Brittain Fellows: Join the DevLab for 2013-2014 and Serve as Leaders in Digital Pedagogy

ThatCamp SE 2013 play session on eBooks and retrocomputing held in DevLab.
ThatCamp SE 2013 play session on eBooks and retrocomputing held in DevLab.

Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program’s Media and Communication Committee, also known as DevLab, is an important advisory and participatory committee focused on innovating digital pedagogy and supporting the digital pedagogy of Brittain Fellows, other WCP Committees, and the program in general.

For 2013-2014, I invite all Brittain Fellows to join the DevLab. As a member of the DevLab Committee, you will have opportunities to:

  • serve as programmatic leaders in recommending new digital pedagogy for the curriculum and classroom
  • explore, develop, and implement innovative approaches to digital pedagogy
  • support the digital pedagogy needs of Brittain Fellows
  • work with other committees in ways that support digital pedagogy
  • coordinate digital pedagogy training and recommend other training resources
  • maintain and promote the resources available in the DevLab, including the DevLab space in the Stephen C. Hall Building, collaborative workbench, our Mac and PC computer cluster, printers, tablets, cameras, recording equipment, X-Box System, and more)
  • use and help others use the DevLab in creative ways

All Brittain Fellows are encouraged to join the DevLab. Tech savvy and less-than-tech-savvy Britts are equally invited to join. In fact, the DevLab is a terrific opportunity to learn more about digital pedagogy and to share what you learn with others.

It is my goal as the chair of DevLab to provide all members with interesting and useful professional experiences. Together, we will define our goals and deliverables for the upcoming year.

The WCP will send around a Google Form soon about joining programmatic committees. Consider adding DevLab as one of your choices.

Feel free to contact me at jason.ellis at to let me know that you would like to join or to ask a question. Even for those Britts who decide not to join DevLab, I would like to encourage you to email me with your digital pedagogy ideas and your requests for training or equipment.

Path to Professionalization: Finding My Ratio of Publication to Service

This past Friday, Tammy Clewell hosted the second Job Placement Workshop for this school year. The topic for the workshop was how to build a kick ass curriculum vitae.

I have been working on my C.V. since I was an undergraduate at Georgia Tech and I began applying to graduate schools. Like the characters in The Guild, I thought of the C.V. as a record of my achievements and development as a professional scholar. I thought about what I needed to do to get the kind of research-1 position that I wanted after completing my PhD. I knew that I needed publications, which meant that I needed to do more reading, research, and writing. While at Liverpool, I began writing reviews for SFRA Review with this goal in mind. I considered reviewing a kind of intellectual exercise that would yield benefits in the more important refereed publications in journals and books. Also, reviewing would show search committees that I regularly kept up with the field by reading and seeing things that were on the cutting edge.

I also knew that I needed to do some conferencing, so I did a lot of that. I have prepared papers and participated on roundtable discussions at SFRA, ICFA, SLSA, and others. Again, writing essays to present at conferences improves your argumentation and keeps you knee deep in research. These are good things, and I duly noted on my C.V.

Since returning to academia in 2002, even before I had decided on my current career path, I began offering my labor and expertise in service positions. The most important of these landed on my C.V. in the proper place, but it was at the job placement workshop that I began to question how much time I had invested in service roles including those that didn’t make the C.V. cut.

One of the recommendations that I received at the workshop had to do with organizing the service category of my C.V., and in particular, one of the commenters said that I had done a lot of service. Additionally, I was warned against presenting myself as the kind of person who does all of the grunt work. By moving things around, I believe that I can streamline my C.V. in this regard, but this comment made me pause to think about how much work I have done for others at the cost of working on things that I really need to focus on right now: publications and dissertation.

What I come to realize is that there are some really important service things that I do want to pursue: namely, Vice President of the SFRA. I feel that I can do something good for the organization while also giving me the experience of helping run an international academic organization (so, please vote Ellis!).

There are other things that are rewarding, but they take a lot of time away from the writing that I need to focus on as I finish my PhD. I will have to transition out of these commitments in the future, so that I can devote that time to getting another publication sent out and more pages of my dissertation completed.

The lesson to take away from this is to remember to make a ratio of publications, conferencing, and service that fit your goals and personal development. It is okay to say ‘no’ if you don’t have the time to do something, but it is also okay to say ‘yes’ when you have the time to help. Service to others can be a rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging opportunity, but you have to make sure that you take care of yourself before committing to it.