What is this business we’re in – the business of education? John Dewey once said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” For textbook and academic authors, I think we’d certainly agree. We live both to educate others and to continue our own education in our discipline. But how do we make education more than a tool or career and rather a lifestyle?
Early registration is now open for TAA’s 2021 Virtual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference! Our annual conference 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.
In addition, conference-goers have the opportunity to sign up for 15-minute sessions with experienced members who are serving as mentors in a dozen areas of interest. Mentor registration is now open. A preview of the topics and associated mentors is below.
There seems to be a growing trend in society – one that is quite heartwarming amidst other news – for people to use the gifts and rewards of their own lives to “pay it forward” for the success and advantage of others – even strangers. Perhaps you have been the recipient of one of these acts of kindness at a local drive-thru where the person in front of you paid for your order. Or maybe you have had someone in your life take extra time to encourage and teach you – selflessly helping you pursue your dreams and goals.
What are you planting today? As you research, write, teach, learn, and market your work, what is your long-term objective for future harvest? Is it a reputation? Position? Legacy?
In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we explore topics of ethics, the benefit of PhDs, resilience, self-improvement, self-promotion, and mentoring.
Og Mandino once said, “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”
Isabel Allende once said, “I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” In reflection on this quote, TAA member Caroline Eisner commented on our LinkedIn page, “Allende seems a strong proponent of the idea that writing needs to communicate something TO SOMEONE, a strong appeal to writing with audience awareness. As if, without that awareness, literature doesn’t exist? Just thinking out loud here.”
This week’s collection of articles addresses similar thought, with focus on what publications matter at what stages of your career; the idea that writing is more than technical skill, but rather a capacity to apply knowledge; and the ability to use our skills as examples to others through mentoring or models. As more colleges try classes without textbooks, discussed in our final article, it’s right to consider whether literature is an end in itself or just a way of communicating something.
As you write this week, consider your audience and your form of writing. Are they aligned and do they communicate the ideas you intend to share with those for whom they are intended? Happy writing!
What is a mentor? Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide”. As writers, much of our efforts are completed individually, and even when contributing to a larger body of work, the relationships are more often collaborative in nature than one of a mentoring type, but few successful authors have reached that level of success without the guidance of one or more who came before them and guided their efforts. We asked several TAA members about their experiences, either as a mentor or a mentee. Five of the responses received are below.
Peter Elbow once recommended that authors should try to write for non-evaluative audiences; they should experiment donating their writing as…
Felicia Moore Mensah, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is widely published…