Professional Development

Suggestions for Working in a Peer Review Team

August 30th, 2016 by Kenya Hudson

This post is written by Candis Pizzetta, Associate Vice President of Research & Scholarly Engagement and an associate professor of English at Jackson State University.  She also helms the Center for University Scholars.

Below are some suggestions for working in a Peer Review Team.  Keep in mind that these are suggestions and not requirements.

  1. Positive Feedback:  Advise everyone to start positive with a compliment, then offer honest, but objective, well-supported and practical advice, and then conclude with another commendation.  Continuously reinforce the message that no one is served when criticism is withheld; only focused, writing-centered (not writer-centered) commentary will help the writer grow.
  2. Vary the Routine:  Sometimes you may choose to read part of a draft aloud to your group and other times you may email a writing sample a week ahead of time to give others a chance to read and critique before the next meeting.  You may share notes on a group member's draft but only discuss a small portion of the suggested changes.  Try holding a writing session every now and then: everyone comes to the group, writes for an hour, takes turns reading part or all of their resulting selection for 5-10 minutes, and then receives feedback of 1-2 minutes from each group member.
  3. Do Your Homework:  Establish expectations for feedback.  When you read the writing of other group members, take notes, write down questions, suggestions, and compliments.  Be specific when you critique, praising a vivid description in particular or recommending more explanation or clarification with detailed advice.  Also, be willing to take the critique to heart.  You are investing a great deal of time and energy into the process, so part of your homework is to be open to feedback.
  4. Ask Questions:  Focus not on telling others what to do but on asking questions to help them decide what to do.  If you don't understand something, or you feel that details are lacking, ask for an explanation or background information.  Then, gently advise the author to incorporate their response into the draft.
  5. Take a Break:  At regular intervals, step back from the critiquing cycle to meet just to advise or brainstorm about how to organize notes, do research, or work on essay structure.  In other words, you can function as a Scholarly Writers' Accountability Group every now and then.  Several times a year, go to an event on campus or watch a movie together and then brainstorm on how you could connect that external event activity to your research.
  6. Check-In:  Periodically evaluate how the group is doing.  Are your meetings too often, not often enough, or just right?  Too long, not long enough, or ideal?  Is someone missing too many meetings or wall-flowering, or does one person dominate the meetings?  Is everybody getting what they want out of the experience?
  7. Set Boundaries from the Start:  What's the procedure when somebody's not fitting in?  What do you do when one or more members drop out, or one or more members feel like increasing the number of people in the group?  How do you recruit, and how do you decide whether to accept candidates?  Establish and review your membership policies.

Above all, remember that although the group is a democratic body that should operate by consensus, you as the founder, must continue to moderate the proceedings and nudge everyone to always honor its principles and purposes.

Thursday, September 15, 2016
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
JSU INNOVATE Classroom, 1st Floor of the H.T. Sampson Library

Photo of Erin DolanJoin us as we explore approaches to and methods of mentoring undergraduates as part of course-based and extracurricular undergraduate research programs. Erin Dolan is the Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Innovative Science Education in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department at the University of Georgia.  Her research group investigates scalable ways of engaging students in science research and mentoring of undergraduate researchers from a social capital perspective.  

She is PI or Co-PI on more than $6 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and other agencies as well as Editor-in-Chief of CBE-Life Sciences Education, the leading biology education journal.  Dolan was the founding director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Sciences, an undergraduate teaching initiative of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas Austin.

Registration is requested so we can plan for your presence.

Fill out my online form.

Sept. 8: FEAP: Tenure & Promotion Discussion

August 29th, 2016 by Kenya Hudson

Thursday, September 8, 2016
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Theater, 2nd Floor of the JSU Student Center

Join us for presentations by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and a panel of experienced reviewers from various colleges.  An informal question and answer session follows the presentations.  The event's goals are (1) to familiarize faculty with department, college and university tenure and procedures and timelines; (2) to explore best practices for documentation and record-keeping; (3) to discuss approaches to compiling and organizing the tenure application and dossier; and (4) to consider optimal approaches to balancing conflict demands and allocating their time and resources.

This event is designed for probationary tenure-track faculty and associate professors seeking tenure and promotion.  We encourage faculty applying for tenure and promotion in the 2016-2017 cycle and the 2017-2018 cycle.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
JSU INNOVATE, 1st Floor of the H.T. Sampson Library

This interest meeting acquaints participants with the learning strategies and opportunities offered by the Academy for Research & Scholarly Engagement.  Faculty will be able to talk with personnel from the Center for University Scholars and Sponsored Programs about their research ideas, potential funding matches and best practices for compiling a compelling application for the Academy.  Refreshments will be provided.

Workshop: Planning Productive Summers (Apr. 7)

March 24th, 2016 by Kenya Hudson

Flyer, Information replicated on text.

Thursday, April 7, 2016
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
JSU INNOVATE Classroom, 1st Floor of the H.T. Sampson Library


Designed to help faculty think through their goals and activities for the upcoming summer term, this workshop covers the difference between goals for the summer and those during the academic year; types of experiences including summer programs, conferences or institutes that impacted your productivity; impact of summers on your energy and enthusiasm for research and teaching; and on- and off-campus collaborations for the summer.

Light refreshments will be provided.



Flyer, Information replicated in text.Thursday, March 31, 2016
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
JSU INNOVATE Classroom, 1st Floor of the H.T. Sampson Library


Designed to help mid-career faculty understand and consider positions of academic leadership (e.g. departmental chair and program or center director), this workshop explores the traditional and "people" skills needed for success as an academic leader, considerations in strategically selecting service and leadership roles that can lead to success in future academic leadership positions, duties and responsibilities of departmental chairs, the workload of departmental chairs and the challenge of maintaining work-life balance, the extent to which faculty can and do maintain their own active research/creative agendas while in academic leadership positions, and changes in relationships with colleagues who one now supervises and/or evaluates.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Brown Bag Research Talk: Digital Pedagogy (Mar. 22)

March 22nd, 2016 by Kenya Hudson

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Holden Reading Room, 4th Floor of the H.T. Sampson Library


Join us for Dr. Ingrad Smith's research talk, "Digital Pedagogy: There Is A Difference."  Dr. Smith is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership.  Join us for an engaging talk and light refreshments!

Flyer, Information Replicated in Text.