The need to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) extends to the materials we use to teach students. For authors, it can be tempting to relegate DEI discussions to feature boxes or individual chapters in a textbook—“add-on” features that may unintentionally convey exceptionalism. DEI should be as much a part of a manuscript as proper sentence structure and organization; it should exist within and throughout the narrative and encompass how the reader experiences the text, including visuals and accessibility. It is our responsibility to accurately reflect our diverse world.
What a week! As we seemingly race to the end of the first month of a new year, most new academic terms are in full swing and this week in the US it has been a week of emotion and words for many. The week began with the celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and peaked at midday on Wednesday with the inauguration of the 46th president, Joe Biden. Through it all, one thing is certain – words matter, your voice as an academic author matter, your contribution to the education of our society matters.
It’s November! And for academic authors that means it’s time to write. Not that it isn’t always time to write but November, specifically, is Academic Writing Month or AcWriMo for short. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we have some advice and resources for rekindling or maintaining your writing practice into this month focused on academic writing.
Included in the list are ways to get back into a writing practice and some step-by-step persuasive writing techniques. Also included is how to handle email distractions and manage your social media efforts.
This year’s Open Access Week theme is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion”. According to Nick Shockey in his #OAWeek blog post announcing this year’s theme, “Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be consistently prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community discussions to the governance structures we use.”
With this in mind, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) is exploring the author’s role in building those priorities into our work – in both open access and traditional publishing environments.
If you’re like most academic authors I know, you have an abundance of ideas that either keep you up at night or wake you up early in the morning. Ray Bradbury once said, “I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” These ideas matter. Not all of them will become published manuscripts, but they all matter. They move you forward and it’s important that you get them out through your writing.
There will be periods of time when the ideas flow more readily and others where you may spend more time searching (or researching) for them, but wherever you are in that cycle, let them awaken you to the possibilities of what you have to contribute through your work. Happy writing!
I’ll never forget that encounter I had with Kathy a number of years ago. Kathy and I are friends now, but I’d never met her before that moment when she introduced herself at our annual anatomy and physiology (A&P) teaching conference. She asked if I had a moment to chat about how illustrations are chosen for textbooks. As you can imagine, I love talking about the process of creating textbooks, so we stepped aside for a quick chat.
It turns out that she was chatting up as many A&P textbook authors as she could, including a few other TAA members, with a question that stemmed from her interest in diversity issues. Kathy wanted to know about the illustration process because she wanted to know why women and other groups were underrepresented.