2019 FAR Executive Summary

At Indiana University, the “FAR” is an acronym that stands for “Faculty Annual Report”–or “Faculty Activity Report,” I’ve never been quite sure. Either way, it is a fairly straightforward and familiar bureaucratic mechanism for keeping tabs and marking faculty labor and activities throughout the year.

Here is the executive summary of my FAR from calendar year 2019.

Introduction

In 2019, I doubled down on my interests in exploring digital distraction and co-hosted a symposium, “Mindfulness, Media, and Misinformation in the Digital Era,” with Dean Polly Boruff-Jones. Mike Caulfield of Washington State University-Vancouver delivered our keynote address and led a fantastic workshop on his “SIFT” technique for teaching digital literacy. I also made four research presentations; of these four, two were at national flagship conferences (LOEX and CCCC) and one was at an invitation-only gathering of scholars, non-profit leaders, and policy-makers at the independent think-tank RTI International in Research Triangle, NC. While building and then teaching a brand-new online graduate-level course for the systemwide collaborative MA in the spring, I also appeared on stage in the IU Kokomo production of West Side Story. Working with Dr. Erin Doss, I co-led six Table Talks events (one off-campus), wrote nearly a dozen letters of recommendation, observed three of my colleagues’ classes, and managed the writing program with its nearly twenty faculty. Starting on August 1, I assumed the role of President of Faculty Senate.

Below I have highlighted a few of my key accomplishments in three areas: teaching, research, and service. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of activities. I have only listed those achievements that I felt were significant enough to warrant inclusion in an Executive Summary. A comprehensive record of my annual activities can be found in the Digital Measures (i.e., FAR) report online. Second, these achievements are not listed in chronological order, but rather loosely in order of significance and merit. All items below were completed between January 1 and December 31, 2019.

Teaching

  • Over the summer of 2019, the “Mind over Chatter” team from IU Kokomo (VCAA Mark Canada, AVCAA Christina Downey, and Dean Polly Boruff-Jones) wrote and edited six Canvas modules for our grant-winning project sponsored by the Rita Allen Foundation’s Misinformation Solutions Forum. I wrote the bulk of module six and provided editing and feedback on the other five modules. The modules can be accessed at the following link: https://iu.instructure.com/courses/1848795. I also wrote and edited significant portions of the Mind over Chatter Teaching Manual (also located in the MoC Canvas site).
  • In August, I began overseeing the “Mind over Chatter” pilot sections of ENG-W with three instructors and three peer instructors. This grant-funded pilot project requires screening, interviewing, hiring, and training peer instructors to work as teaching assistants in a first-year writing class that integrates the MoC modules, as well as meeting regularly with the teams and developing and implementing assessment measures.
  • We continued our popular series Table Talks at IU Kokomo with five Table Talks events and a KEY trip to Bloomington, Indiana. Our theme for AY 2019-20 is “#Resistance,” and in 2019 we tackled the topics “Art as Resistance” in February, “The Limits of Science and Technology” in March, “Food Insecurity and Hunger in America” in September, “Losing Ground: Economic Insecurity in the 21st Century” in October, and “Digital Security: Truth and Lies in the Misinformation Age” in November. Each of these discussions featured faculty members from across campus who spoke to the issues at hand, while also engaging with students, answering questions and debating ideas. We served lunch to all who attended and enjoyed a healthy number of participants, with as many as sixty attendees at some events. In addition to the on-campus events, we received KEY funds to take Table Talks to Bloomington, where we learned about the slow food movement and ate lunch at Farm Bloomington, a restaurant focused on providing local food and environmental sustainability, among other topics and activities.
  • In 2019, I conducted and wrote three teaching observations for colleagues in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. I also wrote nine letters of recommendation for colleagues as well as current and former students (i.e., recent graduates from IU Kokomo).
  • In August, I taught for the fifth consecutive year in the KEY Summer Institute (formerly the Summer Bridge Program), a one-week academic orientation program that helps entering first-year college students become better acquainted with the rigors of college and college-level habits of mind. AVCAA Christina Downey and Academic Affairs have been keeping rigorous data on the retention rates and academic success of KSI students for several years now, and the data suggest that the KSI students have high rates of both retention and persistence towards degree.
  • I developed and taught one new course, which was a graduate-level, special topics course in rhetoric and composition studies (ENG-W 600: Special Topics in R/C) for the new collaborative MA in English degree. Based on my interests in mindfulness and misinformation, this course allowed me to develop a curriculum that traced the intersections between mindfulness, writing, and the technology of the word. I received several highly-positive, unsolicited remarks from students on this course. My course evaluations overall continue to be strongly positive—some are stellar. Please note that the course evaluations for both ENG-W 600 (Special Topics in Rhetoric and Composition) in the summer and ENG-L 495 (Senior Seminar in English) in the fall were not released because the reporting threshold for the course was not met. Finally, note also that only one student of fourteen possible responded to the course evaluations for ENG-W 500 in the spring.
  • In December, I presented at the CTLA’s 20/20 on Teaching and Research with Yan He on digital literacy strategies in the classroom.

Research

  • In September 2019, along with my co-organizer Dean Polly Boruff-Jones, I developed and hosted a well-attended symposium entitled, “Mindfulness, Media, and Misinformation in the Digital Era” at IU Kokomo. The one-day symposium drew scholars, librarians, and teachers from all over the US to talk about how mindfulness can be a useful pedagogical tool in the era of digital distraction and distortion. Mike Caulfield, who speaks routinely to national audiences on issues of misinformation and the media, was our keynote speaker and workshop leader.
  • In March of 2019, I traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to present a research poster at the flagship conference of my discipline, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, or “the four Cs,” as it is more commonly known. The poster, entitled “Revising Is Reading Is Performing: Metacognitive Reading Strategies in Writing-Centered Classrooms,” was the result of a joint research project with my colleague, Dr. Jill Parrott of Eastern Kentucky University. The poster was well-received throughout the course of the afternoon and we talked with at least a dozen curious scholars and teachers about our work.
  • In May, I traveled to LOEX in Minneapolis, Minnesota (May 2019). This is the largest conference in the field of library science and, as such, the proposal acceptance rate is highly competitive. Despite its enormous attendance, LOEX organizers keep the concurrent panels few and far between and there seems to be a general expectation that attendees show up for panels; the result is that a panel may end up (as we did) with well over one hundred people in attendance. Our presentation, “Combating Digital Polarization: Teaching Undergraduates Web Literacy Using ‘Four Moves and a Habit,’” was cited by the conference organizers to be the second-highest attended panel of this year’s LOEX. An essay version of our presentation was later published in the LOEX 2019 conference proceedings.
  • In February 2019, I traveled to Western Kentucky University to present “Cross-campus Collaboration Enhances Summer Bridge: The KEY Summer Institute” with AVCAA Christina Downey, Tracy Springer, and Dr. Beau Shine. This presentation took place at HIPs in the States, an annual conference on high-impact practices in higher education. In 2019, I also began serving on the conference review team for proposals.
  • In July, I traveled to the Research Triangle in North Carolina with VCAA Mark Canada to present a progress report on our work for “Mind over Chatter” to a gathering of scholars, CEOs, and policy-makers hosted by RTI International. Our panel spoke to the issue of communications technologies and trust in the digital era.

Service

  • In August of 2019, I began my first term as President of Faculty Senate. A few of our most significant projects from late 2019 include implementing the new Teaching Professor criteria, surveying faculty on service loads, and tackling the issue of declining summer enrollments. In my role as Faculty Senate President, I also serve as Chair of the Budgetary Affairs committee, which will report on their work so far this year at the Budget Hearings in mid-February 2020, and the Regional Faculty Council (RFC) and University Faculty Council (UFC).
  • I began my sixth year as Director of Writing at IU Kokomo. In 2019, I focused on the following tasks and strategic priorities: (1) further training and developing our adjunct faculty, which includes hosting our annual summer workshop on teaching, working one-on-one with adjunct faculty on their course syllabi and assignments, conducting classroom observations of teaching, researching best practices, distributing announcements, materials, and tutorials; (2) promoting ENG-W 221 and meeting frequently with faculty and advisors to help guide students into the right sections of the course; (3) working with Academic Affairs to develop a New Student Intake Survey form to try to identify students who may need ESL or basic writing help; (4) developing the “second edition” of our Writing Program Handbook for AY 2019-20 (with Prof. Kristen Snoddy), which includes a helpful “New Semester Checklist” document for all faculty who teach ENG-W 131/132/221, sample syllabi, assignments, handouts, worksheets, contact rosters, and other materials (in the Files tab at https://iu.instructure.com/courses/1418911) and also in IU Box at https://iu.app.box.com/folder/47024392359; (5) developing appropriate assessment measures to evaluate program-wide student learning, including an ongoing collaborative research project on information literacy assessment with Yan He in the library; and (6) participating in off-campus initiatives related to writing, including presenting at the national Conference on College Composition and Communication nearly every year.
  • For the second full year I continued my service as Reviews Editor of the online WAC/WID journal Across the Disciplines. In 2019, I oversaw the publication of five book reviews.
  • In late 2019, I served on a promotion and tenure committee/dossier review for Michael Koerner and his promotion to Associate Professor of Art and New Media.
  • Starting in late fall of 2018, I was appointed as co-chair of Joe Keener’s Administrative Review Committee. We completed our work on this committee in mid-February 2019, and received a written commendation (via email) from Prof. Bridget Whitmore, Chair of the Administrative Review Committee for Faculty Senate.

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