Why Scholars Need a Clue About Good Writing: Part II

Writing is hard work. Any form of writing is a process and if you want to be a good writer, it takes practice. But many academics pontificate when they speak and write. Writing is a powerful communication tool to clearly express ideas. Bad writing is when people have to read your sentence more than once, for example: “Shop prices did not stabilise until 1877, after inflation had begun to be defeated by laws that had been passed by the government in the autumn of 1875.” Bad writing sounds off for a reason.  Why do scholars write poorly? Can we cut the blather and get to the point? How can you help people understand your ideas? Continue reading “Why Scholars Need a Clue About Good Writing: Part II”


How to Feed More People: Think Small and Local

The world is not getting smaller. Around 350,000 babies are born each day, and by 2050, the world’s population can reach over 9 billion people. Today we rely on “green revolution” technologies to grow more food –  these technologies (pesticides, genetic modified plants, fertilizers) are used to grow high yield crops (corn, soybeans, wheat) or monocrops. But the green revolution is also a process with huge environmental costs. And the human costs include more diet-related diseases, malnutrition (hunger and obesity) and wasted food. How can we reverse the harm from industrial or conventional agriculture? What are solutions to grow food differently?

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“What Can You Be with a PhD”

A doctorate degree can take you anywhere. You can work in many areas including social enterprise businesses, start-ups, non-profits, academia or industries you never thought about for a career. You can be a researcher, scholar-practitioner, academic, scientist, consultant, or social entrepreneur. A yearly event called “What Can You Be with a PhD” (WCUB) Career Symposium at New York University can help you explore your career options. And according to the blog, it’s the “largest career  symposium” in the country. The event was organized by the NYU School of Medicine Postdoctoral Affairs Office.

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Alt-Ac Toolkit: Freelancing at Academic Conferences

Academic conferences can seem like a strange place for those of us in the alt-ac world. Conferences may not feel like a good fit for freelance academics – as freelancers, we’re not affiliated with mainstream higher education. But academic conferences offer a place to meet and pitch your book to editors, offer a workshop, and present a research paper. Even as a freelance academic, you have a voice as a scholar and expert.

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Willie Nelson and Urban-Rural Ag

Poverty is a worldwide problem. Urban and rural communities in every country struggle to survive. Poverty means food insecurity or economic and social conditions where people have little or uncertain access to enough food. Food insecurity hits people in urban, rural, and peri-urban areas (communities located around cities). While it’s easy to think that food insecurity is just an urban problem, clearly it is not. Hunger is not in a vacuum. Even if food is abundant, many people don’t have enough food on a regular basis. How can we feed more people? What are the connections between urban-rural agriculture?

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Academic Redux: Is a PhD Still Worth It?

The holiday season is here! I enjoyed some downtime over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Now that 2018 is on the horizon, it’s time to look back on my projects for 2017. I’m reviewing my career transition plans since I earned my doctorate in 2015. Yes, I’ve wondered if my PhD was worth it. Was it really worth all the time, money, blood, sweat, tears, uncertainty, fear, worry, headaches, anxiety, and excitement?

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Urban Ag Projects Around the World

What is something that reduces food waste, contributes 15% to 20% of the food worldwide, recycles nutrients, and is complementary to rural agriculture? Urban agriculture. That’s right: food that we grow in the city. Peri-urban agriculture (food grown in areas around the city) is also part of this practice. Collectively, urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) can potentially feed 20 million people in megacities by 2020.

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