Archive for academia

Somehow I missed this

My fine university has an O.R.G.A.S.M. lab. (It’s a clever acronym for Observations and Research in Gender and Sexuality Matters.) Its director and principal investigator, Cory Pedersen, is a really sharp person and a beloved professor and mentor. Here’s a short article published today describing research the lab did on inferences people make regarding body shape and sexual traits.

My sister Jenny’s new project

My sister Jenny has been busy. The Brooklyn College Cancer Center “has a mission to enhance the lives of cancer patients through research, education & community outreach with a focus on Brooklyn residents.” Here’s the Center’s Facebook page.

Sign up for the symposium here.

No ICE

Several former students of mine work (or have worked) for Vancouver-based Hootsuite. I’ve used Hootsuite Academy materials in my digital-marketing classes at Kwantlen. So I’m very glad the company has terminated its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I imagine social-media managers around the globe would have dropped the platform otherwise – and that some of my students might have abandoned ship as well.

Feedback

A theme in all my orientation classes is the primacy of feedback in communication: how you give it, how you receive it.

When you gratefully welcome feedback into your life from colleagues, you grow as a professional, because you learn. When you usefully provide feedback to your colleagues, they get better as professionals, because they learn.

That’s why defensiveness and unfriendliness are killers when it comes to the work of communication.

A short while ago a friend forwarded me a short memoir written by Phil Mott, a mutual friend from our university years four decades ago. It covers this theme:

My girlfriend encouraged me to write and set me up with the Prodigal Sun editor [Bob Basil], the entertainment section of the paper. He assigned me a rather harmless assignment of reviewing the movie American Gigolo.  I wrote the review and sat down with one of the editors to review the article. Bob was a kind-eyed soul with a talent for writing and an affection for the spirit of Jack Kerouac. His stories took him on wild trips riding rails and visiting the less fortunate of the world. He sat next to me with a red pen and wrote more in red than I had double-spaced typed. I was crestfallen. He wrecked me in ten minutes and crushed any dream that I ever had of writing anything but a to-do list ever again. He then looked up at me with a smile and told me “looks pretty good. I like it. You made some nice observations”.  His support was greatly appreciated and kept me from jumping out of a window. He passed the review on to the copy department, red marks and all, and, just like that, I was a writer.

In giving me permission to reprint this passage, Phil wrote, “I would love it if my addled brain remembrance is of some use. Take it as a grand compliment that your advice stuck with me all of these years. It helped me give feedback to my own college students.”

Summer Semester

I meet three groups of new students starting on Monday – a third-year class and two first-years. They are all online, “distant learning” endeavours. I’ve done a bunch of online courses in the past – it took me a couple of semesters before they were truly “robust” – so I am not climbing the learning curve the way some of my colleagues are.

That said, everything is nonetheless different for *all* of us, and in my interactions with my new students – as well as with my old colleagues – I am trying to focus on being extra-courteous to everyone.