How to field those horrible questions about your academic project

Fielding questions about your academic projectWhether you’re writing your dissertation, or post-dissertation, sweating through the first article from it, or a book chapter, or an entire book, at least one person always turns up among your family or friends who shamelessly asks those questions that make you squirm. They’re right up there with the in-your-face “How come you’re still single?” or “When are you going to have kids?”

To help you field the equivalent questions about your academic project, maintain your self-respect, and even jab a little in return, here are several of the most common questions, and variations. I’ve collected these from my academic coaching clients who are agonizing through writing their dissertations, articles, and books. [Read more…]

Give your faculty authors a boost: Host a TAA sponsored writing workshop at your institution

During the 2017-18 academic year, TAA will help sponsor a limited number of faculty writing workshops at universities and colleges across the country. TAA’s sponsorship covers the majority of the cost of bringing a presenter to your institution. The host institution is responsible for a fee of $1,650, which includes up to 75 TAA faculty memberships, available to faculty whether or not they attend the workshop. TAA provides an online institutional membership application process that makes joining TAA easy for both the institution and faculty. [Read more…]

4 Higher education publishers team up to fight counterfeit textbooks

Stop Counterfeit TextbooksIn an effort to fight counterfeit textbooks, four higher education publishers, Cengage, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, have teamed up to create a website called Stop Counterfeit Textbooks.

The site includes information on how to avoid counterfeit textbooks, how to identify a counterfeit textbook, and what to do if your textbook is counterfeit. The website states: “Counterfeit textbooks are a substantial problem in the educational marketplace, burdening students with inferior products; exposing distributors to legal liability and unsaleable inventory; and depriving authors and publishers of the funds necessary to reinvest in new educational content.” [Read more…]

3 Novice textbook authors share lessons learned

Rick Mullins, Dave Dillon, Brent Blair, Laura Frost

(l to r) Rick Mullins, Dave Dillon, Brent Blair, Laura Frost

At a 2017 TAA conference session, entitled “So You Want to Write a Textbook? Lessons Learned and Advice Sought,” moderator Laura Frost, a veteran chemistry textbook author, interviews three novice writers, Brent Blair, Dave Dillon, and Rick Mullins.

Brent Blair is an Associate Professor of Biology at Xavier University in Cincinnati and is writing his first textbook, Environmental Science: Ecology and People, for Oxford University Press. Dave Dillon is counseling faculty and an Associate Professor at Grossmont College and is authoring the second edition of his textbook, Blueprint for Success in College. Rick Mullins is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Xavier University in Cincinnati and is writing his first textbook, Organic Chemistry: A Learner-Centered Approach, for Pearson Education. [Read more…]

Your life A.D. (after dissertation)

It always seems impossible until it's doneA motivational truism proclaims that the most dangerous time is when you’ve reached a goal. This is why many doctoral candidates experience Post-Parting Depression (PPD). Consciously and unconsciously you’ve been pushing hard for so very long. Preoccupied with the intensity and innumerable details of the work itself, you may have lost sight of the larger purpose of the dissertation and degree. After graduation, you no longer have to spend every moment you’re not eating or bathing on the dissertation.

In my dissertation coaching and editing practice, most clients I’ve helped graduate experience this void. For a year or usually more, they say, they’ve wished for nothing but to finish the durn thing. Now that they have . . . inexplicably they miss it—and get depressed. [Read more…]

Creative self-help for textbook authors

In her 2017 TAA Conference session, “Creative Self-Help for Textbook Authors”, Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook, shares practical advice and models a creative problem solving approach that you can customize to create your own useful tools for success in your textbook enterprise. Watch the full presentations on demand. [Read more…]

TAA Council passes resolution on textbook counterfeiting

Don't buy counterfeit textbooksThe TAA Council has passed a resolution on textbook counterfeiting that details a variety of actions the association will be taking to combat the issue, including educating the public about the problem, and broadening understanding of the negative ramifications of the use of counterfeit copies.

Counterfeit textbooks are “affecting the textbook marketplace and causing substantial losses of revenue for publishers and of royalties for authors and driving up the price of textbooks,” the resolution states. “Appropriate compensation for the work of textbook publishing is essential to ensure that both publishers and authors can continue to deliver excellent educational resources.” [Read more…]

How I’m using Milanote to write my PhD thesis

MilanoteA PhD thesis is a large piece of writing which compiles several years of research. As such, it needs a great amount of planning not only at the beginning but also during the writing process itself where thoughts might move to another section several times.

My PhD is in the field of nanophysic, exploring the possibility that single molecules could be used as the building blocks of new kinds of microprocessors. My work is based on numerical simulations that run on supercomputers where performance really matters, which could explain my obsession with finding the right tool for a given task. [Read more…]

3 Most important skills a textbook author needs to have

Sean W. Wakely, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide, shares the three most important skills a textbook author needs to have.

Listen to the full interview

Kick-off your summer writing with these posts from the blogosphere

summer writingWhen summer rolls around, it can seem almost impossible to get work done. With the beautiful weather, neighborhood barbeques, and days poolside, our desks begin to sound like one of the last places we would like to spend the day. But, believe it or not, summer can also bring new inspiration and a breath of fresh air for your writing. A new season brings new ideas and perspectives perfect for fighting off writer’s block and beating procrastination. Even as I am sitting out on my back porch writing this, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle each project that comes my way. Here I’ve shared posts that can help you tackle some projects of your own and stay on track this summer season. [Read more…]