Author Archives: memosmit

Journey to Publication

picture of Erik Robert Green

In February 2015, a new anthology, Expanding the Circle: Creating an Inclusive Environment in Higher Education for LGBTQ Students and Studies, was published by SUNY Press. Chapter 12, “LGBT Bullying in Schools: Can School Policies Affect Climate?” was authored by Erik Green, 5th year PhD Student. While Erik believes the content of the chapter is fairly interesting, the process by which it came to be published seemed even more interesting to share with the Department.

By Erik Green

My journey to publication actually started my very first quarter, back in Fall 2010, with a final paper for Rod Ogawa’s EDUC 235 (Intro Methods). Around the same time, a former acquaintance of mine was launching the LGBTQ Policy Journal at Harvard. He solicited me for an article, and I figured this would be a great opportunity. Rod agreed, and allowed me to tweak the final assignment slightly so that I could create a submission for the journal.

The paper itself was constructed within the context of a series of recent, high-profile LGBT teenage suicides (such as Tyler Clementi). (For reasons I assume to be privilege-based, the cases tended to focus primarily on gay men). The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has been tracking anti-LGBT violence in schools via their annual National School Climate Survey. In Rod’s class, I was considering the methods utilized by GLSEN, so it made sense to expand outward from there for my final project.

One aspect that intrigued me was that information was included regarding whether schools had comprehensive anti-bullying policies (that is, ones that explicitly include gender identity and sexuality as protected categories) or just a generic statement. There was a strong correlation between schools with comprehensive policies and aspects of a positive school environment, with relatively little improvement in school environment for schools with generic policies over those with no policy at all. However, there was no indication that any sort of research had been done to see if these relationships were causal. Which came first – did the positive environment tend to lead to comprehensive policies, or did implementing a policy have any direct affect on environment?

For my paper I created a framework to outline the question, then created a case for future research to address this hypothesis directly. For class, I included an addendum that explained how I, personally, would carry out that kind of research project, if I were to pursue it further.

It took ten months and some badgering for me to receive a reply about the submission. (It wasn’t picked up, but I take this as a sign that this wasn’t the right publication to be involved with anyway). In the intervening time, I decided against traveling to AERA, and instead went to a conference in March in San Francisco called “Expanding the Circle: Creating an Inclusive Environment in Higher Education for LGBTQ Students and Studies”. My work really sits outside the traditional fields of Education, and so I’ve always personally found it more useful to attend other conferences. The conference was interesting, if a little Student Affairs focused, and I was glad I attended – and it turns out there were some future opportunities to be presented as well.

In May, one of the organizers of the conference, John Hawley, solicited submissions for a new book he wanted to be put together. While I didn’t present at the conference, my article seemed to fit the theme perfectly, so I shook the dust off of it, did some editing, and sent it along in December 2011, not expecting much. To my surprise, John liked the article and wanted to include it.

John then started shopping around for a publisher. As is wont to happen in these situations, there’s a lot of down time where you don’t hear anything. In November of 2012, the manuscript was submitted to Johns Hopkins. Another year passed without any word – I figured the project was dead – until suddenly, in October of 2013, I got an email saying that State University of New York had picked up the manuscript and was publishing it. Contributor Release forms were sent and signed, bios were updated. A year later, the book was being printed, my advance copy arrived, and it’s now fully available electronically and in print. The book has also been getting some press, including a review in Inside Higher Ed.

So it is that four years later, a term paper metamorphosed into a sole authorship chapter in an anthology. What do I see as the morals from this story? First of all, never be afraid to work with a professor and create a final project that best fits your needs. In my experience, the professors are more than flexible when it comes to doing the writing that will be the most advantageous to you and your research. Next, always be on the lookout for publishing opportunities – you never know when they will present themselves. And on a related note, don’t be afraid to put your writing out there. A term paper from my first year may not exemplify the most brilliant writing I’ve ever done in my life, but I’m proud that it was published, and there’s something insanely gratifying about holding a book and getting to leaf to the Chapter with your name on it. And finally, never underestimate the “pipeline” effect. It may very well take 4-5 years before your writing finally finds a publication home, and it’s never too soon to start that process!


Kip’s Sabbatical: A Preliminary Report

By Kip Téllez

When The Plenary editors invited me to submit a post on what I’ve been doing on my sabbatical, I immediately said yes. Of course I wanted to contribute to this exciting new space for sharing our thoughts on “Pedagogy, Practice, and Policy” but self-doubt soon overcame me. I feared that my report would hold no one’s attention. Maybe I should write about something else, something more exciting. I thought about asking the editors if I could switch my topic, but I eventually decided that the exercise might help me to reflect, and that at least one of my activities would be interesting.

I have three primary tasks for my sabbatical, which roughly form my weekly schedule. The first is the writing of a book, the title of which is “The Teaching Instinct: Explorations Into What Makes Us Human.” The manuscript is about 80% finished, but I fear the last 20% will be the toughest, and I wish I could snap my fingers and have it done. Make no mistake, I like to write, but it’s intellectually challenging, difficult work. It’s also lonely, but there is no other way to write than to keep distractions (i.e., other people) at bay and live inside your mind, considering and reconsidering that idea, this phrase, that paragraph. Of course, I can share drafts and get feedback from colleagues, but in the end I have to put the words on the page. My sabbatical has given me the time to write, a time to be lonely and convince myself that the world needs another book. I still don’t know that it does, but it will get one nonetheless.

Task 2: I was selected to edit the journal Teacher Education Quarterly about a year ago. I’ve enjoyed it for the most part, and thanks to a new manuscript submission system, I can handle the work with about 8-14 hours per week. But I also find it emotionally challenging, primarily because I have to tell authors that their work will not be published. Only about 15-20% of all the manuscripts submitted make it into the journal, so the vast majority are rejected. A cadre of 412 reviewers rate the papers (2-3 reviewers per manuscript), but I am the one who has to make the final decision.

On the other hand, I also work  with the authors of the papers found worthy of publication. This part is pure joy, because, for academics, receiving news that your paper will be published can be quite emotional, a validation of one’s ideas and hard work. In addition, I get to help put the final touches on the paper, refining the writing and argumentation.

The third task for my sabbatical is substitute teaching, and I wish I had more time for it, but…see above. Why have I taken on this work? I’m not entirely sure myself, but I began my career as an elementary school teacher in a 5th grade class. I remember feeling so alive, and it was the students who inspired me. The majority of the students were native Spanish speakers, about five were recent immigrants from Vietnam; others represented various language backgrounds (e.g, Samoan, Egyptian Arabic). I recall my early teaching years each day I work in education. I have worked in hundreds of classrooms and with thousands of K12 students since, but those first years were the catalyzing and animating force behind all I do, and I developed a passion for education that remains with me still. But I’ve been a professor in higher education for many years, and although I’ve worked to develop many new programs and curricula for schools, I wondered to myself, “Could I still get the kids to line up for lunch?” “Did I still have the ‘eyes in the back of my head’ required to keep an elementary classroom humming?”

I am happy to report that the answer is yes, but teaching is never easy. In one classroom, a particular third grader named Jason, smelling of tobacco smoke, who kept his oversized jacket on all day and just could not stay focused on his assignment, gave me fits. And I freely admit to bribing each class with my guitar: if they stayed on task and were kind to each other, we would sing songs at the end of the day. I don’t know if substitute teaching has been a more valuable sabbatical exercise than writing a book, but it certainly isn’t as lonely.

Getting to Know Diana Duan, Visiting Scholar

at a Tibetan village near my hometown ChengduDiana Duan is a visiting scholar who comes to us from Suzhou University of Science and Technology in Jiangsu Province, China, where she is Professor of Interpretation and English. Her past research has focused on the teaching of interpreters, with an emphasis on pedagogy and short-term memory. She also works as a freelance interpreter. Diana’s stay here at UCSC is made possible through the Jiangsu Government Overseas Study Foundation, which has a competitive selection process, and is sponsored by the Chinese government.

Originally, Diana had intended to use her fellowship to study at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to continue her studies on interpretation research within the context of international relations. However, after meeting UCSC Professor June Gordon in July 2013 – during Dr. Gordon’s visit to various cities in China – Diana decided to take a broader look at the issue of education. She applied to be a visiting scholar at UCSC and arrived at our campus in September 2014.

Since arriving at UCSC, Diana has been busy finding opportunities for both intellectual and personal development. Her research interests have also branched out into several new areas: worldwide alternative education, international student presence, and Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Diana came to UCSC intending to develop a better understanding of the quintessential American curriculum, and feels that what she has actually discovered is that no such curriculum has existed. She sees CCSS as breaking away from the American tradition of curricular diversity, and understanding the outcomes of this transformation is an important part of her research. Diana notes that within the Education Department, she has especially enjoyed discussing the pros, cons, and context of Common Core State Standards with first year student, Heather Schlaman. (Heather is a first year PhD student who comes to us from Roseville Joint Union High School District, where she served as Assistant Principal.)

Not only has Diana networked with the UCSC community by attending a variety of seminars and lectures, she has also found social opportunities to interact with the UCSC community of scholars and friends by participating in activities sponsored by International Students, Inc. Through this program, she came into contact with a local artist who is currently giving Diana watercolor lessons, which has been a special highlight of her UCSC experience.

If you haven’t had the chance to meet Diana, do so soon! She will be heading back to Suzhou University at the end of winter quarter. You can contact Diana through her personal email address: dianaduan1@hotmail (dot) com.

Fun Facts about Diana

Favorite local food: Avocados (Avocados are available in Suzhou, but they’re expensive!)

Last movie watched: Interstellar

Something special about her city: Suzhou has a 2500-year-old history, and is called “Venice of the East” for its extensive canals.

Experimenting with watercolors in Santa Cruz:

my first serious watercolor painted under the guidance of my friendship partner 90-year-old Ms. Dorothy

Visiting the Badlands in Wyoming:

a snapshot at the Big Badlands in Wyming

Contributor: Mecaila Smith, Second Year PhD Student