3 Important steps to reconceiving your dissertation as a book

Early career academics and newly minted PhDs in the humanities and social sciences often want to turn their dissertation into a book. While this is a laudable goal, it is important to keep in mind that university presses seldom publish unrevised or lightly revised dissertations. Instead, they seek books that grow out of dissertation projects and are substantially more developed. Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz’s TAA webinar offered terrific advice about the big picture of moving from dissertation to book. TAA members can review her webinar for an overview of the whole process.

Where most writers get stuck, I’ve found in my work coaching academics for the past decade, is in the early stage of reconceiving their project. Taking the following three steps can help you shake off the familiar old conception of your work that you’ve lived with for years and chart a new map for a truly book-worthy project.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 28, 2020

Are you determined to succeed? At the end of the day, are you satisfied with your results? George Lorimer once said, “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” So what are you determined to do with your textbook and academic writing?

This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes discussion on the future of scholarly communication, how to get published, and an approach to teaching writing that works. It also includes ideas for experimenting and playing with data, looking at different aspects of the same problem, and funding research and innovation through open science efforts.

What all of these ideas, innovations, and results have in common is the determination of one or more individuals to bring an idea to fruition and share it with others. As you approach your writing projects this week, start each day with determination and end them with satisfaction. Happy writing!

TAA announces 2020 Textbook Award winners

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Textbook pedagogy: Improving chapter summaries encourages collaborative learning

In my field, human anatomy and physiology (A&P), like many others, it is customary to end each textbook chapter with a concept review and self-testing exercises. For the first five editions of my Anatomy & Physiology—The Unity of Form and Function, I titled my end-of-chapter feature “Chapter Review” and its first section, “Review of Key Concepts.” I followed the traditional practice of summarizing the chapter in short declarative sentences like these:

  • Microvilli are short surface extensions of the plasma membrane that increase a cell’s surface area. They are especially well developed on absorptive cells, as in the kidney and small intestine. On some cells, they play a sensory role.
  • Parathyroid hormone is secreted by the parathyroid glands in response to hypocalcemia. It raises blood Ca2+ levels by indirectly stimulating osteoclasts, inhibiting osteoblasts, promoting calcitriol synthesis, and promoting Ca2+ conservation by the kidneys.

TAA’s 2020 Conference General Sessions Preview

Early registration is now open for TAA’s 33rd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in San Diego, CA this June! This event is always an incredible opportunity to network with authors from a variety of disciplines and to learn about the latest trends, best practices, and industry changes.

Textbook and academic authors have four 60-minute general track sessions and one 90-minute double session on alternative publishing options including online course materials, supplements, and working with small publishers to choose from in addition to the offerings in academic or textbook specific tracks in this year’s program. A complete overview of the General Track sessions is below.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 21, 2020

This week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a variety of topics important to academic authors and researchers. Many of these topics question our personal actions and beliefs as well as the effect of our actions on others with whom we interact.

We begin with personal issues of adapting core skills and the emotional cost of asking for something in academia. We then explore intercultural research, IRB regulations, the place of animals in academic life, and thanking anonymous reviewers. Finally, we close with some broader issues including research assessment reform, indigenous research methodologies, discrimination, and pure publish agreements.

As you research, write, and collaborate with others this week, pay close attention to your own belief systems and the interactions you have with others in your academic circle. What are you saying about your values in both action and written word? Happy writing!