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RJ Thompson

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Everything posted by RJ Thompson

  1. Hi everyone, I've initiated a series of book projects and am looking for some objective advice and constructive criticism – or otherwise, some sort of review or mentorship – that could also result in some request for contributing articles, interviews, and case studies. The book projects are framed academically and progress knowledge and research (my own and others) in the domain of municipal/community branding and storytelling. The composition of the books will largely be 50% logo inventory, 15% interviews, 15% articles, and 20% case studies – depending on the length of each book, of which there will be one for each state in the US, plus 2-3 after that would (respectively) collect all of the interviews, articles, and case studies together. I'm looking to do all of this over the next 5-year period. I am planning on self-publishing, have financing lined up, and am now in the content building phase. I do hope to have two additional books that collect all of the articles and interviews and case studies (respectively) published on a peer-review basis, as I don't think the 50 books I want to do will fit that mold. I welcome any advice, opinions, insights, or further conversations. Thanks!
  2. The closest I've gotten to this is NASAD telling our Art Department that Design should have it's own distinct BFA degree and track. I was once at a private school where there was a design 'school' and the two programs in it were graphic design and interior design. This worked well and balanced business, art, and other disciplines really nicely. I think a private school has the flexibility to do this versus a state institution. At a state institution, I've mostly seen art departments relying totally on design to maintain enrollment numbers, which creates resentments, etc. I had a peer once mention they wanted their design program to be in a business school – which I thought was a unique concept in that it would reinforce design entrepreneurship and professional practices.
  3. Here is my issue with reviews: They don't mean much of anything if your program has low-enrollment. Faculty could be incentivized to pass poor performing students to make sure their upper-level courses run. I know this is coming from a cynical place, but I've seen it happen. @Jessica Barness I think your model is smart and I really hope it works.
  4. I wish I could measure this. I honestly have no idea. Individuals in my department place different value in different deliverables. It's anyone's guess. On the university level, grants of any value are typically very highly regarded.
  5. Thanks for sharing these @Dan Wong. My website is basically just an updated portfolio. I haven't had the time or felt compelled to share my research in-depth online – so this serves as good inspiration.
  6. Please pardon my ignorance if this topic has already been explored on the forum. I'm interested in creating a topic area or discussion thread about mentorship that was inspired by external reviewers for people going through tenure and promotion. I feel like DI has done something like this before? At my university, external reviewers aren't necessary – which, in a sense, disincentivizes the need for mentors or even to an extent suppresses the necessity for networking. It's weird. SECAC has a mentorship program that is a nice feature of membership but not entirely effective, though I have been able to make some great connections out of it, they didn't entirely turn into mentorship roles [either me as mentee or as mentor.] For example, I sign up for the mentorship program every year but typically cannot be matched. I am aware of the diverse audience of SECAC. Does CAA offer something similar? As a result of the void, myself and a few colleagues maintain close contact and always share stories, resources, etc. - the problem is that for the most part, we are either newly tenured or junior faculty status, which in effect turns the group into a support group (Neil, Kelly, Rion, Shannon) without that strong mentorship component. Our close-connectedness also enhances our scholarship by creating partnerships, research and grant opps, etc. I'd like to know people's thoughts on what a quality mentorship looks like, what both the mentee and mentors are looking for out of the exchange, and how we can hopefully use this forum to identify folks that are interested in creating this type of engagement. Thanks
  7. In the YSU Department of Art, we have decided to completely eliminate this requirement from tenure and promotion consideration. While this benefits me, I was personally against the decision as I require objective feedback to improve myself. Not having it has done me a great disservice throughout the entire tenure and promotion process this year. IMHO it has enabled my colleagues to take less stock in my work, accomplishments, and impact.
  8. @Dan Wong FC is an amazing resource. Subscribe to the emails – the art offerings aren't diverse across a prolonged period of time -but- the key is to look in the other areas and see where art and design can be applied...which sometimes leads to really attractive proposals coming from out of left field. I've gotten many leads and a few small grants using FC as the original source.
  9. @Jessica Barness Design culture definitely isn't there yet. I'm hoping to change that. At the upcoming UCDA conference, the keynote speakers are going to be from the NEA!! Hopefully Trump won't kill the department beforehand. At any rate, bringing them in will hopefully help our peers identify that they are WANTED and APPRECIATED.
  10. @Maria Rogal thanks for sharing your process – it's a bit more divergent then what I've experienced at other institutions or discussed with other colleagues. You raise a great point about sharing materials with colleagues. There needs to be a PK-style of presentations, internally with faculties, that shares this information with everyone at one time and in one place. There might be some groaning, but what a great way to establish an opportunity for all to be involved, feel included, and hopefully collaborate. I might propose this to my new Chair and see where it goes.
  11. @Dan Wong I think the model you have at CityTech sounds great, challenges and all. At YSU, our program is 'Graphic + Interactive Design' – which, for the area/region we are in is a progressive title for a program, it ultimately falls short of the 'Interactive' side of things with only two required interactive courses out of approximately 16 classes required courses – the rest are print-based. As a result of this, I've had to incorporate more multidisciplinary projects into my interactive classes. So, outside of students learning how to code, they learn how to do video, some 3D modeling, experience design, animation, and more to help them establish some experiences in the more broader applications of interactive design. It also doesn't help that there is at least one year between Intro to Interactive Design and Intermediate Interactive Design, which makes retention seemingly non-existent.
  12. At YSU, it is as follows: 1. Go up for tenure with a committee comprised of all tenured faculty. Rank is irrelevant here. Tenure application is comprised of evidence contained ina 4-inch three-ring binder and a presentation to tenured faculty. 2. Find out the day of presentation whether there was a positive or negative vote on tenure. If positive vote, Chair documents the vote, writes letter of support, sends to Dean who then writes their own letter, then it goes to the Provost. Generally the tenure committee chair will provide information to the candidate to improve their evidence and ready it for promotion committees. 3. One month later, go up for Promotion. Promotion application is comprised of evidence contained ina 4-inch three-ring binder and a presentation to Associate Professor level faculty and above. 4. Find out the day of presentation whether there was a positive or negative vote on promotion. Vote results are then sent to Chair and Dean, who then compromise a College Promotion Committee, where candidate is then evaluated by Associate Professor level faculty and above across all the schools in the college. 5. Give a 10 minute presentation to College Promotion Committee. Sit through a 10-min Q&A with College Promotion Committee. 6. Regardless of vote, Dean has final say and can overturn both Department and College committees. Dean's final decision is then sent to Provost who then informs the faculty member via Memo. 7. If not promoted, but tenured, rinse and repeat steps 3-6 until promoted. A few follow up points: 1. Promotion in department is based on definitions on Governance document. Which change moderately every 2-3 years, so there are shifting expectations. 2. We do not have external reviewers at any part of the tenure and promotion process, though external letters of support are encouraged. 3. Impact factor and influence on the discipline are not very strongly influenced or assessed. 4. Peer-Review is HIGHLY if not the most significant aspect of evidence that is critically evaluated. Peer review focuses on presentations, papers, exhibitions, competitions, and grants. Professional work is considered only IF the applicant had to compete via a proposal or bidding process for the work that they did. My personal evaluation: this sounds similar to the process at other colleges, with the main variable being the people involved. The entire process for me this year has been completely awful and has taken most of the focus away from the classroom and other responsibilities – even to that of my family. Furthermore, the erratic transition of change in my department, college, and university's culture has made this process difficult not just for creative arts faculty, but faculty from all across the university. Consequently, many INCREDIBLE junior faculty educators are finding new employment either well in advance of their tenure application or shortly before. Lately, I've felt that the constant shift in culture [and politics] has made this process more difficult for junior faculty across the board and that ultimately it will have major consequences on the RECRUITMENT and RETENTION of high quality, highly motivated faculty. I have opinions about this relative to my situation, an am happy to share if requested - but would prefer to keep those converastions off-forum.
  13. Hi everyone! I try to write between 4-6 grants per year of varying budgets and purposes. Most of the grants I write directly enhance my scholarship, teaching, and service areas – either individually or sometimes all together. I enjoy the writing – I like to use words to create convincing arguments. It's fun. Recently, my university's office of research notified myself, my Chair, and my Dean that I'm the only person in my entire college (containing schools of art, music, communications, and theater) that I'm the only one doing grant writing. This was both inspiring and troubling for me to hear. Inspiring because my efforts are recognized. Troubling because no one else in my entire college is doing this. Consequently, I have a specific reputation for only going solo on grants and not including others...even despite when I ask others to participate, I get shot down. So, my first question is – why are so many people not pursuing grants? I was interviewed the other day by my university's marketing department for a booklet the put out called 'New Frontiers', which is all about research. One of the questions was "YSU faculty universally agree that the internal University Research Council (URC) grants are harder to win than a massive federal grant. Would you agree with this statement?" I do agree with it...and my agreement with it is punctuated with the fact that I was a recipient of one...which at this point in my career was after receiving other high-value grants. I determined that the URC grants, while specifically designed to kickstart research for junior faculty, are more likely to be awarded when the applicant has previous award experience – which is counter-intuitive and frustrating. Anyway....I've tried to create partnerships with grants between myself and peer educators in my Department. None are interested. So, consequently, I look outside of the university – to the local and regional community and to my community of design peers...where collaborating is immediately embraced. I've found that when people partner on grants – in some way or another, everyone wins. So this past year I've spent a lot of time cultivating conversations with peer educators inside and outside of the design discipline to see if there is potential for partnership development. I believe certain partnerships enrich the quality of a project and the respective research agendas of the partners involved. The geographic locations of all involved, I think pose a benefit as opposed to a loss or risk, especially if a project can occur online or be implemented in two different locations following similar or exact research protocols. I welcome your thoughts on how to develop quality partnerships with grant proposed projects. I'm hoping the forum will provide some opportunity to create those opportunities. Thanks RJ
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