Category Archives: CRDM Faculty

Dr. Jeremy Packer’s Farewell Party

Students and faculty came out to Dr. Jeremy Packer’s farewell party tonight, and Dr. Steve Wiley presented him with two gifts that were framed posters of CRDM symposiums Jeremy organized. Best of luck, Jeremy! We will miss you!

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CRDM Advice: Dr. Jason Swarts on Scholarly Publications

I recently caught up with Dr. Jason Swarts of the CRDM program to get his thoughts on the art of scholarly publication. Here is his advice:

 

And here is the “source code” for the infographic (aka Dr. Swarts’s original answers):

What would prevent a seminar paper from being publishable?

Two things come to mind. The first is that seminar papers frequently address an audience of fellow classmates, all of whom share a common understanding and awareness of the readings and the importance of the issues they raise. This common understanding is reflected in seminar papers which tend to have weaker stated exigence because the importance of the topic is taken for granted. The second thing is that many writers tend to approach the literature review in a seminar paper as an occasion to demonstrate a comprehensive awareness of the literature read. Published papers take a much more strategic and selective approach to the literature review, organizing the sources chosen to reveal a gap in our knowledge.

What is the most important element of a publishable paper?

For me, it is that you need to make a clear argument about why your research needs to exist. What is the exigence driving the paper? How does it fit in with what we (in the field) already know and need to know? It is often not enough simply to say “nobody has studied this before” because that is true of many topics — sometimes with good reason.

How do you go about *beginning* the process of writing an academic paper?

I usually pick a topic first and decide what it is that I want to say about it. Then I try to fit the topic to a journal. After selecting a journal, I always read a few recent articles to get a sense of the audience that the authors are addressing.

Any other advice or suggestions about the topic of academic publishing? 

Academic publishing takes a long time, and if you want to get a piece in print and on your CV before you go on the market, there is no time to waste. A realistic timeline to publication would be something like 19-20 months. This assumes 3-4 months for the review of your initial manuscript, 1 month to work on revisions (for a revise and resubmit), 3-4 months for review of the revised manuscript, and 1 year waiting in the journal’s publication queue.

The other piece of advice is to keep in mind that it is exceedingly rare that an article is accepted for publication “as is.” Most articles that a journal editor feels are capable of being worked into publishable shape will come back to you as “revise and resubmit.”

 

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CRDM Advice: Dr. Chris Anson on Scholarly Publications

I recently caught up with Dr. Chris Anson of the CRDM program to get his thoughts on the art of scholarly publication. Here is his advice:

 

And here is the “source code” for the infographic (aka Dr. Anson’s original answers):

What would prevent a seminar paper from being publishable?

Here are some common reasons why submissions (from anyone, not just students) are not accepted or sent back for major revision:

–Not enough familiarity with the journal or context of publication

–Shallow lit. review or some indication the writer doesn’t know what has preceded his or her idea, theory, research, etc.

–Poor methodology or poorly described methodology

–Too localized a study (e.g., when someone does a study that’s very specific to a program or institution and it doesn’t generalize to other contexts)

–Poorly structured or stylized writing, writing that’s trying too hard to sound sophisticated, writing that’s filled with errors and not carefully edited and proofread, or writing that shows the writer doesn’t understand the conventions of the community

What is the most important element of a publishable paper?

It needs to contribute to and advance existing knowledge.

How do you go about *beginning* the process of writing an academic paper?

I’m usually engaged in an investigation of some sort, and then I begin thinking about contexts where my work might be of interest to readers. I also keep a notebook of ideas that could yield studies or research that’s potentially publishable. Also, putting in a proposal for a conference paper (if it’s accepted) forces you to complete enough work to make your ideas presentable, and the results are then more easily transformed into a publishable piece.

Any other advice or suggestions about the topic of academic publishing? 

–Once you start a project, keep it open on your screen. Never close it. Every time you look at the screen, the text is there, inviting more work. Even if you reread a bit and then write for five minutes, or just revise and edit, you’re moving it forward.

–Set aside a modest amount of time every day to work on your research agenda, then stick to it.

–Create a flowchart of ideas, seminar papers, conference papers, and the like, and literally map their way to publication. If a piece is rejected, add to the flow chart (e.g., revise and submit to another journal). The visual nature of the chart helps you to keep track of what’s in the hopper and what you need to do next.

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CRDM Advice: Dr. Susan Katz on Scholarly Publications

I recently caught up with Dr. Susan Katz of the CRDM program to get her thoughts on the art of scholarly publication. Here is her advice:

 

And here is the “source code” for the infographic (aka her original answers):

What would prevent a seminar paper from being publishable?

In recent years, I have noticed several recurring problems with manuscripts that I have reviewed. Note that these are not necessarily ms. that were written by grad students! (1) Poor organization. (2) Insufficient research (inadequate literature review). (3) Minor grammatical and typographical errors that interfere with comprehension (PROOFREAD!). (4) A general lack of consistency and cohesion.

What is the most important element of a publishable paper?

Implications. The readers have to see the value in what you have written about. Ideally, the study will have implications for teaching, future research, and practice, but it MUST have implications for at least one of those areas.

How do you go about *beginning* the process of writing an academic paper?

I’m a serendipitous researcher, which means that I just pay a lot of attention to what’s going on around me. I listen to colleagues for the possibilities of collaborative work, respond to suggestions that arise from reading or discussion from courses I teach, and get involved in various groups around campus that are of interest to me. I also just try to pay attention to what I find really interesting and see if there is something that I can contribute to the conversation on that topic. When I actually start writing, I’ll try to tailor the project to a specific journal. I will, on occasion, discussion the paper with the journal editor first to see if they would be interested.

Any other advice or suggestions about the topic of academic publishing? 

Don’t get discouraged if an initial draft is rejected. When I was a graduate student, the first paper I submitted to a journal was rejected. I read the first paragraph of the rejection letter, and then stuffed the whole thing back in the envelope (this was before electronic submissions). I never even looked at the feedback to see what I might have done to revise the paper or if they had suggestions about other venues that might have been more appropriate! Learn to take criticism as something helpful–most reviewers are going to want to help you improve, they’re not just being mean. And just keep at it.

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CRDM Advice: Dr. Carolyn Miller on Scholarly Publications

I recently caught up with Dr. Carolyn Miller of the CRDM program to get her thoughts on the art of scholarly publication. Here is her advice:

And here is the “source code” for the infographic (aka Dr. Miller’s original answers):

What would prevent a seminar paper from being publishable?

I’d say there are two issues that distinguish a seminar paper from a publishable essay, and these are related to each other: audience and scope. A seminar paper is produced within the hothouse context of a graduate course and responds to the particularities of that class, its professor and other students, the curriculum into which it fits, and the developing comprehension of the student-as-author. It’s a turn in a particular conversation. A publishable paper has to position itself within a national disciplinary context, which is a conversation of longer standing and broader scope. Positioning one’s work within that disciplinary conversation on an equal footing with other participants is one of the most important things one works on in graduate school.

What is the most important element of a publishable paper?

It’s always difficult (and probably misleading) to fasten on “one thing” as the most important, so my answer is going to be unhelpfully vague. The most important thing a publishable paper has to do is to make a contribution to that disciplinary conversation that others recognize and value as a contribution.

How do you go about *beginning* the process of writing an academic paper?

In my experience, the process of developing a publishable essay never proceeds the same way twice, so it’s hopeless to look for a method or recipe for success. Many different starting points can serve to crystallize an intellectual exigence to get you going. Once you are embedded in a disciplinary conversation (or, usually, more than one), what you do is always conditioned by (disciplined by) that conversation from the beginning. It’s your training and your reading that make an issue interesting in light of the concepts and previous work through which you see it. This is not to say that you see everything the way that everybody else does–if that were the case, you couldn’t have anything to add. But you need to be alert to degrees of sameness and difference.

John Swales gave a workshop for grad students at Carleton University in Ottawa recently before the Genre 2012 conference there in which he addressed this very question, demonstrating the variety of starting points for his work as an applied linguist (moving into a new building, getting a digitally produced taxi receipt, a conversation with a student) and the differing fates of his ideas, some of which percolated for years, some of which were published promptly, some of which were discarded for various reasons.

Any other advice or suggestions about the topic of academic publishing? 

Don’t get discouraged by a “revise and resubmit” response from a journal. Few submissions are accepted as is, even from experienced senior authors. Publishing is a negotiation process with the disciplinary audience for their attention and credence, a process that begins with the editor and the peer reviewers. If the reviewers are misreading your work, don’t dismiss them as stupid or stubborn, but rather revise so as to prevent such misreadings. And you can’t–and don’t have to–please all of the readers all of the time. If you are given conflicting advice, select which line of revision to follow and justify and explain your choice to the editor. Etc. And never digest and interpret an editor’s decision on your own but consult your advisor, your committee members, your colleagues. Give yourself some time, and then go back to it. And, because academic publishing is a slow, thoughtful process, keep several things in the process at once, as there will be long periods while reviewers and editors do their work.

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Dr. Victoria Gallagher

Over the course of the past few months the CRDM blog periodically featured a Q + A with one of our outstanding faculty members. We take classes with them and work with them on scholarly projects, but now we’d like to learn more about what else they’re doing. We’ve talked with David RiederJessica JamesonChris AnsonMatt MayDavid BerubeSusan KatzMaria PramaggioreSusan Miller-CochranRobert SchragCarolyn R. MillerBrad MehlenbacherR. Michael YoungJason SwartsAdriana de Souza e SilvaElizabeth Craig, and Andrew Binder, and we recently caught up with Victoria Gallagher, Professor of Communication and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies for NCSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS):

What are you reading?

So much to read, so little time!
Scholarship: Bradford Vivian’s Public Forgetting: The Rhetoric of Politics and Beginning Again
Historical: David McCullough’s Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt (talk about a long title!)
Aspen Institute Deans Seminar (Citizenship in the American and Global Polity) Reading List: Declaration of Independence, Preamble to the Constitution, selections from the founding fathers, selections from Lincoln, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Hobbes, Rousseau, Thucydides, Macchiavelli, Dewey, Robert Bellah, MLK Jr., Ella Baker, Fareed Zakaria, Reagan, Obama, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Administrative: Annual reports, program proposals, etc. and Barbie Zelizer’s edited collection: Making the University Matter.
NC State’s Common Reading Book: Rye Barcott’s It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace.

What classes are you teaching?

Given my duties as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the college, I am currently not teaching any seminars but I am conducting readings courses with individual doctoral students from time to time. Topics for the most recent of these include: visual and material rhetoric, memory in rhetorical and media studies, theories of the public.

What are you writing about?

a place of rhetoric, or a rhetorical place?

Visual Wellbeing, a theoretical and critical framework I, and several of my former doctoral students have developed.
Rhetoric and Commemorative practices
Rhetoric and Public Art/Art in Public Spaces
Urban Communication and the Rhetoric of Space/Place

What are you listening to?

Jack Johnson (great summer music!)
Adelle (sometimes you just got to let it all out)
Ramsey Lewis
Michael Franks

What are you watching?

Films: The Bourne trilogy
TV: Masterpiece Mysteries, particularly the new Sherlock Holmes series (set in the contemporary moment).

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Interview with Dr. Carolyn R. Miller on Figure/Ground Communication

CRDM’s own Dr. Carolyn Miller was recently interviewed by Mridula A Mascarenhas of the interdisciplinary research website Figure/Ground Communication (click here for our informal interview with her last semester). The following was taken from the introduction to the interview:

Carolyn R. Miller is SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication at North Carolina State University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in rhetoric and technical communication for the Department of English and the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, of which she was founding director. She is a past president of the Rhetoric Society of America, past editor of its journal, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and was named a Fellow of the Society in 2010. She has also held offices in the ASHR, ARST, ATTW, CCCC, and MLA. Her research interests are in digital rhetoric, genre studies, rhetorical theory, and rhetoric of science and technology. Her publications (she realizes in retrospect) are a series of attempts to figure out the conceptual vocabulary of rhetoric: invention, kairos, community, ethos, pathos, genre. She has lectured and taught in North America, Norway, Denmark, Italy, South Korea, and Brazil. She is currently working on Genre Across Borders, a web project to provide scholarly networking for genre researchers across disciplines and around the world.

Click here for the full interview

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