Alt-Ac Career Toolkit: Blogging

Social media is not exactly at the top of the list for many scholars. Whether you’re an alt-ac professional or an academic, you need to share your ideas with the world. One thing I kept in mind as I wrote my dissertation: I didn’t want it to sit in a dark corner, beautifully bound, collecting dust, silent and quiet. I picked my food policy topic because it was  dynamic – our food system is broken and there are different ways to fix it. I’d like to  explore solutions and publish what I find. Blogging is one pathway I use to improve my alt-ac career.

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Big Data: Urban Agriculture’s Future?

One of the biggest challenges in studying urban agriculture is to figure out its long-term value. Urban agriculture (UBA) is evolving and filled with uncertainties, inequities and hidden problems. For example, some people think UBA is the solution to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. But others think that UBA favors politics (votes from wealthy communities) and economic growth (job creation in impoverished areas). How can we understand the risks and rewards of UBA? Is urban agriculture a viable food source for the future?

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Food Is A National Security Issue

One thing I really enjoyed about my topic on food policy was discovering the hidden side of food. For example, “natural” foods are not organic. “Natural” is a marketing tool to make people think they’re eating healthy. It’s a narrow word that doesn’t include how food is produced or processed. We also know that advertisers target sugary cereals to children watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. And advertisers market sugary drinks to children and teenagers. But did you know that food as a national security issue??

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Practice Your Craft Creatively

As you may know, Dr. Patti and I decided on an alt-ac (alternative academic career) life after earning our doctorates.  These careers include jobs outside of academia (research or administrative positions in the public or private sectors). For example, academic affairs (advising, admissions, recruitment), student affairs (career services, international services), research and developments (grant writing, fund-raising) and business affairs (president’s office, community affairs) fall into this group. But what if you want something else? What if you want to find creative scholarly projects? How do you find that career path?

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Obese With and Without Fast Food

Food swamps reflect the imbalance between fast food restaurants and healthy food choices. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog called Food Swamps: A New Urban Reality.  A study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity concluded that food swamps contribute to obesity in adult populations in low-income areas. Food swamps are a better predictor of obesity rates than food deserts or areas with little access to healthy and affordable food. But what happens when you shrink the number of fast food places in a neighborhood? How does that affect the obesity rate? Does food policy solve a problem or create new ones?

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Redux: Myths About Older Workers

* Note: This piece was originally posted by Dr. Patti Mason in 2016. Recently, I spoke to a colleague who is a talented and skilled health professional. She is an older worker looking for a job. She helps children learn about nutrition, give presentations at conferences, and receives awards from businesses and professional organizations. She would be an asset to any organization. But she’s struggling with doubt and self-esteem. I found a job and sent her the link – it looked like a good fit for her skills. The good news is that she applied and was interviewed last week! I am re-posting this blog to remind people that older workers have added value. It’s still hard to find good workers and age is just a number.
~~~ Dr. Bessie ~~~

Age is the most widely experienced myth in the workplace. Although older employees are more loyal, reliable, and committed compared to their younger colleagues, research suggests stereotypes still exist.

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80/20, Love, Hate: A Guide for Dissertation Success

This week’s blog is about advice from a seasoned academic advisor (SAA). I wondered how that advice compared to advice Dr. Patti and I share on this blog. While the dissertation process (SAA calls it dissertating) feels like a mystery, it isn’t. When you start the process or when you’re deep in the bowels of it, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what questions to ask, what ideas are important, what a good research project looks like. And that’s the real mystery: When do you know what you know? When does the light goes on and your thinking starts to flow? When do you feel like you’ve got this?

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