Revise & Resubmit

September 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

“Revise and resubmit.” I recently received an email with these sweet words, and after gasping, “What!?!” I ran to my advisor’s office and exclaimed, “I got a revise and resubmit!”

Let me back up and explain the amazing world of academia in terms of the field of communication. Publications are the currency in “Research 1” universities (or schools where there is a major emphasis on research, and the professors teach two classes each semester with the understanding that they will be researching as well). How is this research guaranteed and how do we know the professors aren’t just spending more time at the pool and the golf course? It’s known as “publish or perish” in academia. If people want to keep their jobs as professors, earn tenure, and get promoted, it is expected and required that they will be publishing.

While some schools don’t expect research, and instead focus on teaching, and therefore don’t require research and publications, getting published is ultimately very good for any future job prospects.

So what does publishing entail?

  • Journals in the field publish research articles by scholars that are innovative, helping further research and/or are bringing new ideas to the field. The articles often range from 15-20 pages in length.
  • There are different “levels” of journals in the field of communication, with the “big hitters,” like Quarterly Journal of Speech, carrying much prestige and weight, followed by the regional journals, and then “the rest.”
  • A scholar can only submit an article to one journal at a time.
  • The journals then send the articles out to reviewers in a “double blind” process. This means that the reviewers don’t know who wrote the article, and the author doesn’t know who reviewed it. Reviewers are almost always professors in the field with their PhDs. The reviewing process can take up to six months.
  • After reviewing the article, the reviewers tell the editor if they would or would not recommend the article for publication in the specific journal.
  • The editor then tells the author that their manuscript was or was not recommended for publication. VERY RARELY is one told that the manuscript was accepted outright and nothing else is needed. Most of the time, the best one can hope for is a “revise and resubmit,” or “R&R.” If one gets an R&R, one can make the changes suggested by the reviewers and get “another chance” at publication. However, an “R&R” is not a guarantee of publication. After resubmitting, an author could be told one of three things:
    1. The revisions are great, but on second thought, the journal isn’t interested anymore in the manuscript.
    2. More revisions are necessary and then they will reconsider after an additional submission.
    3. Congrats! We’re going to publish your article!

So, as you can see from this long drawn out process, while a “revise and resubmit” doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed getting published, it does mean I am as close as I’ve ever been!

Hopefully, there’s more to come!

Oh, Baby!

August 19, 2012 § 4 Comments

Woo hoo! Steve and I are going to be parents, and it’s been announced in the most “official” and “public” way possible: Facebook. I’m 16 weeks preggers as of today, which is crazy because it feels like a lot of weeks, and it also feels like it’s barely begun. The main reason that Steve and I waited to make this announcement “public” for so long is because I wanted to be cautious about how the word got out in my academic social circles. I figured what better way to explain to friends and family who may not be informed about the “ways” of Research 1 universities (top level research institutions), and particularly that of communication departments, than through a blog post? So, here goes:

1. The academy (we’re talking R1 institutes, again, for the most part), has a monastic tradition to it, in which scholars are expected to devote their whole lives to research. As a result, Townsley and Broadfoot (2008) explain that “the university is simply not structured to accommodate dual career families,” but rather is structured so the one working at the university will be the sole income earner while the other partner may stay home and take care of more domestic duties (p. 137).

2. It is easy to see why this is a problem, and why it may be more difficult for women in the academy who decide to start a family and may also have a working spouse. In fact, studies have shown that women who have babies before they get tenure are more likely to take 5-7 years longer to earn tenure than men who have “early babies” in the academy, and are more likely to get divorced before they are 40 (Townsley & Broadfoot, 2008).

Based on these two aspects of R1 life, I was very careful to talk with my professors about my upcoming life change before announcing it on Facebook and letting the news get to them before I did. All of my professors have offered their congratulations, calling me “intrepid,” and reminding me to look after myself when I told them I plan on continuing my studies in the spring (even though my baby is due early Feb). The backlash has come more, however from my classmates. While most of them have congratulated me, a few have asked (in not as nice of a manner), “What were you thinking?” They say things like, “I’m assuming by the terrible timing that it was unplanned.” To which I say, “Nope. It was planned, and I’ll let you know what we were thinking: we are ready for a baby.”

It will be an interesting year, but I’m very excited for it. I’ve already been in contact with a group of women from across the country who had babies in graduate school and graduated on time and landed R1 jobs. We’ll all be meeting in November at the national conference to share our experiences and lend support to each other and others in the same boat.

Ultimately, what irks me the most about people’s negative reactions in the academy is that, despite how diverse and progressive the academy is, when it comes to issues like this, it is still downright sexist. If one of my male counterparts were to share that his wife were pregnant, most people would not even bat an eye. While there are many things we can control in this life, we still ultimately cannot control basic biology which dictates that women are the ones who carry the babies. If universities really want to encourage “diversity” and tolerance, maybe it’s time to realize that one of the voices they may have been and still are silencing is that of the mother in the academy. It is my passion for this disturbing reality that has landed me on a panel in the fall at our national conference that discusses how women are discriminated against due to visual signifiers (such as changing our names after marriage and having a “baby bump”) associated with life change that men simply do not really face. I am so excited to meet with the other women on the panel, and feel very, very fortunate to have their advice and encouragement.

It’s going to be quite an adventure, as I try to figure out how to manage my current course load and school demands with that of a baby. But I cannot tell you how excited we are to start decorating a baby’s room, picking a name, finding out the gender, and, ultimately, meeting the little one. :)

Olympic Letdowns

July 30, 2012 § 4 Comments

Many of you might already be aware that the Olympics coverage by NBC has been a source of controversy for many people, perhaps yourselves included. In fact, after one journalist complained about the network’s coverage of the events, his Twitter account suspended. Well, it’s my turn to join the conversation. Here are my main “beefs” with the Olympic coverage this year:

1. Tape delaying in the internet age. Let’s face it, NBC and other media outlets have to make a choice: tape delay and don’t show us the results every time we pull up our internet browsers during the day to surf the web OR don’t tape delay and let everything happen live. The problem right now is that we are not able to watch the events until primetime, yet if we log on to the websites of NBC, Yahoo, ESPN, etc., we don’t even get a “spoiler alert” warning, we’re just told the results. Oh, boy, now I can’t wait to watch tonight when I already know what happens. A bit anti-climatic.

Something that made me and Steve chuckle was CNN’s homepage article about this very issue, yet look at what the article below is about (don’t even get me started on why they may have chosen a picture of a female volleyball player diving toward the camera…). A bit ironic, eh?

 

2. Poor live coverage. NBC advertises that you can stream their coverage LIVE throughout the day on your mobile device or computer. What they don’t tell you is that you have to be a customer of a cable network. Why a basic cable channel (read: FREE if you have antennas) says you can only stream live if you have a cable subscription is outrageous. I remember streaming events live on my computer during the 2008 games, but it’s not possible this year, as we don’t have cable, but only internet. What a racket. It is such a tease to have NBC advertise on TV and online that I can watch it live, only to discover I cannot. However I can read about the results and then watch the events tape delayed that night…

3. The Phelps-Lochte controversy. The media is making way too much out of the Phelps-Lochte competition. Let’s just get it out now: Phelps didn’t train as hard for these Olympics, and frankly seems over it, and Lochte is not Phelps, so let’s move on. They are both doing phenomenally well, and a silver medal is still amazing. It means one is second in the WORLD.

Ok, I’m done for now. Enjoy watching the Olympics tonight, even if you already saw how the men’s gymnastics team and Lochte do.

A New Homepage for FM

June 20, 2012 § 5 Comments

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working in Facilities Management (FM) at the University of Utah this year as a communications specialist of sorts. It’s been an interesting year, as they initially explained my job was to “help them communicate better.” Nothing like the vaguest job description ever. I asked if they wanted internal or external communication help? They wanted both.

So, I got to work on trying to improve construction signage, perhaps using QR codes so that people can find out more information about the project. I ran into many walls, as there is no real process in place for construction signage, and trying to get it in place is nearly impossible.

Then, at the end of 2011, I was charged with forming a “Resource Team,” a team of staff who would meet twice a month to discuss ways to help FM communicate better. While the overall goal was still a bit vague, I actually had one concrete job: leading a Resource Team! In our initial meeting in January, it became clear that the website needed some updating, and would be a great place to start. We talked about the information on the site, audiences, organization, graphics, etc. We had two I.T. staff serving as website advisors, explaining to us the limitations of the website and the possible steps we could take to revamp it. After over 5 months of meetings, and two meetings with the directors, I’m excited to announce that the new homepage is LIVE!

Here is the former homepage (quite verbose. Click to enlarge):

And here is the NEW homepage (bigger graphics, fewer words. Click to visit site):

I’m extremely happy with the new, simpler homepage and the rotating graphics. And, as a Type A, list-maker, I’m excited to leave FM with something concrete I can say I helped accomplish.

For the Love of Salad

May 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

At work in Facilities Management this summer, I share a cubicle space with two other female students. I used to have my own office, but with the reorganizational changes, I got moved. I like both of my cube-mates, and we get along well, so it will be bittersweet to leave them at the end of June (bitter because I enjoy their company, sweet because it means “real” vacation has begun!).

Anyway, last week, I brought salad for lunch the three days I worked there. It was delicious: spinach, red peppers, avocado, quinoa, black beans, lite Italian dressing. At the end of the week, I had a funny thought. “These women think I love salads, and for all they know, I’ve always loved salads.” What is funny about this is that most people who know me from other areas of my life (CA, MN) would laugh if one of my cube-mates said I love salad. “Megan!?!?!” they’d say, “You must be thinking of someone else. The Megan I know wrote an essay in ninth grade about how much she dislikes salads!”

It’s been an interesting evolution. I hated salads. Detested them. In my essay I said I might as well eat grass. However, I came to a realization a couple years ago that I should probably try to like salad, as it’s a much easier way to get in my veggies. So, I made my New Year’s Resolution to choose and eat salad each time it was offered (“Soup or salad?” Salad.). When I ended that year and still didn’t like salads, I renewed my resolution for another year. Little did I know that this past fall, I’d discover I have a gluten intolerance, making my number one, favorite food group of bread off-limits. Good thing I’d learned to tolerate, and almost enjoy, salads.

Since then, salads have really grown on me. I no longer longingly look at the sandwich section of restaurant menus, but get pretty excited about the salad offerings. And, I’m learning to make different types of salads—fruit, veggie, quinoa. It’s pretty fun. Recently, one of my friends made a delicious summer salad (here is her post). I liked it a lot, and decided to make my own version of it, replacing the spinach with arugula (it was the green on hand), adding diced red peppers, and omitting the cilantro. It’s pretty good, and the garbanzo beans make it more filling, which is a plus. So, here’s to many more delicious salads. If you have any recipe suggestions, I’m open to them (preferably if the ingredients are easy to get and relatively affordable).

Recipe:

For the Salad:

1/2 C. cooked quinoa

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 avocados, diced

2 C. spinach, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 C. onion, chopped

2 small cloves garlic, diced

For the dressing:

juice of 2 lemons

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. dijon mustard
 (I used 1 tsp regular mustard)
2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. agave nectar (I used honey)

1/2 tsp. cumin chopped finely

dash of salt and pepper

Weekend Adventures

May 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

This past weekend, Steve and I were looking for something new to do, so we decided to check out the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, where a couple of our friends had gone in the fall. I enjoyed reading her blog about it, so I thought we might want to check it out ourselves.

It’s about forty minutes away, and a home to many migratory birds. The structures for shade and bird viewing are very unique, and Steve teased me for taking so many pictures of them. He brought his binoculars so he could look for birds, taking after his grandfather. Unfortunately, there weren’t many birds while we were there, but based on some of the educational displays, it seems like July and August might be a good time to return. There is a mile-long boardwalk riddled with facts about the birds that make the preserve their home during migration, benches, and a viewing tower. While there were many signs talking about the smell (which accompanies most marsh-like places), we didn’t experience any odors, and just enjoyed our time in the sun. When we return to visit, I’d like to go around sunset, when I’m sure the colors are more vibrant and the sun is less harsh. (We might need bug spray at that time of day, though.)

On Sunday, we planned to go on a hike to Ensign Peak with our neighbors, a hike that is behind the capitol building with a view of the valley. We’d been talking about taking the hike for a while, and we finally landed on a day. When we scheduled it, we hadn’t realized it was also the night of the solar eclipse. While the eclipse meant there were many more people on the hike and at the top of the peak (the hike is about 0.86 miles round trip, so it’s quite accessible), it also meant there were more people there to share their eclipse-viewing equipment with us. One group showed us how to view the eclipse through a CD (by looking through the words on the CD, which showed three eclipses). Another group was using binoculars and pointing them at cardboard to view. Some people had the actual made-for-viewing-eclipses sheets, while others had welding masks. Everyone was pretty excited about the eclipse and was ready to share their versions of viewing it. Besides seeing the different versions of the eclipse, we also got a great view of the city. It was a great ending to the weekend, and we could now add two new activities to our adventures in Utah.

Summer Project #1: Parts 2 & 3

May 6, 2012 § 8 Comments

Well, I found a couple more coupons (and Michael’s honors Joann’s coupons – which is SUPER helpful!), so I was able to finish my project today. Here is the final product. California is yellow for the “Golden State,” and the circle is in the Central Valley, where Steve grew up. Salt Lake City is marked on Utah, where we live right now, and it’s red/orange for the red rock. Minnesota is blue for the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” and Central Minnesota is marked, where I grew up.

I’m really happy with the final product. It was pretty fun, and wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Utah was by far the easiest to “string,” as it doesn’t have any indentations or anything complicated :) Now they are resting on a shelf in our living room. I love being productive, and I especially love seeing the proof of my productivity. Hope you all had a good weekend, too!