Friday, September 30, 2016

Dealing with rejection

Sting. It still stings a bit, OK sometimes a LOT. Academic rejection. It's that paper you were sure was awesome, or a panel that had a zingy title and great speakers. I had no idea how much rejection would be part of the process.

How do I deal?
  1. Pity party. I take a day or two to feel sorry for myself, get mad at reviewers, or whatever else I need to feel. The key is to limit the time and amount of energy devoted to said pity party.
  2. Reread the reviews. After I have taken a bit of time to get over the initial sting, I hold my breath and really digest the reviews. That initial read is always clouded by the REJECTION. 
  3. Reread the manuscript. Yup, now I typically start to see what the reviewers see. 
  4. Decision time. The manuscript is not tied up anywhere. I research other potential outlets and develop a plan. I reframe the paper entirely, reach out to a co-author who could help add something to the work, or retire the poor dear. 
  5. Act. I try not to let too much dust settle. I want to get the work back into the pipeline. Revamp, rework and revise, and try again.
  6. Hope. After submission, I hope for the best, and begin work on the next project.
How do you deal?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week 4 Evaluations = Real-time Feedback

Student evaluations can be informative, but generally only help the next semester's students. Since I started teaching in 1999, I've used the "week 4" evaluation. I've used index cards and online survey tools like SurveyMonkey.

Week 4 Evaluations graphic

For index cards, I ask two questions. Students do not write their names on the cards. On one side, they report about something they've liked so far about class. On the other side, I ask them to suggest one thing they would like changed. I tease that I can't change things like our scheduled day to meet.

For the online survey, I typically program a whopping three questions: the same two from above and "Is there anything else you would like to add?" If I have access to a learning management system, I link it from there and ask students to log-in during class. If we're not in a computer lab, I use the announcement feature to force out the survey invitation. In an accelerated summer semester, you might employ this tactic at the end of week 2.

Brace yourselves for the results, but generally students like that you're even asking. I look for themes and try to make changes where possible. I also tell students that I'm making the changes based on their feedback. Who doesn't like to think they've made a difference? I have found that I can always implement something they have suggested.