronic stress and emotional exhaustion. Therefore, it can eventually affect the performance of employees. It is important to stress that it might not be the number of emails or the amount of time that employee spent on non-working hour emails, it might be the expectation to get those email responded during non-working hours. In fact, even when there are no emails, the norm of availability and the actual anticipation of work can still create the anticipatory stress. Work-life balance truly matters. Low satisfaction between work and personal life not only affects individual health and well-being, but also decreases job performance.

For managers, the study suggested organizational practices to protect employees in the long run by reducing pressure to reply emails after hours.

Read more at:,-study-finds.aspx

Open Access: PLOS ONE

I know that there are some open access journals in Agriculture and Food Sciences, however, surprisingly, with a simple search more than 30 journals appear. I choose  PLOS ONE as our group is planning to publish an analytical method paper in this peer-review open access scientific journal. This journal is an international community of researchers of multidisciplinary from Nobel laureates to early career scientists within science and medicine. It is currently the world’s largest journal in terms of number of paper published.

PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) since 2006 with an international Editorial Board. It is run under a pay-to-publish model (US $1495 per manuscript). All submissions go through a peer-review process, which focuses on technical rather than subjective concerns.

PLOS ONE publishes reports of original research for all disciplines of science and medicine, which facilitates new connections between research either within or between disciplines. In particular, scope of PLOS ONE includes:

– Systematic reviews

– Submission describing methods, software, databases, or other tools

– Qualitative research

– Studies reporting negative results

Here are criteria for publications:

  1. The report reflects results of primary scientific research.
  2. The study has not been published elsewhere.
  3. Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are used with a high technical standard and are explained in enough details.
  4. Conclusions are based on the data.
  5. The study is presented in an intelligible way and is written in standard English.
  6. The study meets all ethical standards for experimentation and research integrity.

PLOS has the Creative Common Attribution (CC BY) license, which is developed to ease open access, for all the published articles. It means that authors of all published articles agree that their publications are free immediately access and available for reuse without permission or fees as long as the authors and original sources are properly cited. Therefore, knowledge for PLOS can be shared and used without barrier for the needs of research.


Association between sociological variables and uses of Social Media

In the last decade, the growth of Social Media is one of the most remarkable phenomena in the history of Information and Communication Technologies. Social Media provide professional and academic networking services such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate, tools to write and discuss such as Blog, tools to archive, retrieve, and distribute materials for lectures such as YouTube and SlideShare, and tools for social network such as Twitter and Facebook.

Higher educators adopt Social Media as an educational tool to social network, to share, and promote discussion. Besides a teaching assistant tool, Social Media are also used for personal usage and professional purposes. Studies showed that globally, scholars are using Social Media mainly for personal and professional purposes rather than teaching tools. Studies showed that even majority of faculty have a positive feedback about using Social Media as a teaching tool, only minority of them were using or planning to use these.

There are several factors, which may influence the adoption and application of Social Media, including prior experience, gender, age, scientific discipline, academic title, and years of teaching. Age is an important factor, younger faculty (under age 35) tend to use Social Media in their teaching, personal, and professional purposes at a much higher rate than older faculty do. Junior faculty are likely to use Social Media in their personal life more than senior faculty, which makes them more familiar to these tools. Furthermore, junior faculty also have more motivations to develop their professional networks and they might benefit more from social network sites than senior faculty. However, the results from seniority showed a different picture. Faculty with higher numbers of years of teaching are generally using Social Media more than junior faculty. Possible explanations include (1) experienced teaching scholars might have more confidence to try new teaching approaches and (2) they have already had a good professional position, they have less pressure on research and have more time to invest in new teaching methods. Academic title also influences the usage of Social Media. Full professors in their position and consequently their reputation, are using professional social networks such as LinkedIn more than their colleagues. Meanwhile, assistant professors are more involved in Social Media such as Blog, YouTube, Facebook, and Podcast for different purposes than other colleagues. Besides, disciplines also affect the adoption of Social Media due to their difference in the availability of relevant content on Social Media sites. In fact, faculty in the humanities and arts, professions and applied sciences, and the social sciences use Social Media more than those in natural sciences. Faculty of humanities and arts have the highest percentage of using Social Media, including Twitter, Facebook, Podcast, Blog, and YouTube for all purposes. In the meanwhile, faculty of Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Professions and Applied Sciences tend to use professional tools such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate. Compared to seniority or discipline, gender has a minor influence to the usage of Social Media. Compared to females, males are much more active Twitter for personal, professional, and teaching purposes. Males also use LinkedIn and YouTube more frequently than females for personal purposes. However, females are more active users of ResearchGate, SlideShare, Podcast, and Youtube for all purposes.

Article avaluation

In the open access class, Dean Depauw mentioned that there was a common misunderstanding that articles from open access sources often link with low quality. I want to share with you my opinion about how we can evaluate a quality of an article more objectively. The impact factor of a journal is just one of many factors to be considered when you are evaluating a quality of an article. Ask yourself these following questions when you are reading the article:

  • Who are authors of the article?
  • What is the author’s affiliation?
  • Are these authors experts in the field of this article?
  • How many articles they have published? Have the articles they published been read/downloaded/cited?
  • How long have they researched the subject of this article? Although the number of years they have been working does not always correlate to the quality of their research, but it is still a good aspect to consider. You can also access to the authors’ website to know more about them and their research.
  • Was there a peer-review process for the article before it is published?
  • Did the authors clearly document information and cite the source?
  • Did the authors cite reliable sources?
  • Did the authors address multiple points of view about the subject in the article?
  • Did the author clearly describe their materials and methods?
  • Was the article conclusion based on reliable and logical results?
  • Were these results consistent with other studies? If they were different from other studies, did they discuss possible reasons?
  • Were there any assumptions in the article?
  • Did the article show any bias?
  • Who provided the financial support for the study? Did the results in the article affect the financial support agency?
  • Was the article free of spelling and/or grammatical mistakes? Although spelling and grammatical mistakes have been seen in reputable sources, concerns about the quality of the article should be placed if there are a lot of errors.
  • Have there been retractions or changes related to the content made by the authors?

If you have anything to add, please do.

Plagiarism prevention and education

Although plagiarism is a complex issue in many forms, everybody would agree with me about following points:

  1. Plagiarism is a serious misconduct
  2. In a digital age, plagiarism has become easier than ever and the fact is it is increasing at an alarming rate.
  3. Sometimes, plagiarism is unintentional and may come from lacking of understanding.
  4. There is a need for plagiarism prevention and education

As a teacher, there are ways to help students avoiding plagiarism.

One: Educate students about plagiarism

To avoid plagiarism, the first step is making sure that students are aware of plagiarism, what is and what is not plagiarism, why it is serious, and why we should pay attention. One indispensable part of each class syllabus is the code of conduct or the honor code. Most of the time, this part lists activities or behaviors, which are considered unethical. Plagiarism is always mentioned with varied length from one word to one paragraph with examples and detailed penalties. I rarely see a syllabus with encouragement for students to be responsible learners. I believe that educating and encouraging students doing the right things is a better way to avoiding plagiarism than providing penalties. Also, students should be taught how to look for information, take good notes about the content and the source, translate collected information using their own words, and cite the source in different circumstances. Teachers can guide students to available software or tools assisting the writing process such as how to search effectively, how to search in different databases, how to use citation managers such us EndNote, Zotero, or Mendeley. Importantly, teachers should create an environment encouraging students to talk to teachers about students’ questions and concerns regarding plagiarism. Furthermore, teachers can broaden the usage of plagiarism detection tools as learning tools. They can encourage students using Turnitin, for example, to clarify what is plagiarism and what is not, how to fix it, as well as how to avoid it.

Two: Make it hard to plagiarize

The assignment itself can be changed to resist plagiarism. When an assignment can be easily found online, it might increase the temptation to plagiarize. If the assignment is more specific and asks for creativity and reflection, it might reduce plagiarism chance. The downside of a specific assignment is it narrows students in a small space, they might not see the problem as a complete picture.

For a writing assignment, teachers might apply step-by-step assignments. It means that instead of submitting the final paper/proposals/literature review, students are required to submit ideas/topics first, then the outline, the first draft following that, and the final one. By doing it, it not only reduces the chance of plagiarism, but also helps teachers detecting plagiarism in the early stage to avoid it from happening.

It is essential to emphasize that it is not only about catching plagiarists. It is about how to build up honor and integrity to reduce plagiarism in schools and to produce better learners.

Does the faculty appointment type affect the faculty’s productivity?

Does the faculty appointment type affect the faculty’s productivity?

Before answering this question, both faculty appointment type and faculty’s productivity should be clarified.

Colleges, universities, and institutions are diversifying the academic appointment system. Different appointment types come with different hiring processes, responsibilities, promotion and rewards, and salary bands. For example, job responsibility of a tenure-track faculty includes research, teaching, and service; while a non-tenure track one tends to focus on one task, mainly teaching or research.

The faculty’s productivity can be influenced by the individual faculty member, the workplace environment, and the leadership of the department/college/university/institution. In terms of the individual faculty, there are several factors contribute to his/her productivity, including knowledge and skills in the area, commitment, motivation, engagement, and work habit. The workplace environment is very important to promote and maximize the faculty capacity and potential. It includes mentoring, sufficient resources, promotion and rewards, communication and network, and shared and positive culture. The leadership plays an essential role to create and maintain a conducive workplace environment. The leadership is shown by clear missions, goals, and expectations. A well-prepared faculty member working in a supportive environment which is created by effective leadership will result in the optimal productivity.

In my opinion, yes, I think the faculty appointment type does affect the faculty’s productivity.

What is yours?

Why tenure-track? What happened after getting denial?


This figure shows the decreased percentage of tenure-track faculty over the past 40 years.

Source: AAUP’s “Higher Education at the Crossroads: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2015–2016”

I recently read some interesting news related to our discussion about tenure track and want to share it with you.

The first question is why tenure track?

There are several benefits for you to consider from a tenure-track position. First, the job security from a tenure position gives you peace in mind. It sets you free from a lot of pressure so you are able to think and to create. Thinking or getting new ideas marks the starting point in your research career.  Also, the tenure position provides freedom to pursue research areas that you are interested in. It is especially important when your research direction is totally new or controversial. Furthermore, with tenure-track, you can do the right thing without being afraid. You are free to speak your mind even it is in opposition to the administration system. That makes universities a special place where decisions are made by experts in that field.

For universities, without tenure track system, it is hard to compete with industry to get the top scientists.

The second question is recent changes in tenure-track process?

The process of getting tenure-track varies widely among universities. However, many universities are making it more transparent by proving clear guideline and more mentoring. By doing it, the final decision of getting or not getting the tenure position is not a surprise. The advice is making sure you ask for details about the tenure-track process before accepting the job.

In additions, among research, teaching, and service, research has always been the top priority. Previously, when the research task is fulfilled, other tasks do not matter much. However, the significance of teaching and service are increasing.

The third question, effects after getting tenure denial?

There are down moments in academic life when your paper is rejected or your grant application is failed. A tenure denial seems to be the biggest disappointed one. The first obvious outcome is disturbing research work of undergrads, grads, or post-docs. Typically, after being denied, young professors are given one terminal year to wraps up all the work. They also have to find a new job, which might come along with relocation. The situation gets worse if the whole family has to move. For young professors themselves, they have to overcome the stigma of failure in academia and prepare themselves to start over.

At the same time, getting tenure denial might open up a new and even more rewarding job. It is just a moment in your life, you have to keep moving forward.

Please find the following links for interesting articles related to tenure-track on Chemical and Engineering news:

  1. Walking the tenure tightrope:
  2. Moving on after tenure denial:

Mission statements of one public research university and one private university in Vietnam

Mission statements of various universities/colleges across the U.S have been mentioned in the blog, I am choosing two Vietnamese universities. The first one is the Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU), which is one of two national universities as well as one of the two largest ones in Vietnam located in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The other one is Hong Bang International University (HBU), one of the leading private university in Vietnam located in Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest city in Vietnam.

Based on Carnegie classification of universities and colleges, VNU is a research university with very high research activity; while HBU is a baccalaureate College with the diverse field. Mission statements of these two universities can be found at and Since VNU is one of two national universities, its mission focuses on training future leaders, including educators, educational leaders, educational managers, and of course researchers. Therefore, higher education plays an especially important role in VNU system. VNU also highlights the significance of collaborations and partnerships with other universities and institutions across the country as well as the world to meet regional and international educational standards. The focus of HBU is training its students the thinking ability and application skills that current Vietnamese job market requires. Interestingly, HBU emphasizes to prepare students with “a pure soul, good moral”.