Alt-Ac Careers and Closing the Door

I found an interesting read this week on alternative careers for doctoral students. The topic was “career-diversity” in higher education, a process to teach PhD students about alternative career tracks. As we know, there are not enough tenure-track positions for today’s doctoral students. I’ve written several blogs on the topic of alternative careers for non-academic creatives.

With 67,449 PhD graduates (2014 figures), it’s unrealistic to think that higher education will provide tenured jobs for all these people. Tenure-track jobs have no mandatory retirement age – the situation has not changed since the 1980s. Why is this suddenly a problem? What are the career choices for graduates outside of academia?

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Food Rights for All: Rhetoric or Reality?

Food is basic for all life on earth. Several documents based on the Charter of the United Nations recognize food as a human right: Convention on the Rights of the Child (in Articles 24 & 27), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25), International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11), and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (Article 11). Global hunger has declined over the last 25 years. But malnutrition (undernourished, hunger, overweight, obesity) affects one in three people worldwide. More than 815 million people are hungry each day.

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Catch-22: SNAP Users and Farmers’ Markets Scrambling For Solutions

In 2017, over 40 million Americans relied on SNAP benefits each month. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a resource for low-income people to access fresh foods. In addition, there are 7,000 farmers’ markets in the US. Around 1,700 farmers’ markets and farmers accept SNAP and EBT (electronic benefit transfer) benefits. Only one company Novo Dia is in the primary service provide for SNAP technology. But now, the USDA canceled its contract with the service provider. How will low-income people access healthy food without SNAP? What about the food vendors who depend on SNAP as a key income stream? What’s the backup plan?

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PhD Toolkit: How to Understand Critical Reading

The literature review is a major part of any dissertation project. My adviser suggested that I start with the lit review (Chapter 2) before writing the introduction (Chapter 1). Some students start with Chapter 1, but it seemed backwards to me. How can you write the introduction to your research without a good review of the literature? But it’s easy to get stuck in the lit review section. It’s a tedious and slow process slogging through scholarly articles. You’re trying to understand foreign concepts, theories, and jargon. What strategies can improve your lit review? What tools help you understand and create a flow in less time? What are you doing wrong to slow down the process?

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Food Policy: Things You Don’t Know About Organics

Do you ever wonder about food labels that say “organic”? It’s interesting how food labels can deceive us in good and bad ways. I wrote my dissertation on urban agriculture and defined organic farming as growing food without pesticides or heavy equipment. Organic products have seeped into our choices in cleaning products, clothing and food. How do we know that our food is really organic? What does it mean when a label reads “organic” in quotes? Why is it so confusing to decide what is or is not organic?

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Why Scholars Need a Clue About Good Writing: Part V

Scholars are good at some things, like research or teaching. But many scholars are not good at writing.  I’ve peer-reviewed enough scholarly articles to recognize that writing is a challenge for anyone.  Clear academic writing is hard to find – only if you look long and hard. So I’m adding another section to my academic writing series to address why scholars are poor writers. What happens when people don’t know that their writing is bad? How can scholars get a clue when they repeat bad writing habits?

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Celebrating 300+ Food Holidays A Year

Food is everywhere! We celebrate food to celebrate special occasions, traditions, milestones, life, and death. We use food to celebrate anything. In the US alone, we celebrate over 300 different food holidays every year! Any day is a special food day. There is no official source for “national” days for celebrating food. You can make up a day to celebrate your favorite foods! Why are they so many food celebration days around the world? Is it food policy or food marketing?

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PhD Toolkit: When Things Go Wrong

A doctoral program is a test. It will test your patience, your will to succeed, and your self-confidence. It may be the hardest experience in your life. I won’t say your professional life because a doctoral program will take over your life. It will consume parts of your life you never thought about. And many things in this world can go wrong. An unexpected turn of events, an accident, or the one thing you overlooked in your planning process. What tools can help you pass the test? How can you recover when things go wrong? Can you plan to accommodate things that go wrong in your PhD program?
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What No One Tells You About Food Banks in New Orleans

New Orleans is a city of survivors. Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 and the city of New Orleans was changed forever. Forever. The city’s built infrastructures (transportation, buildings, hospitals) were destroyed. Another type of infrastructure also was destroyed: the city’s food system. This infrastructure includes a variety of processes:

  • Food production
  • Food processing
  • Food distribution
  • Food retail and marketing
  • Capital (natural, human, social, economic)

How are people in New Orleans surviving in 2018? Although the city was hit by more floods and heavy rains last summer, the built environment is recovering. But the people are still struggling. What is the state of New Orleans’ food system? Did federal disaster recovery funding help the city? Why is the food-based infrastructure slow to recover?

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7 Key Benefits Of Feedback

Let’s face it – most people don’t like feedback. Somehow it feels like a chink in our armor and it’s a reminder that we’re not perfect. BTW, no one fits that mold. And if they do, I’d like to see them leap tall buildings in a single bound. It’s easy to talk about how to give feedback. But it’s a harder talk about how to receive feedback, good or bad.

Our first reaction to feedback can be anger, fear, frustration, tension, resistance, irrational thoughts, and feeling defensive. How can we shift our reaction to feedback?  How can we respond to feedback we don’t want to hear? What are the benefits of feedback?

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