“It doesn’t hurt to have some self-knowledge about what works for you [and] what kind of environment works for you.” ~ Dr. Alea Henle, Head of Public Services Librarian, Western New Mexico University.
Welcome back to “Where Historians Work: The View from Early America!” This week Katy chats with Dr. Alea Henle, Head of Public Services Librarian at the J. Cloyd Miller Library at Western New Mexico University. The pair discuss the importance of “knowing your audience” as a historian and “self-knowledge” when it comes to thinking about next steps for a career. Continue reading
This week Framingham State University held its annual faculty professional development day (known on campus by its chronological moniker, January Day). As part of the day, I and a colleague in the English department put together a session on using social media in the classroom. What follows is an approximation of my half of the discussion, which focused on using blogs in a classroom setting. With the semester looming for almost everyone (though not, apparently, Rachel), it’s a good time to think about course syllabi, readings, and assignments. These sessions are aimed broadly at generating discussion among the faculty across disciplines about pedagogy, so I tried less to talk about how innovative I am (in some ways, not in others) but rather to provide a narrative of my experiences and raise a few questions.
One of the reasons I am so enthusiastic about being a member of The Junto is that I have long thought blogging provides an excellent opportunity for the development of academic writing. While the typical forms of academic writing are highly formal, blogging (and other forms of digital media) provide a semi-formal arena in which historians can discuss and develop their ideas, taking advantage of an extended virtual community whilst simultaneously providing some structure and order to their thoughts.
Of course, it’s scarcely original to ponder the virtues and values of digital media within the academy. Nor would I want to be prescriptive about what sorts of blogging work and don’t work. After all, even in our own field of early American history, we have a variety of examples of how to blog—from John Fea’s diary-keeping style, to Historiann’s more political content, to J.L. Bell’s treasure trove of research notes. Indeed, it’s the informality and immediacy of blogging that provide the greatest opportunities for enterprising historians. Continue reading