Teaching Thursday: Practicum Priorities

Once again, this semester I’m lucky enough to be allowed to teach a practicum in editing and publishing for my friends in the English Department. Since I’m not faculty in that department (and haven’t had an English class since high school, as this blog undoubtedly attests), it’s always a privilege to be able to teach there. 

This privilege comes at a bit of a cost, though, in that I need to plan something for the class, and this means establishing some priorities for students who will work on North Dakota Quarterly as well as some projects associated with The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota

This semester we have a range of projects and priorities that might appeal to the students who want to get some experience in both the editing and publishing aspects of “the industry.” Here’s what I proposed last semester. I think my priorities this semester are a bit more clear and well developed.

Some priorities are more pressing than others. 

1. NDQ 90.1/2. On March 1, NDQ 90.1/2 is due to our publisher. This means that we need to send essays, reviews, and poems to the copy editor. Collect the accepted fiction from the fiction editor. Identify cover art. And most importantly, put the issue in order. This latter step is as much of an art as a science and involves understanding which works we must publish in 90.1/2 (and which works can wait until 90.3/4) and how various works fit together to provide a well-considered experience for the reader.

2. NDQat90. This spring we also plan to start our celebrations of the 90th volume of NDQ. Last semester the practicum in editing and publishing prepared a manuscript for an innovative window into the Quarterly archive. This class produced reflections on a collection of 90 works from the last 90 issues of NDQ. This winter and spring our goal is to turn this into a digital and paper book that invites readers to return to the archive through a fresh set of eyes.

There are a couple of mid-range projects that need consistent attention.

3. The Blog. As part of our effort to increase readers, subscribers, and contributors to NDQ, we post weekly to the NDQ Blog. Usually after we publish an issue, we feature content from that issue on the blog. Now, for example, we’re featuring content from 89.3/4. This means that we need to identify content that might attract readers to the issue and reflects the kind of content that we want to encourage in NDQ submissions. This isn’t a lot of work, but is constant work. 

4. Prairie Voices. I had a crazy idea a few weeks ago to re-publish some early-20th century prairie poetry. I was motivated in part by reading Molly Rozum’s Grasslands Grown: Creating Place on the U.S. Northern Plains and Canadian Prairie (Nebraska 2021) and reading a bit of Clell Gannon’s poetry and, in particular, his Songs of the Bunch Grass Acres (1924) which entered the public domain this year. Maybe the students would be interested in republishing this book with some expanded content (say a biographic introduction and some critical commentary from someone versed in prairie poetry)?

5. Building Campus. This spring The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota will publish a book marking the renovation of Merrifield Hall. The book is almost complete, but will require a bit of copy editing, production, and marketing work. It would be fantastic to get the students involved in this book’s “end game,” in part because it emerged from another class that I taught for the English Department in the spring of 2022.

There are some longer-range projects that also would benefit from attention.

6. Tartar Utopia. Some time this semester, I should receive a manuscript that is the translation of Ismail Gaspıralı’s Darürrahat Müslümanlanı (Muslims of the Peaceful Country) by Ciğdem Pala Mull. It will include essays by a number of scholars exploring the potential of this text to invite new ways of utopian thinking some 100 years after its publication. You can read excerpts of it that appeared in NDQ 84.1/2 here. The plan is to desk review this book and then circulate it for peer review this spring.

7. The Archive. Last semester, we completed digitizing the back issues of NDQ and have made all but the last 5 years available in our archive. The issues live at both the HathiTrust and (gulp) WordPress. We certainly need to migrate all this content to our institutional repository. The downside of this is that our institutional repository does not allow us to link to a specific page within the PDF and because of various permission issues, we can’t separate out specific articles from their respective issues. We can do this with PDFs served via WordPress and HathiTrust. That said, we can at least separate out the issues from the scanned volumes in HathiTrust and upload those volumes to the NDQ pages in our institutional repository

This feels like a hectic semester for the practicum class and it is unlikely that all these things get completed, but it will give the students a sense for all the moving parts that involve editing and publishing even at a relatively small scale!

NDQ Year in Review

I would guess that most readers of this blog know that I’ve long ago abandoned any pretense of focusing on the archaeology of the Mediterranean world either professionally or in this space. In fact, most people would probably accept that I was rather hopeless as an Mediterranean archaeologists anyway!

In any event, I spend a good bit of time working with NDQ and with the help of my editors and editorial board producing two, double issues per year. To celebrate this other side of my professional life, here’s a review of the last year at NDQ. I know it’s not archaeology, but I hope you find something here that you can enjoy! 

 

As 2022 comes to an end, subscribers should be receiving issue 89.3/4 of North Dakota Quarterly even as we speak (weather permitting of course!). Wrapping up the year and another issue is a nice opportunity to take a look back before starting to pull together the first issue of volume 90.

This year was an exciting year for NDQ! Not only did we produce a pair of double issues packed with poetry, essays, fiction, and reviews, but we also published our first novel in almost 40 years!

If you’re looking for something to read in the New Year or a last minute holiday gift, do consider getting a copy of Jurij Koch’s The Cherry Tree. Translated by John Cox. It’s available as a free download or in paperback! Or, if you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, consider getting a subscription to the Quarterly!

If you’re looking for something to read in the meantime, here are some of the more popular posts to the NDQ blog from the past year:

NDQ publishes a lot of poetry and we tend to think this is a good thing (although we have such a backlog now, we’re pressing pause on poetry submissions this spring and will resume them in the fall!). Over the past twelve months, we’ve been very happy to see that some of our poetry really resonates with you as readers. Check out some of our most popular poetry posts: A Haiku by Uchimura Kaho offers a gentle meditation, Robert Fillman reminds us of winter’s past, and, for those of us struggling to weather the wintertime, there’s always the promise of summer: On Believing and the Poetry of John Poff.

We’ve also really enjoyed making some fantastic essays available to our readers. I loved Sarah Beck’s “Ymir’s Blood,” which was one of the most read essays on our blog this past year. We were also thrilled to see the popularity of Serrana Laure’s “Teach a Girl to Make a Fire.” Finally, we were thrilled to see the publication of Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land (Liveright 2022) and to celebrate this accomplishment, we published his compelling essay, “The Fracking of My Body” which originally appeared in NDQ 87.3/4

Of course, we haven’t neglected fiction! In addition to the publication of Jurij Koch’s novel, we also posted Tallia Deitsch’s haunting story “The Famous Patient” which offers a Gothic reflection on long-standing questions of identity and care.

You can also find more fiction in our special digital “pull out” on Literature in Translation. Check out “The Summer My Mother Had Green Eyes” by Tatiana Ţîbuleac and download the entire thing here.

Finally, NDQ would not be possible without the constant support and encouragement from the editorial board who juggle responsibilities with NDQ with their own teaching and writing. Hats off to our tireless poetry editor, Paul Worley, our non-fiction editor Shelia Liming (whose latest book Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time, is out next month!), our fiction editor, Gilad Elbom (whose latest book Textual Rivalries: Jesus, Midrash, and Kabbalah, appeared last year!), and our review editor, Sharon Carson, who not only offers a steady reservoir of advice and institutional knowledge about the Quarterly, but also contributes to the blog whenever she can. Our art editor Ryan Stander has made sure that we have enticing covers and engaging photo essays. No list of editors would be complete without mention of our contributing editor Gayatri Devi, who regularly produces some of the most popular contributions to NDQ both online and in print! Our copy editor, Andrea Herbst, has worked with NDQ for close to a decade and ensures that we produce as clean and error free text as possible. 

If this isn’t quite enough to keep you busy, remember that we expanded our archive this fall and you can now read every issue of NDQ from its first days in 1910 to 2017 for free on our website!

Happy Holidays and All the Best in the New Year!

Three Things Thursday: Flow, Sun Ra, and NDQ

I feel like I haven’t done a Three Things Thursday for a while and at this point of the semester, I feel like I’m doing all I can just to keep various balls in the air.

So here goes:

Thing the First

This week, my students in my introductory level World Civilizations class are working to revise the papers that they’ve been writing all semester. As they prepare to revise their latest drafts, I asked them to make a list of things to work on in their final draft. The top thing on their list was working on FLOW. 

I love the idea of flow especially when it refers to that state of semi-consciousness when things just seem to come easily. I see it used when describing musicians who are improvising and athletes who are immersed in a performance. But I don’t think that the students are referring to that. Instead, they see flow as something that they can inject into their writing. For many of these students, flow is something that exists at the level of the sentence or the paragraph and that smooths transitions between ideas, statements, and phrases. It makes a text easier to read.

It’s been interesting to try to convince them that flow isn’t something to be added at the end, like a sprinkling of salt or a garnish on a bowl of soup, but something that is inherent in how we organize our ideas. Flow comes from the synchronization of our ideas and arguments with the language that we use to express them.   

Thing the Second

The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota works closely with its authors to promote their work, but we also acknowledge that we don’t have a marketing budget, we don’t have resources to run the flag up at conference, and we don’t advertise much if at all. 

As a result, we work to amplify the efforts of our authors to promote their work. Here’s a great example of this.

You can can get a copy of Sun Ra Sundays here.

Thing the Third

As readers of this blog know, we’ve been working on the pulling together the North Dakota Quarterly archive. Building an archive is always a work in progress (it would seem) and we discovered that we missed a volume of the journal during our first round of scanning.

My student collaborators on this remain relentless and they scanned this volume to add to the collection of archived North Dakota Quarterly.

Here’s a link to a story by Michelle Disler (who is also contributing to the most recent volume of NDQ some 15 years on!).

NDQ 75 3 4 OCR pdf 2022 12 01 09 56 00

Cyber Monday from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota (feat. North Dakota Quarterly)

It’s Cyber Monday which, to my mind, isn’t really a thing. That said, we live in a world where quite a few things that aren’t things (e.g. the entire internet) seem to exist and go about their daily business. As a result, it seems wise to at least acknowledge Cyber Monday has a kind of existence even if its “thingness” should be qualified.

Once we get to the point of acknowledging its existence, it makes sense to celebrate it in some way. 

So, here’s the deal.

Below is a link, click the link and download the entire 2022 catalogue from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and a special gift from North Dakota Quarterly. It’s free. The books are good, and since I’m not charging anything, I feel like I’m doing my part to subvert the commercial non-thing energy of Cyber Monday and to replace it with something more joyful, more convivial, and more positive. 

CLICK HERE.

With that one click, you’ll get:

Rebecca J. Romsdahl, Mindful Wandering: Nature and Global Travel through the Eyes of a Farmgirl Scientist. 2021. From Bookshop.org.

Epoiesen 5 (2021). From Amazon.com.

Michael G. Michlovic and George R. Holley, Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend. 2022. From Bookshop.org.

Brian R. Urlacher, The Library of Chester Fritz. 2022. From Amazon.com.

Jurij Koch, The Cherry Tree. Translated by John. K. Cox. North Dakota Quarterly Supplement Series, Volume 2. 2022. From Amazon.com.

Rodger Coleman, Sun Ra Sundays. Edited by Sam Byrd. 2022. From Amazon.com.

And remember, if you really HAVE to buy a book in paper, proceeds from each sale helps The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota continue to publish more books and make them available for free! Likewise, consider subscribing to NDQ.

Excavate Our Newly Expanded Archive!

As North Dakota Quarterly lumbers toward its 90th volume, we have turned one eye toward our archive. In fact, our archive of back issues one of our greatest assets as a publication and whenever we approach a milestone, I like to direct some attention to the archive.

This fall, I’ve worked with a great group of students in an editing and publishing practicum. They’ve worked to digitize issues of NDQ published between 2007 and 2017. This involved removing the spines from select issues, separating the pages, running them through a high speed scanner, recombining the scanned text, and, finally, reviewing the scans for quality control purposes.

The result is a new, expanded, and almost complete archive, which you can check out here.

You’ll notice that most of the new additions to the archive come at the end of the fourth series, which ran until 2011 and the addition of the fifth series which continues to today. Issues published after 2018 are available from our publishing partner at the University of Nebraska Press.

Eagle-eyed readers will undoubtedly notice that we’re missing a few issues: 76.3/4 and 26.1 somehow slipped through the cracks in our system. But these readers will also notice that we now welcomed two previously absent issues into the archival fold: 24.1(pdf) and 57.2 (pdf). Issue 24.1 is particularly significant because it is the first issue published after NDQ’s hiatus during the Great Depression and World War II.

If you’re struggling to know where to start to engage with the archive, I’d nudge you toward one of our several collections (which we’ll update with links to more recent articles very soon):

North Dakota Quarterly and the Great War.

Hemingway in the Quarterly.

McGrath in the Quarterly.

The NDQ Reader: Volume 1.

So as the long, cold, blustery North Dakota winter approaches, I encourage anyone looking for something to read to delve into our archive

New Book Day: Jurij Koch’s The Cherry Tree (Translated by John K. Cox)

I’m very excited to announce the rare product of a crossing of the streams! North Dakota Quarterly and The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota have collaborated once again to publish the second volume in the NDQ supplement series: the first English translation of Jurij Koch’s novella The Cherry TreeYou can download the book here for free!

Advertisement: If you like it, consider buying a paperback copy of it. The proceeds from all sales go back into our efforts to publish interesting fiction, poetry, and essays both in North Dakota Quarterly and occasionally as stand alone books.

The Cherry Tree introduces the reader to a modern world that is only a thin veil covering a more magical past. In  Koch’s novella, Sieghart, an engineer, meets a beautiful woman and her mysterious family when he finds himself stranded in the countryside on a rainy night. This chance encounter draws Sieghart into an enchanted world laced with love, magic, and memory.

Cherry Tree Cover FINAL Single2

Jurij Koch is the most accomplished living Sorbian writer, and this short novel is the first major work of Sorbian literature to appear in English. The novel was originally published in East Germany in 1984. John K. Cox, Professor of History at NDSU translated the novel from German. He explains “This book is witness to the diversity and shared life of different ethnic groups in modern Germany and one of Germany’s best-kept secrets.”

Cox observes: “Koch’s light touch allows him to combine the environmental and the ethnographic, spirituality and modernization, and politics and pantheism, at the intersection of the Slavic and German worlds. The novella explores gendered approaches to the exploitation of coal and hydroelectric resources that endangered many Sorbian villages during the period of communism in East Germany.”

Koch’s style and story resists reducing complex situations into simple solutions and shows how the past, the present, the future are never fully distinct. The author reminds us: “Not everything in this world can be figured out.”

This novella is second volume in NDQ‘s modestly named “supplement” series. The first volume was Paul Worley’s translation of the experimental poetry workshop SnichimalVayuchil or Flowery Dream in bats’i k’op, or Tsotsil Maya which is available here.

The Cherry Tree is the first novel to be published by NDQ since Tom McGrath’s This Coffin Has No Handles which appeared in 1984, which is now also available as a free download.

NDQ has long straddled the line between academic and popular works. Cox’s translation of Koch’s The Cherry Tree is a great example of the kind of fertile ground that exists at this intersection. The novella is a serious work of literature deserving of critical appreciation, but also the kind of work that is accessible to a wider audience.

Like all publications from The Digital Press, the translation is available as a free, no strings attached, download. If you like it, though, we’d love for you to buy copy to support the continued effort of NDQ and The Digital Press to make more good books available in the future.

Three Things Thursday: Books, Quarterly, Books

I feel like this week has somehow gained momentum and now I feel like it is bearing down on me with a certain amount of fury. So this morning, I’ll offer a modest Three Things Thursday that focuses on my work as an editor and publisher.

Thing the First 

Last week, The Digital Press released its first novel, The Library of Chester Fritz by Brian R. Urlacher. Urlacher blends Chester Fritz’s early-20th century account of his travel to China with a story of Lovecraftian intrigue. Today, I posted a conversation that I had with Urlacher about the book, his background as an author, and his future plans for the world that he’s constructed. We also touched upon the influence of Urlacher’s training as a political scientist, the place of the book within the current trend toward “paranoid fiction,” and whether the book offers a subtle critique of contemporary capitalism.

Read the conversation here.  

Thing the Second

As readers of this blog know, October 1 is when the fall issue of North Dakota Quarterly goes off to its publishing partner at the University of Nebraska Press. This week, we published its table of contents and a brief editor’s note crediting the contributions of my practicum in editing and publishing.

I’m both happy with this volume and I feel more and more like I’m getting into a rhythm with publishing NDQ. This is the fifth volume to appear during my time as editor and I’m starting to reflect a bit on what I’ve learned so far doing this kind of work. Right now, I have three things in mind:

1. Expand the subscriber base. How do we get convert readers to subscribers? (And, if you think that reading an amazing collection of stories, essays, reviews, and poetry twice a year is great, perhaps you could subscribe?)

2. Ensure that NDQ has succession plan. I’m not particularly eager to step down as NDQ editor, but I want to make sure that when I do someone is ready to step into the position. A publisher friend observed recently that a journal is only as healthy as its editors and this nudged me once more to think about ensuring that the Quarterly has enthusiastic leadership after I’m done.

3. Special Issues, Novels, Translations, and the Archives. There is so much that we could do with NDQ from developing its “supplement” series (stay tuned) to trying to develop special sections and special issues to working hard to make our archive more accessible. It’s hard to develop a clear sense of priorities or even to discern whether “moving forward” is a useful metaphor for what we’re trying to do at the Quarterly.

Anyway, these are the things that I think about more and more as I get more weathering as editor. 

Check out the table of contents for issue 89.3/4 here.

Thing the Third

It is a pleasure to announce that Rebecca Romsdahl’s book Mindful Wandering: Nature and Global Travel through the Eyes of a Farmgirl Scientist has nominated for a North Dakota Library Association Notable Documents Prize. 

Apparently, this year there is some kind of popular vote component. This means, if you have a moment, it would be awesome if you could do and vote for it. It’s a great book, written in a distinctive voice, and offering insights sure to resonate globally and locally. Vote here. It only takes a second.

Teaching Thursday: NDQ Editor’s Note

In general, I try to keep what I do in the classroom and what I do as a researcher (and as a member of the university community more broadly) loosely divided. It ensures that teaching, service, and research retain an element of freshness and my days don’t get too bogged down in doing the same kind of thing over and over. For example, I don’t teach archaeology or do much with Late Roman Cyprus in the classroom. And I rarely allow my work at NDQ or The Digital Press to cross pollinate too fully with what I do as a researcher or in the classroom. I like to think of it as keeping a healthy set of boundaries and diversifying my portfolio.

This semester, though, I let this division slip a bit and I’m teaching a class in editing and publishing which focuses mainly on working with various aspects of North Dakota Quarterly. As part of that, I asked my students to help me craft an “editor’s note” that celebrated their contribution to NDQ. Here it is:

This semester I’ve had the good fortune of being joined by five undergraduates from the University of North Dakota’s English Department’s program in a practicum in editing and publishing. Nicholas Ramos, Aubrey Roemmich, Emily Shank, Elena Uhlenkamp, and Karissa Wehri have talked with me about the content in the issue, put the articles in order, and have happily helped me organize NDQ‘s new office on campus.

As they organized the issue they discussed the themes in the poetry, stories, and essays. They observed how much of work embodied the power of everyday experiences where commonplace settings of offices, shops, schools, and homes give rise to religious, spiritual and even magical encounters. Parenthood, relationships, chance encounters, a book store, and even a cup of coffee create occasions for something special to occur. 

In some ways, the work in this volume reflects the character of North Dakota. As Aubrey Roemmich noted: “Growing up a North Dakota native, I always thought that it was a boring place. It was not until I was much older that I started to appreciate its beauty and intrigue. Many of the poems in this issue perfectly capture the beauty that is inherent in these places.”

Three Things Thursday: Campus, Corinthia, and Conferences

This week has become more hectic than I would have wished, but mostly it’s hectic with good things. I’m looking forward to heading to Fargo tomorrow for the Northern Great Plains History Conference and pleased that some of the work that I put into cleaning up data from the Michigan State Excavations at Isthmia is almost far enough along to sustain some basic hypothesis building. These two things, and the changing face of my institutions campus will be the topic of today’s “three things Thursday.”

Thing the First

UND’s campus is really changing. Over the last three or four years, the university has implemented a new campus master plan, built a number of new buildings, created elevated walkways between existing buildings, and introduced new landscaping to the campus quad that turned several roads into pedestrian only zones.

For the last decade or so the old Medical School’s “Science Building” has housed my Department of History and American Indian Studies. This has been completely renovated with new conference rooms, offices, and classrooms. It’s pretty nice and while I liked my massive office carved out of lab space, my new office feels clean, compact, and contemporary.

It also has a glass door, which is a bit odd, and the hallway outside the office is access only through door controlled by key cards (at least outside normal building hours). The hallway also has a number of cameras. The bathroom has no doors.

I get that we live in a society where control, access, and surveillance have become synonymous with power. And I also understand that privacy is not a right, but a privilege reserved for those who can afford the necessary protocols, treatments, and tactics. And, finally, I get that control over the commons (and a public state university is a kind of commons) is necessary to avoid the abuse of its limited resources.

That said, I am still bit a put off by the level of control and surveillance that exists in our new building.

Thing the Second

I’m so, so, so close to having some of the Michigan State Excavations at Isthmia data ready for some preliminary analysis. In fact, when I’m done a few odds and ends this morning, I plan to work on some of the last bits of data this morning. As I reported last week, most of what I’m doing at this stage is recoding information originally recorded on paper inventory cards and keyed to notebook pages to more standardized formats appropriate for digital databases and keyed to stratigraphic unit (which, in turn, can be connected to particular pages in the notebooks).

While I have some long term goals with this project — including preparing the data for publication — but in the short-term, I want to be able to do some basic analysis of our assemblages that allow us to hypothesis build. For example, it will be possible to analyze the material from various parts of Isthmia as one might analyze a survey assemblage. We’ve been doing this some with the data from Polis where we’ve been able to consider both the presence or absence of certain forms of fine and utility wares across the site. For Isthmia, the plan might be to pull together all the material from, say, the East Field or the Roman Bath and use it as a window into what classes of artifact are present in the region at various times and perhaps even in what proportion to other contemporary artifacts.

Of course, this won’t be the last word in our analysis of the material from Isthmia, but it should offer the first word and an opportunity to understand the character of the Isthmia assemblage in a more systematic, if also more superficial, way.

Thing the Third

If you’re planning on going to the Northern Great Plains History Conference this week, do consider stopping by my panel tomorrow morning. I’ll be talking about the state of North Dakota Quarterly in session 34: The State of State Journals: Past, Present, and Future with editors of South Dakota History, North Dakota History, and Minnesota History.

You can download a copy of the conference program here.

You can read a copy of what I plan to say here.

Three Things Thursday: Data, Books, Teaching

This semester feels very odd to me. Not only did I start the semester a bit more tired than I expected to be, but I also didn’t have a clear set of goals and deadline ahead of me. After I submitted my revised book manuscript at the end of August, my fall semester seemed oddly under scheduled. It’s taken me a while to recognize that this is probably a good thing and more of a feature than a bug at this point in my career. 

This sense of being under-committed this fall has given me the space to work on a number of other projects in a less frantic way than I have in the past and today’s Three Things Thursday is about that.

Thing the First

Earlier this week, I posted about my work with the Isthmia data and my effort to corral and clean up various datasets produced by the Isthmia excavations over the past 50 odd years. My primary goal has been to work on Roman and Post-Roman material from the excavation and to focus particularly on Byzantine and Roman pottery. Earlier in the week I finished recoding the inventoried Roman and the Byzantine pottery so that it can be integrated with the stratigraphic data and context material from the site.

Then I moved on the the lamps from the site, figuring that most of the lamps found in the Ohio State and Michigan State excavations at Isthmia were Roman and later. Fortunately, Birgitta Wohl has just published a volume analyzing the lamps from these excavations, but her substantial catalogue identifies the lamps according to the inventory number and the area where they were found, but not their stratigraphic context or even trench. This is annoying, but perhaps not too unusual. 

More vexing is that I don’t have a table that includes all the lamps in Wohl’s catalogue. Instead, I have a partial table that I excavated from an Access database whose creator and purpose is unknown and I’ve spent about four or five hours now transforming Birgitta’s catalogue into data. This, of course, is both absurd and a completely normal part of archaeology as early-20th century practices and late-20th century digital tools continue to find opportunities for incompatibility. 

Thing the Second

This summer, I spent a good bit of time fretting about the number of projects I had wending their way through The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. In particular, I was worried about a collaboration that I had hatched with our sister project, North Dakota Quarterly. This project involved the publication of a translation of Jurij Koch’s novella, The Cherry Tree, which would be the second book in our emerging NDQ supplement series.

Cherry Tree Cover FINAL

Our current plan is to release this title on October 11th. In fact, we don’t even have a landin page for the book yet, but the translator convinced us to accelerate the timeline so he could take some copies with him to Croatia next week. Because my fall is under scheduled, we were able to make this happen and while the book has not officially dropped yet, you can, if you know where to look, find a copy from a major online retailer

Thing the Third

Finally, I continue to think about whether being under scheduled is a privilege or something that university faculty should aspire to, and this has started to impact how I teach. In some ways, the current “syllabus as contract” driven environment creates an expectation that the schedule on the syllabus represents an accurate summary of student work during a semester. Because faculty (and students) recognize that under representing the quantity of material creates problems with student expectations, we tend to over represent the amount of material (or at least represent the maximum amount of material) that we hope to cover in a semester. This tends to compound a sense among students (and even among faculty) of being over extended or scheduled “to the max.” 

This doesn’t feel very healthy to me.