Monthly Archives: April 2017

PFP: Jobs

For a while now, I have been hearing that full-time positions in academe have been slowly fading into part-time jobs, especially for the community college. I met a community college professor a few years back that told me not to go into the community college work force because of this impending issue. He was working part-time at two local community colleges because he could no get a full-time position. Of course, this issue is still of concern a few years after that conversation took place. The Chronicle of Higher Ed even posted a report with lots of graphs and info that suggested adjunct faculty were “dominating the work force” (Schmalz and Oh).

I would have no problem being an adjunct. It’s a “pay your dues” kind of reasoning in my mind, plus it opens up an opportunity to gain my teaching experience and experience multitasking. Adjuncts are a very important part of any English department, taking on loads of work because of the love of teaching.  Obviously though, I would eventually like to end up with a full-time, tenure-track position, like many graduate students who seek to stay in academia. A full-time teaching position means stability. It means that I can put roots in an area. It means that I can really immerse myself in the school and the community. That’s ultimately the goal. Is it attainable? Or is part-time, as Schmalz and Oh suggest, the way academia is heading? I’m not sure. I’ve been browsing the job market now even though I still have at least one more year of graduate school left, and I’m seeing plenty of tenure-track community college positions available. It’s just a matter of being willing to relocate—or at least, that’s what it appears. Here’s to hoping.

Works Cited

Schmalz, Julie and Soo Oh. “In Academe the Future is Part-Time.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 September

2014. Accessed 19 April 2017.

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PFP: Community

Community at a higher education institution is important. Bright-eyed high school juniors and seniors make an effort to visit their potential college campuses not just to see the campus itself, but to gage the sense of community, to see how they might fit in there, and to imagine how life would look for two or four years. It’s an important factor, not just to potential undergraduates, but to graduate students and faculty as well.

I didn’t very much enjoy my undergraduate experience for various reasons, one being that I was working too much to even think about being involved with events.  But I was walking around Virginia Tech’s campus just the other day thinking about how much more I’m enjoying my graduate school experience. Even though graduate school is stressful and difficult (as I think many students would agree), I know it’s exactly what I want to be doing right now. As I stated before, I am having a delightful experience, and I think that is largely due to the community that I have found within the English Department here and the community that Virginia Tech works very hard to foster on campus. I think this past weekend was a great example.

This past weekend at Virginia Tech was a commemoration of lives that were taken too soon exactly ten years ago. I wanted to write a blog that expressed how amazed I was at the sense of community that permeated Blacksburg Friday through Sunday. It isn’t just Virginia Tech. The community of Blacksburg showed its support for the institution in mighty ways by attending the events like the candle light vigil and the 3.2. for 32 memorial run. I was overwhelmed by the sense of solidarity that Virginia Tech and town of Blacksburg demonstrated this weekend, and this weekend is just one instance of how Virginia Tech seeks to unite its students.

I think that higher education institutions should do what they can to knit their communities together, to foster a connection and sense of home amongst their students. I also think that the institutions should be friendly and grateful to the towns in which they are located. Virginia Tech is a great example of an institution that does both of these things, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

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Week 13: Project Update

My project, all in all, is an effort to help fellow GTAs communicate the importance of academic integrity while also being informative to the undergraduates that we teach here at Virginia Tech. Throughout the course of the semester, as I have needed to go over the lessons in my own classes, I have compiled Google Slides that help me relay certain information to my students. Actually, I created my slideshow on the last main topic last night for the class that I taught today.

These main ideas are Plagiarism, MLA Format, and Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation. I hope that by creating slides on these topics, that I will help my students understand exactly what Virginia Tech defines as academic integrity, how to format papers in accordance with MLA format, and how to successfully and honestly incorporate sources into their research papers. I would also be overjoyed if these slides could benefit another GTA in any way, shape or form. Honestly, these topics aren’t the most fun to teach, nor do the students particularly like learning about them. However, it seemed that many of my students today didn’t know the difference between summary and paraphrase, which enabled them to actually learn from my presentation/activities today.

So far, I have created the initial Google Slides for my project. At this point, I need to compile them into one Google Slideshow and connect them together in some way. I also need to make a long Works Cited list, because although the project is in my own words, I have scoured the writing center cites for useful activities to include at the end of my short lectures, so the students can put the lesson into practice—I think this is extremely important. In addition to these things, I want to write a short 1-2 page explanation of my project in order to outline what I did and why I chose to include certain things or certain activities.

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PFP: One Thing That Should Change in Higher Ed

I know that I have some concrete answers to this question, but I’ve been wondering what to talk about in this post for a while. The topic that glows in my mind is then topic of cost for education. I think the cost of education for students in the United States should change. I think the playing field should be level for as many people as possible, and right now, this is far from the case— for many students of any financial or racial background. I believe that if students have obviously put in effort to the high school education, they should be rewarded with affordable higher education, if they so choose.

Today, students who choose to go to a four-year institution right away accumulate a massive amount of debt. I know people that graduated with $60,000 to $100,o00 in debt from undergraduate charges alone. For students that go to community college and transfer, I know people that habe fallen within the $25,000 to $50,000 in debt  mark. I don’t think this is right. Many students take on their own higher education bills, and this debt puts them at a disadvantage from the start. When students come out of undergrad with debt the size of a luxury car, if not more so, I think this is a problem, especially since students constantly hear from different directions that the undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma. This may or may not be true, but it does not take away from the fact that this belief is being perpetrated among today’s youth and that many students that graduate with a bachelor’s degree have trouble finding a related job.

In addition to the fact that this belief is being repeated over and over, and that students continue to get themselves into debt that it will take a decade, if not more, to get themselves out of, students are also realizing, as we graduate students have heard in class these past couple of weeks, that students around the world pay much, much less for their Bachelor’s degree than do students in the United States. Regardless of why this may be, American students can’t help but wonder “What?! That’s not fair.” Granted, there may be certain reasons that certain countries have a considerable difference in college tuition rates, one being a higher overall tax rate (an idea at which most Americans would balk). But this begs the question, is that truly all there is? Do other countries only have lower tuition rates because of higher taxes for every citizen? I’m not advocating for free higher education. Not by any means. Because as the old saying goes: “There’s no such  thing as a free lunch.” I only argue that higher education  (undergraduate and graduate work) should not keep students in debt for decades or the rest of their working lives. Higher education, especially undergraduate education, while not free, should be decently affordable so that those that seek to obtain this degree can do so without the cost being an issue for several years.

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PFP: Open Access Journals

Before I chose to focus on Nineteenth-Century Century Gender Studies as my open access journal after finding it on DOAJ,  I simply Googled “Open Access Journals for English Literature” and found an open access journal (English Language and Literature Studies that seemed very legit. They had a lot of information and seemed to be published by a credible company. However, I was offput by the fact that any scholar seeking to publish in the journal had to pay $300 dollars to do so if their selection were approved. While this may be a normal, permissible practice, I’d rather focus on a journal that did not charge their authors a fee for submission or publishing.

So I decided to go with the Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies open access journal. It’s on the list of open access journals on the Directory of Open Access journals, so it should be fairly trustworthy. Their website is very minimal. I believe journal is its own publisher, and it is published within the United States according to the DOAJ. However, their board of directors, editors, and advisors is huge. These positions are filled by various professors at a multitude of credible universities and the website includes bios of their founders, editors, and advisors so that their potential authors understand the credibility of those that will be reviewing their work.

The purpose of the journal is as follows:

Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies is a peer-reviewed, online journal committed to

publishing insightful and innovative scholarship on gender studies and nineteenth-century

British literature, art, and culture. The journal is a collaborative effort that brings

together scholars from a variety of universities to create a unique voice in the field. (NCGS)

The journal aims to consider gender and sexuality in a variety of context, and they publish three times a year. I like that they want to bring in a group of different voices to each issue.  The website is very welcoming to potential authors. It does not include  information on their stance on open access or their place within the movement. The website does state, “Users can use, reuse and build upon the material published in the journal but only for non-commercial purposes” (NCGS). Overall, I think the website could use some more information on the journal’s stance on open access.

Works Cited:

Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies. Edited by Stacey Floyd and Melissa Purdue. Accessed 3 April 2017.

Directory of Open Access Journals. “Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies.” link. Accessed 3 April 2017.

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Week 12: Ethics and Personal Ethos

Since I identify as a Christian, I aim to live according to the teachings of Christ and the codes of moral conduct that the Bible provides to Christians. So basically, if one of the Ten Commandments states that I should not lie, I try to live with that commandment in mind. That’s not saying that I never make mistakes and lie, but ultimately, I keep this code in mind, and it guides my conduct.

With this in mind, I was rather appalled by “The Ethcial Dilemma Raised by Gay Talese’s Latest Article.” While the fact that he knew that his friend witnessed someone strangling a woman is mind-blowing (it seems like most people would try to stop that from happening), the article does point out that once the motel owner knew that the woman actually was dead, the owner reported it to the police (Farhi). It’s hard to fault Talese for dishonesty since this situation was taken care of at some point.  However, had the owner not been spying on his customers and meddling with their personal possessions, I believe this woman’s death could have been avoided. The owner’s practice of spying on people’s personal sexual experiences is wholely unethical and illegal especially because they checked into a motel, trusting and paying for a private room. And Gay Talese actually took part in this action with his friend, not bothering to blow the whistle until thirty years after the fact. I think that is what bothers me the most. He sat on this information for thirty years.

Ultimately, I think this whole situation is disturbing, but after reading about Talese’s friendship with someone who did this type of thing, I think that it undermines his ethos as a person. If I think about it in terms of a politician—wouldn’t the comments about a politician being friends with someone who spied on customers having sex in spaces they believed were private be completely negative? Why is this? Because this is a questionable friendship. Because a politician shouldn’t take part in these types of activities, perhaps. Because we expect politicians to have upstanding moral and ethical character. Anything less than the standard ruins a politician’s ethos in the public’s eyes. I’m wondering if the standard should be any different for a journalist who is supposed to report the truth in a timely manner and expose injustice, no matter what form that injustice assumes? Because I believe that this should be the code of ethics for any human being—being truthful and standing up for those who are being wronged—I did not take too kindly to this article. However, not having journalism experience, I’m not aware of what their association might deem ethical or unethical. I’m only viewing this according to my own code.

Work Cited:

Farhi, Paul. “The Ethical Dilemma’s Raised by Gay Talese’s Latest Article.” The Washington Post, 8 April 2016, link. Accessed 3 April 2017.

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