I’ve decided to create a scholarships tag to keep track of the funding opportunities I come across that might interest my students (or anyone interested in librarianship, children’s literature, adoption studies, diversity, Asian American Studies, etc.)

Remember, dear students, if your application needs a letter of rec, check out my guidelines!

Here are a few to start:

What Do Professors Do All Week: A Reflection

Two of my bookshelves: young adult literature, Asian American literature, children's literature studies, childhood studies, adoption-related children's books...

Earlier this week I was inspired by friend and colleague Dr. Philip Nel to blog in response to the question, “What Do Professors Do All Day?” He started on Sunday, but I started on Tuesday because 1) I was super sick on Monday 2) SCU shut down for a Snow Day on Monday. I’m not blogging a play-by-play of today, though, because I think I’ve done this enough to learn a bit about my work habits. In reflecting about this experiment, I’ve come to the following conclusions:

  • I love my work.
  • I work in spurts.
  • I get distracted easily (surprise, surprise).
  • Knowing that I’m publicly sharing a play-by-play of my day was always on the back of my mind. What does this mean? Less Facebook, more work… although oftentimes Facebook is work because so many of my colleagues post work-related articles on Facebook. Last night a friend suggested fasting from Facebook for Lent, and I said I could never do that because I get too much work-related content through Facebook.
  • I enjoy blogging, and hope to do it more.
  • Sometimes I come dangerously close to working 12+ hours a day.
  • I need to make better use of my to-do lists. I started using but got discouraged after realizing just how many things I need to-do. I decided today to use google tasks – my life is already googlefied, it’s no-nonsense, and I can easily sync it to my iPad. We’ll see how this goes!
  • I need more exercise.
  • I need more leisure reading.
  • I need more socializing.
  • I need more meditation and downtime.
  • I need to write more. A LOT more.

I also have these questions:

  • How might my week have looked different if I wasn’t ill? If we didn’t have a Snow Day?
  • How can I better organize my time so that I focus on projects for good, long chunks of time, rather than piecemeal? Would that give me the time and space I need for my ideas to simmer, and would it result in a better product?
  • How well am I allocating my time? How would this have looked if I color-coded research, teaching and service?
  • Did my experiment (and Phil’s experiment) inspire you to work differently?

I don’t know if I’ll do this again next week, next month, or ever, but I really enjoyed it this week, and believe that it did cause me to be more careful and reflective about how I spend my time. Thank you Dr. Phil for the idea, thank you to my readers. It’s after 5pm! Checking out. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

What Do Professors Do All Day?

Well, it’s a non-teaching day, which means technically I could have gotten my day started earlier than I did on Tuesday and Wednesday. But I stayed up late watching the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and had trouble sleeping (no connection – I seriously wasn’t thinking about the film’s overt criticism of how automation and capitalism bring down the already oppressed and dispossessed worker, or how Tim Burton likes to add frames around existing self-contained stories… Alice in Wonderland as a love story…?), so today I woke up at 9am. And technically, although since I teach children’s lit, watching CatCF could be considered “work,” I’m not counting it as work… and even though I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about “How to Publish Your Article” by Dr. Phil Nel, I didn’t add that time either. Also, since I worked more than 11 hours on Tuesday and more than 9 last night, and even though I’m more recovered from the cold today than I was yesterday or Tuesday, I’m okay if today’s tally of “What do professors do all day?” (inspired by Dr. Phil Nel‘s “What Do Professors Do All Day?” series) doesn’t add up to at least 8 hours. Okay, so here we go! Day 3:

Thursday February 24, 2011

9:00-9:30 AM Woke up to my alarm (which ironically is set to David Crowder‘s “Can I Lie Here“) and did daily Bible devotional reading.

9:30-10:15 AM Washed up and got ready for the day!

10:15-10:45 AM Checked email, FB, chatted with Tarie, and painted my fingernails green.

11:00-12:15 PM Hunkered down at my favorite cafe, had a breakfast burrito and worked on a letter of recommendation for a student.

12:30-1:30 PM Arrived on campus, got my French Vanilla Cappuccino, and checked out Handbook of Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Routledge 2011, eds. Shelby A. Wolf, Karen Coats, Patricia Enciso, and Christine A. Jenkins) from our library – I had requested that we purchase this last year. Saw that it’s in the PS section, next to the ethnic lit books. (Side note: sad to see that my personal collection of Asian American literary criticism is larger than our St. Catherine collection. hRmm…) Back to the Handbook:

This landmark volume is the first to bring together the leading scholarship on children’s and young adult literature from three intersecting disciplines: Education, English and Library and Information Science. Distinguished by its multidisciplinary approach, it describes and analyzes the different aspects of literary readings, texts, and contexts to illuminate how the book is transformed within and across different academic figurations of reading and interpreting children’s literature.

WOW. I think the multidisciplinarity of children’s literature studies is most apparent to me when I attend the Children’s Literature Association conferences, which is dominated by English professors, with a smaller contingent from Education, and a smattering representation from LIS. I learn so much from everyone’s approaches (not just through their paper presentations, but also the articles and books they write), and hope that they learn from our LIS approach as well. When ChLA was in Manhattan Beach, CA, (my first ChLA! I *heart* ChLA!) an LIS colleague rounded up us 5 LIS folks (out of a conference of 200+ people) to go out to dinner. It was great. Anyway, back to the Handbook (again); this book is explicit about the multidisciplinarity nature of its contents. It’s reflected in the summary on the back, in the backgrounds of the editors, in the table of contents. It brings together voices from scholars, authors, illustrators, editors, curators, librarians. And I can’t wait to read it.

1:30-2:30 PM Polished and sent letter of recommendation. Crossing fingers and hoping to hear good news from my student.

2:30-4:00 PM Started constructing the first draft of my Día webinar. Spent some time on the childstat website to see how our young people are doing these days. My goal was to write 1 paragraph per day, as per Dr. Phil‘s suggestion, but I wrote a page and a half! Yay! 

  • 3:30 PM Popped into FB to throw out the question, “If you were going to speak to practicing children’s librarians on how to choose multicultural and/or bilingual books for their collections, what is the one piece of advice you’d give?” First response, from Dr. Joseph Michael Sommers: “Don’t forget your towel! :)”

4:00-4:30 PM Admissions meeting. Wow, already 52 applicants! Almost twice as many as last semester!

4:30-5:00 PM Found out Dr. Debbie Reese, dear friend and author of, is passing through MSP this weekend. Trying to arrange a last-minute breakfast so she can meet my students!

5:00 – 6:15 PM Attempted to organize/file some of the paper that has piled up in my office. I need more storage space. Wrote a thank you note to Betsy, prepared a package to send to a colleague, and then headed home!

7:00-10:15 PM Small Group/Bible Study with Covenant Life Church. Today’s topic was based on Colossians 3:22-24 and centered around our attitude regarding our work; work at work, work at church, work in other spheres of our lives:

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Note: The Bible does not condone slavery. In this historical context, slaves were a normal part of society. In the previous verses, Paul addresses husbands, wives, children, and then addresses slaves; basically, he’s speaking to all people living within a household.)

Since I’m doing this daily log of my activities, it made me think about how much and how hard I work at my job, and what my motivation is. Am I consistently thankful to God that I have a job (that I love) in this rough economy? Do I work hard, “with all my heart,” because I’m really working unto the Lord? By teaching well, doing good research, serving on committees etc., am I seeking glory for myself or for God? Why do I push myself so hard? hRmmmm…

11:15 PM- Got home pretty late, washed up and zZzZzzzzz…

Total work hours: 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Note to self: You wrote almost 2 pages today. Good job, Dr. Sparky. Keep it up 😀

What Do (Recovering) Professors Do All Day?

2010 Children's Literature Association Conference: me, Dr. Betsy Hearne, and Minjie Chen

A continuation of yesterday’s post, “What do (sick) professors do all day?” based on my friend and colleague Dr. Phil Nel‘s weeklong series, “What do professors do all day?” I’ve been ill since last Wednesday/Thursday, but I don’t feel like I’m dying anymore, hence, “recovering professor.” It doesn’t mean “recovering” as if being a professor totally thrashed me 🙂 As most of you know, I *heart* my job.

Side note: Last night I went home and reviewed for my LIS 7180 Storytelling for Adults and Children course until about… 2am. So Tuesday’s work tally was 9 hours and 45 minutes + 2 hours = 11 hours and 45 minutes.

Wednesday February 23, 2011

8:30-9:30 AM Woke up. Relieved that I’m not deathly ill as I was the past few days. Checked FB and email, showered and got ready for the day.

9:30-9:40 AM Ate breakfast and did my daily Bible devotional reading.

9:40-10:00 AM Prepared lunch and put away dishes while warming up car (I live in MN – baby, it’s cold outside).

10:20-10:30 AM Got into my office, Couer de Catherine 51, and started this blog post.

10:30-10:45 AM Continued (re)reading “Children’s Emotional Attachment to Stories” by Alexander, Miller & Hengst. This article was on my Youth Literature and Services field exam when I was a PhD student. A must-read for anyone concerned with the importance of stories and storytelling in young people’s lives.

10:45-11:05 AM Stopped by the library to pick up Children and Books, the book that Janice Del Negro wrote about in the article I (re)read yesterday. Also stopped by the dining hall to pick up a French Vanilla Cappuccino, my drug of choice when on campus.

11:05-11:22 AM Phone meeting with Linda Mays, Program Officer at ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) to discuss a webinar she wants me to do. Yikes. This is a great opportunity, but I needed a few minutes to think about whether or not I want to take it. We said we’d be in touch again on Friday.

11:22-11:32 AM Discussed ALSC opportunity with Tarie (this girl never sleeps – she just reads and writes and writes and writes and supports her colleagues/friends). She said, “Think of the children,” and I crumbled. Yes, I’m doing it. For the children! FTC!

11:32-:1142 AM Checked FB.

11:42-11:50 AM Finished (re)reading “Young Children’s Emotional Attachment to Stories.” As I continued reading it, I became more and more curious how the data and analyses might change if the children weren’t of European American heritage. To be fair, the authors concede that this is an area in need of more research. How might Asian American children react to stories with white protagonists? Do Korean American children become attached to Korean folk tales? Or are they just as attached to Disney’s Cinderella? Does culture matter?

11:50-12:30 PM (Re)read “Swapping Tales and Stealing Stories: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Folklore in Children’s Literature” by Dr. Betsy Hearne (Library Trends 47:3, Winter 1999): “Is there a difference, ultimately, between folktale, personal narrative, family lore, and fiction in the way we use story as daily habit? We, otherwise known as the folk, use stories to explain our lives not literally… but figuratively… The only way to reconcile the differences between the conflicting needs of borrowing and owning stories is to try and realize the benefit of both” (p525-526).

12:40-1:15 PM Continued reviewing Breaking the Magic Spell in prep for tonight’s LIS 7180 Storytelling for Adults and Children course.

1:15-1:35 PM Listened to a few songs on Chris Tomlin‘s “And if Our God is For Us” album in an effort to carve out some much-needed downtime. Also ate lunch. Also checked FB. hRmmm multitasking… so much for downtime.

1:35-1:37 PM Asked my colleague Heidi Hammond if she has any ideas for what we should read in preparation for our next YLIG (Youth Literature and Interest Group) meeting. We might read ChLA-award winning scholarly articles. Still brainstorming…

1:37-3:07 PM Finished (re)reading/reviewing Breaking the Magic Spell.

3:07-3:10 PM Checked email… and FB.

3:10-3:50 PM Reviewed students’ discussion posts on our PBworks page. I learn soOoOooo much from their responses to our textbooks (2 weeks ago was The Uses of Enchantment; last week was Breaking the Magic Spell).

3:50-4:50 PM Not sure what to do with myself… checked email. Reviewed some ALA (American Library Association) news. Discovered that a colleague, Dr.  Mary Wilkins Jordan (Simmons GSLIS), won a prestigious ALA grant (happy!) and that a PATRIOT ACT amendment that would have created better library patron privacy failed (sad). Printed out agenda, made copies of rubric for storytelling, worked on my grade book, ate chocolate…

5:00-5:30 PM SCU MLIS ALA Student Chapter first meeting! A good number of students – many first year – showed up to learn more about forming this new student org. Many are also interested in youth services. Exciting!

5:30-6:00 PM Checked email, FB, reviewed Dia programs and caught up with a friend in LA over googlechat.

6:00-9:10 PM Taught LIS 7180 Storytelling for Adults and Children.

9:10-9:45 PM Debriefed LIS 7180 Storytelling on my private blog. Wrote about Betsy’s guest lecture, posted comments to our PBworks site, and discussed Wind in the Willows, Marxist readings of children’s lit/film, and the depiction of mice/rats/rodents over googlechat with a friend. When I’m alone in my office late at night, I like to blast music really loud and have my googlechat on so I don’t feel *quite* so alone.

Total work hours: approximately 9 hours and 44 minutes.  Same as yesterday, but I feel like I worked more, maybe because I think I worked faster since I’m less sick. So, again, the answer to the question, “What do (recovering) professors do all day?” is, “We still work.”And I’m about to hit my 12-hour in-office limit, so away I go!

As a side note, some of my friends told me they keep a “coffin” of pens and highlighters they used up while in graduate school. I think it would be fun to start one to see just how many I use up in my work.

Again, note to self: YOU NEED TO WRITE, Dr. Sparky. Carve out time for writing and reflecting.

What Do (Sick) Professors Do All Day?

My colleague and friend Dr. Phil Nel has been posting daily entries answering the question, “What do professors do all day?” partly because people outside of academia – even those who have gone through college or university – often don’t really know how we professors spend our time. I thought I’d try it in case my students (and friends) actually read my blog and wonder too.

Note: The SCU  MLIS Program is on a night and weekend schedule, so my courses are Tuesdays and Wednesdays 6-9 PM. In order to maintain my 2011 resolution of not being in my office for more than 12 straight hours (as I often did these past 2 years…), I don’t do work or go into my office before 10 or 11 AM on teaching days.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snow Day. Let’s call it a wash because it’s also a Sick Day, as were Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

9:00-10:00 AM Woke up. Still sick. Can’t breathe through my nose. Washed up and got ready for the day.

10:00-10:45 AM Made breakfast and lunch. Did my daily Bible devotional reading and then caught up on email and FB while having breakfast.

10:45-11:15 AM Chatted with my friend, Tarie Sabido, a children’s lit scholar in Manila. Her enthusiasm and cheer warm my heart on this cold day. She and I share Dunkin Donuts, The Skin Food and children’s literature fetishes. For example… Dunkin Announces

11:15-12:00 PM Post office and bank.

12:15-2:00 PM Got into the office, checked email, and prepared quiz for LIS 7530 Internet Fundamentals and Design. Revised a cupcake-themed mock-up website that my students have to re-create based on what they’ve learned in the first 6 chapters of our textbook.

2:-00-3:05 PM FACES meeting – discussed how to improve campus climate, manage conflicts, build trust, etc. with fellow faculty and staff. FACES stands for Focus on Academic and Community Environments.

3:05-5:00 PM Office hours. Usually this means I’m sitting in my office with a bucket of chocolate on my desk… waiting… well, more specifically…

  • 3:05-3:10 PM Reviewed a letter of recommendation packet that I requested from a student who requested a letter from me.
  • 3:10-3:30 PM Prepared for class
  • 3:30-3:32 PM At the advice of a friend, watched neti pot YouTube video. hRmmmm I might try this.
  • 3:32-3:45 PM Prepared for class
  • 3:45-4:00 PM Reviewed ALA Student Chapter website in preparation for meeting.
  • 4:00-4:15 PM Met with student regarding the launch of the SCU MLIS ALA Student Chapter. So excited that we’re getting this going so soon after being ALA accredited!
  • 4:15-5:00 PM (Re)read Understanding the Internet: A Glimpse Into the Building Blocks, Applications, Security and Hidden Secrets of the Web for LIS 7530. Very technical and full of jargon – glad my students are getting the big picture out of it, though.

5:00-5:30 PM Skype trial run with Dr. Betsy Hearne, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She’s giving a guest lecture in my LIS 7180 Storytelling for Adults and Children class on Wednesday evening.

5:30-6:00 PM Quick dinner @ my desk! Checked FB and email.

6:00-9:00 PM Taught LIS 7530 Internet Fundamentals and Design

  • 7:30-7:45 PM Class break. Checked email and started to (re)read”A Change of Storyteller: Folktales in Children and Books, from Arbuthnot to Sutherland” by Dr. Janice Del Negro (Library Trends 47:3, Winter 1999). It’s amazing how much you can (re)read in tiny blocks of time. This article is a must-read for anyone concerned with the study of folklore, children’s literature and storytelling.

9:00-9:30 PM Checked email and debriefed about tonight’s LIS 7530 on my personal blog/teaching journal. Doing this helps me reflect on my teaching strengths and weaknesses, as well as particular student- or course content-related issues. I also spent a few minutes preparing an itinerary for my guest teacher next week. Also read this heartbreaking article about Detroit closing half its public schools.

9:30-9:35 PM Wrote a thank you note to Dr. Andre Brock, who guest lectured in my LIS 7530 course last week on the topic of race and the internet.

9:35-10:30 PM Finished (re)reading “A Change of Storyteller.” Heading home, where I will likely keep (re)reading for my Storytelling course 🙂

Total work hours: 9 hours and 45 minutes. That’s less than the 12 hours I said was my  maximum, but more than the typical 8 a normal human is supposed to work ^^ The answer to the question, “What do (sick) professors do all day?” is, “We still work.”

Note to self: You need to write more. Publish or perish. Tenure FTW!

Suicide & Asian Americans

…via Angry Asian Man: “Asian American teenage girls have the highest rate of depressive symptoms of any racial, ethnic or gender group according to a report released today by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).”

Some frightening statistics:

  • Asian American girls have the highest rates of depressive symptoms of any racial/ethnic or gender group;
  • Young Asian American women ages 15 to 24 die from suicide at a higher rate than other racial/ethnic groups;
  • Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among Asian Americans overall, compared to the ninth leading cause of death for white Americans;
  • Older Asian American women have the highest suicide rate of all women over 65; and
  • Among Southeast Asians, 71 percent meet criteria for major affective disorders such as depression—with 81 percent among Cambodians and 85 percent among Hmong.

Recommendations according to the report:

  • A national strategy of outreach and engagement using cultural messages, ambassadors and social media;
  • A linguistically and culturally responsive mental health workforce, including recruitment of bilingual and bicultural members of the AAPI community; and
  • Recognition of cultural influences such as tight-knit family connections and individual and family desires to avoid stigma and shame from seeking treatment.

See the full article here.