What I did this summer

As a professor, I am sometimes asked: “What’s it like to have summers off? That must be nice.”

Indeed, the academic calendar is a kind one, especially compared with the night/weekend/holiday schedule that I worked for many years at newspapers. But summer in the academic world is not a long vacation consisting of sitting on the beach and drinking margaritas.

Summer brings a different sort of work, a lot of this and a little of that. Here’s a look at what I did this summer at UNC-Chapel Hill:

  • Revised and expanded a textbook chapter on copyright law that will be published soon in the North Carolina Media Law Handbook.
  • Judged entries in a contest that honors the best in travel writing.
  • Wrote a book review for Journalism & Mass Communication Educator.
  • Wrote posts and conducted interviews for this blog.
  • Served as “editing coach” for 100 Gallons, the latest edition of the Powering A Nation project.
  • Organized and moderated a panel discussion for  journalists visiting from South Korea.
  • As a member of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, met with colleagues who are going up this year, offering guidance about their CVs, teaching statements and letters of recommendation.
  • Led a discussion on headline writing for the student staff at WhichWayNC.
  • Made a presentation on alternative story forms to Triangle-area writers and editors.
  • Taught a session about online headlines and Twitter at a workshop sponsored by the North Carolina Press Association.
  • Served as one of three instructors at an editing bootcamp in Chicago sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society.
  • Learned Sakai, an online teaching tool that UNC is using in place of Blackboard.
  • Revised my syllabus (.pdf) and handouts for my editing course.
  • Prepared to teach my first online class, Writing For Digital Media, which is part of a certificate program in technology and communication.

It’s been a busy, productive summer, and there’s still a week to go before the fall semester begins. And there still might be time for a beach day and a margarita before autumn’s chill arrives.

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