When wielded properly, tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus can be quite useful for academics, who can alert colleagues about their research and receive quick feedback on works in progress.
Community colleges in Indiana and Wisconsin are breaking new ground with degrees that are aimed to address the needs of specific populations. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the Ivy Tech Community College system in Indiana will begin offering a one-year associate degree this August at two of its campuses, in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. The initiative comes as other institutions are just beginning to offer three-year degrees to help cut college costs.
But the Chronicle points out that the new one-year associate degree at Ivy Tech appears to be the first program of its kind in the nation, and the program's organizers are determined to make sure that those who enroll will have a good chance of succeeding. In a column last February, I described the six main elements of a book proposal: overview, competition, market, author description, table of contents, and sample chapter. My advice is based on my experience as a book editor and on my discussions over many years with editors and agents about how they help writers develop book proposals. It has become increasingly important, even for scholarly books, that authors have what is called in the trade a "platform," a way to reach a built-in audience for your book.
In other words, you need to convey what makes you the expert on this topic and what about you can be used to help promote the book.
Your preliminary table of contents should contain good chapter titles and a first sentence that provides the argument for each chapter. Once you start working on the table of contents, you will see how the argument can develop. I find this part of the process satisfying because it's where you see the book taking shape. When writers start telling me what they're working on and I feel my eyes start to glaze over, I ask how they got interested in the topic.
In the overview, relate your own intellectual history with your topic by posing a question someone would really want an answer to.
By the time you finish your research and sit down to write a book, you may have moved far from what motivated you in the first place.
Even if you've finished the manuscript, my advice is to create a submissions packet that has all the elements I've described here and in the previous column.
Rachel Toor is an associate professor of creative writing at Eastern Washington University's writing program in Spokane. The Chronicle welcomes constructive discussion, and our moderators highlight contributions that are thoughtful and relevant. With texting and social media now the preferred method of communication, many college students find it difficult to resist texting while in class. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, a survey of students at the University of New Hampshire, found that although students felt guilty about sending text messages while in class, a majority of them continued to do so anyway--80 percent of students reported that they send at least one text message in each of their classes.


The survey was conducted by student researchers at the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics for a marketing research class, noted a press release. The Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out that 40 percent of students were in favor of allowing text messages during class, while 37 percent opposed it.
According to Collegio, Pittsburg State University's student newspaper, Gil Cooper, who has been a communications professor at the school since 1992, argued that texting in class is impolite.
The UNH study also found that business students text messaged the most and women were more likely to text while in class than men, noted the press release.
Ashley Albright, a junior at PSU, explained that texting helps her refocus when she gets bored or anxious.
In case you missed this post on The Career Center blog:Last week I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop to a group of Hofstra first-years. Career CounsellingOctober 3, 2014 at 2:04 AMI like the idea of thinking early about career and also consider your interest in it. The Division of Student Affairs is comprised of offices that work together to promote student learning, growth, and success, in and out of the classroom.
It’s nice to see that professors are starting to embrace the social web more, but they should be cautious in their online persona. The program aims to enroll low-income students and improve degree completion rates for community college students. Some schools that have announced three-year programs slated to begin this fall include Arcadia University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia Southwestern State University.
To be eligible for the program, students must demonstrate financial need and academic prowess.
If the plan is approved, it would be one of the first times that any two-year college offered the degree. Before you can submit a book proposal, you have to be fairly far along in the thinking and research. Yes, each chapter should have an argument, or at least its own mini-arc: What will you be looking at in this chapter, and how does that contribute to the book's overall narrative thread? You need to convince the editor (and yourself) that there's enough material for a book and not just an article. From my hero, John McPhee, I have borrowed the low-tech technique of using different-colored index cards for each chapter. Annie Dillard tells writers, "Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Which will allow the editor to learn something and let her see the promise of the rest of the book? That shifts the conversation from an information dump (on me) to the story of whatever fired them up in the first place.


If the answer is, "Because my dissertation adviser told me to do it," I rarely expect the book to have much heat. Keep in mind that the response to your main argument can't be, "So what?" If you say you're examining the occurrence of butterflies in 19th-century novels because no one's ever looked at that before, it's probably not going to make it out of the cocoon of your brain. You may get so enmeshed in the work that you forget that others might not share your Ahab-like focus on one white whale. If you can remember what originally incited your interest, and narrate that story, you can draw someone in. Your job is to make it easy for the editor to say yes; being explicit about what the book is, who will buy it, and why you're the right person to write it will help both of you. For the purposes of a proposal, this section should be more detailed than what you're used to seeing on the back flap of a book jacket. Unless you're a famous, best-selling author or a celebrity, you'll need to do more than scratch some ink on the back of a cocktail napkin to snag a contract. If you're comfortable with PowerPoint, you can use that program to create an annotated table of contents. Figure out what's your most compelling stuff—the meat of the argument, the research that will surprise.
Which will show off your narrative skills, or your ability to make an argument using graphics?
Often it's a tale of discovery, of being surprised, of struggling to figure out the answer to a question that kept them up at night. This is where you connect the prose with the passion, and yes, even for academic books, or maybe, especially for academic books, there has to be passion.
Often, the overview section of a proposal can form the basis for an excellent introduction to the book. A table of contents for the submission package is an outline of the book you plan to write, and to do that, you have to know what the book is. Label each slide with the chapter title and make bullets for the important points you're going to develop.
Because they're used to doing abstracts of their work, boiling down ideas to their essence, and getting their "elevator pitch" down.
Have you spent two months doing research on this topic—in archives all over the world—or 20 years? What themes are coming through—threads you may not have realized when you were buried in your notes?



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