Welcome to Doctor Tales!

Welcome! Doctor Tales is a new blog to help doctoral students succeed during and beyond their academic journeys.


Welcome! Doctor Tales is a new blog to help doctoral students succeed during and beyond their academic journeys. We are Dr. Bessie DiDomenica (PhD) and Dr. Patricia Mason (DBA), two doctors who took the journey. We earned our doctoral degrees in 2015 and offer our strategies for other doctoral candidates to succeed.

Three years on, we are still write and encourage adult learners to pursue their educational dreams.

2018 updates: Dr. Patti’s research on electronic health records implementation (EHR) is a hot topic in the world of healthcare! She is in demand as an expert in EHR in rural health clinics. This year, Dr. Patti received her Reiki Certified Master/Teacher certificate. She will write more on the value of relaxation for anyone pursuing their academic dream.

Dr. Bessie is exploring a writing business for scholars and adult learners. She will facilitate a panel discussion on mobile food markets at an urban farming conference, and is working on several book projects. Dr. Bessie is very excited about her plans to create a foundation to help older and special needs cats and dogs.

Dr. Patti and Dr. Bessie are also writing a book for  adult learners and graduate students. We’ll post more updates as things develop.

We truly embrace our new roles as scholar-practitioners, and encourage others to take their education beyond the classroom.

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Flavors of Summer: Food Daze in June

The summer season officially starts this week – June 21 is the Summer Solstice! I’m taking a break from my usual food policy blog this week. In celebration of the new season, here are some special food days for your dining pleasure. Enjoy!

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Habits of Non-Academic Creatives

The world of higher education is in distress. Today’s higher ed teaching professionals are around 50% contingent faculty (adjuncts, visiting associate professors, doctoral candidates). Other faculty violated a student’s privacy, as in the case of a U. of California at San Diego professor who reveal confidential academic information on a public forum.

Throw in the rising cost of undergraduate tuition causing a “sticker shock effect” that limits a family’s ability to pay for college. And the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse and misconduct on college campuses around the country. A college education doesn’t guarantee a job. Many high school graduates are entering trade and vocational programs (construction, computer technology, culinary arts, veterinary tech) for job security. Is academia an attractive employment option? Are there other alternatives? What is a Non-Academic Creative? Continue reading “Habits of Non-Academic Creatives”

How to Reboot Our Food System

Food is ubiquitous – it’s everywhere and invisible. We ignore it, indulge in it, waste it, eat it raw, cooked, organic or genetically modified. We take it for granted that there will always be food around. But we can’t forget about those without: the 84% of refugees living in developing countries, or the small farmers around the world. These are the farmers who grow crops for the global food system and barely have enough to eat. Many of these farmers don’t get the subsidies they need to survive – the result is an increase in suicides in farming communities from India to New Zealand and across the US. What is the future of food for small farmers? Are agricultural technologies the best solution? What are the smart food policies to feed 10 billion people by 2050? Can we create resilient agriculture for the future?

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Refresh: Distance Learning for Adults

Online learning (OLL) has changed the way students and teachers interaction. In OLL, students and instructors are in a classroom and interact in person. The instructor guides the learning process. In distance learning (DL) students and instructors are in different locations with no personal interactions. Student learning is individualized using videos, audio recordings, email, webinars and ebooks.

Distance learning evolved from online learning. DL is convenient, saves time, and gives adults another doorway to get back into school. Adult students can face technology and social challenges in DL. They need a certain skill level with the technology. But students may need a support system from their social systems (family, work, learning environment). What practices can reduce anxiety, frustration, fear of technology, and financial costs for adult students? How can schools improve the success rate of these students? 

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Food Trends For Thought

Food is exotic and delightful. Its tangible and intangible features give food its global appeal. Food is tangible when we touch, smell, hear, taste, and see it when we prepare a meal. Food is intangible in our buying habits, when we romanticize food, or even when we resist eating healthy foods. The food industry (retailers, big food companies, brick and mortar, on-line) understand these food qualities. They are tools to lure customers and drive profit. Yes, food trends are part of food policy. Food trends for 2018 include a mixed attraction for foodies, farmers, parents, nutritionists, researchers, gardeners and consumers.

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Why Should I Write for Free?

One of the mantras of the academic world is that if you want a tenured job, you need to publish your work. You can publish your research in scholarly journals, or write an academic book or chapter. It’s another way to pay your dues for that tenured job you desire. IF there is a job. And IF you’re not stuck in adjunct purgatory.

The lure of publication is like a carrot on a stick. For adjuncts, visiting associate professors and doctoral candidates, publication might get your toe in the tenured-track door. Tenured faculty may see it as job security. And BTW, all this writing for publication is free – you don’t get paid for your time. So let’s talk about writing for free. What’s the upside for academics? What’s the problem? Is freelancing the same as writing for free?

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Food Policy: $400,000 for Pet Food Banks

So far this year, over 235,000 people signed a petition to include pet food in SNAP benefits. The petition asks the USDA to expand its SNAP food policy to include pet food. In reality, it’s not likely that the online petition will make a difference. Why? Because the USDA identified pet food as a “nonfood item” not eligible for purchase under federal law. Food policies are hard to change and even harder to implement. Fortunately, there are pet food banks and pantries emerging to help people feed their pets.

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