“The Blog” as a living, breathing, evolving body of work

The featured image is of saucer magnolias blossoming in front of Burruss Hall. Like these blossoms that are finally coming into their season, we graduate students are future faculty and we are beginning to come into our own as well. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the role of a blog is to academia. In this graduate class, like many others across Tech’s campus, blogging is a requirement for the course. Professors point to the blog as a space for sharing ideas, for collaboration, for practicing writing, and for developing a digital presence–kind of like a next generation CV … Continue Reading →

Seeking Knowledge on Diversity & Inclusion

I’m taking a course this semester called Diversity for Global Society. It is part of the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s Transformative Graduate Education Initiative and this course is designed to introduce students to concepts in diversity, inclusion, and equity and how they relate to higher education–both here at Virginia Tech and from a global perspective. The environment in which a person grows up and the culture experienced therein results in many underlying assumptions, misconceptions, and biases that influence the way a person experiences the present. This background often influences a person’s experience of diversity, inclusion, race/racism, class, economy, and equity. In this class, … Continue Reading →

Time to Put a Bow on it

Since my arrival at Tech, I have experienced more learning and exposure to new ideas than perhaps I have in my entire education to date. I came here primarily for two reasons: the first, because I was interested the Landscape Architecture program because I could pursue an Architecture & Design Research PhD (1 of 5 offered in the U.S.) and second, because the Graduate School offered a Transformative Graduate Education Experience that was promised to  be unlike anything I had encountered before.  So far, I have not been disappointed. Over the past semester, I have tried to absorb as much as I … Continue Reading →

Jigsaw-Zigsaw: An Adventure for Every GEDI

This week, we learned a different approach for teaching and learning in the classroom. This blog entry is the story of that experience. Two weeks ago at the end of class, each student was given a number which corresponded to a short reading assignment, and we were all told to return to class last week ready to go on our sections. With that, class was dismissed and we were all on our way. As we trickled back into the classroom last week, we were greeted at the door by our Teaching Assistant (TA) team, Jyotsana, Greg, & Amy who directed us to … Continue Reading →

Birthing a Thinking Mind

When I was a girl, I would often retreat to my favorite thinking place: a fallen, yet still-growing tree on the highest hill on my family’s land and there I would spend time until either my brother found me or until my parents would call me inside for supper. I recall liking this activity because I was alone with my thoughts and it game me time to reflect on the things that had happened to me during the day and I could spend some time wondering. Much of that wonder translated into the subjects I would pick to read about on … Continue Reading →

On Diversity & Inclusive Pedagogy, Academia could do better

In this post, I wanted to make a brief comment on diversity in general, discuss diversity in higher education, and then I have a few thoughts on diversity in professional offices. I’ll conclude by talking about inclusive pedagogy. It goes hand-in-hand with creating a community environment and appreciating the opportunity for innovative thinking. Image Credit: jlrsousa’s “Bonecas” I am a proponent of diversity. I believe it broadens our horizons and aids us in our personal development.   Katherine Phillips in “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter” makes some interesting and thought provoking statements on diversity and how it enriches our thinking environments and … Continue Reading →

Word of the week: mindfulness

Mindful learning. It’s such a powerful concept. As one of the last blog posts going up this week, I had the pleasure of reading the reflections of so many of my classmates before I composed this post. I have to say that was probably the best thing for me as I have been struggling with what mindful learning should/could look like for an educator in the design field. I enjoyed reading my classmate’s stories because I realized that we all have a shared experience of classrooms/learning environments that are not actually designed for student learning. Each story I read was different, some students … Continue Reading →

Future of the University: One Thing I Believe Should Change in Higher Education

There is no doubt that new technologies and increasing participation in open-source data sharing will continue to redefine Higher Education, how we serve our communities, and the expectations of faculty and student work. I was reading articles across the websites of The Chronicle of Higher Education, The EvoLLLution, NPR and The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal at several topics that I think could use improvement as time ever continues forward. The change is this: increased mindfulness. On the EvoLLLution’s webpage, I found an opinion piece from 2012 written by Andrés Fortino The Purpose of Higher Education: To Create Prepared Minds. As a society, … Continue Reading →

Day of Remembrance

Ten years ago I was an undergraduate student at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. I remember walking on campus that spring day and hearing about the… gosh, I don’t even know what to call it. Back then, I think it was referred to as the Virginia Tech Massacre; but now I don’t think they use that word anymore. It was a horrible and painful tragedy that permanently separated 32 people from their families and communities back in 2007. April 16 is a solemn day, but it is also a day of support and strength. Today, it is referred to as … Continue Reading →

Open Access Forum

Tonight’s class was a little different than usual. Instead of sitting around tables in our open lecture space, we entered the room and it was set up for a special forum & discussion. It’s Open Data Week (April 10-14) here at Virginia Tech and this was just one of many events offered by the University Libraries to create opportunities for conversations about research and data. We live in an innovating and ever-changing world. Some might argue that this is the age of technology. But I say it’s just the beginning. If Higher Education wants to stay relevant at the forefront of new … Continue Reading →