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.
- Learned about my new role on the campuswide Faculty Grievance Committee.
- 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.
- Wrote questions for the new grammar and usage test that students will take this fall.
- Served as one of three instructors at an editing bootcamp in Chicago sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society.
- Oversaw the inaugural ACES Award for Research in Editing.
- Organized and moderated the annual Breakfast of Editing Champions at the AEJMC conference.
- 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.