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Kathleen Fitzpatrick on the Power of Generous Thinking

Kathleen Fitzpatrick gave the 2019 Munro Lecture

“What might be possible for us if we were to retain the social commitment that motivates our critical work, while stepping off the field of competition?” Kathleen Fitzpatrick asked a rapt audience at SFU’s Harbour Centre last Wednesday, “We would have to open ourselves to the possibility that our ideas might be wrong.”

Fitzpatrick is Director of Digital Humanities at Michigan State University, the former Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, and—most recently—the invited speaker at this year’s Munro Lecture at SFU.

Named after Jock Munro—an economist and former SFU Vice-President, Academic—the lecture series has hosted a number of acclaimed scholars over the years, including Linda Tuhiwai Smith on decolonizing the research process and Arthur Hanson on China’s green economy. This year’s edition continued the conversation started during last fall’s President’s Dream Colloquium on Making Knowledge Public.

Juan Pablo Alperin, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Joanne Curry at the Munro Lecture on Generous Thinking
Juan Pablo Alperin, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Joanne Curry at the Munro Lecture on Generous Thinking

In her talk, Fitzpatrick discussed the individualistic nature of academic life and how it impedes the relationships that exist between universities and the communities that surround them. Drawing from her newly released book, Generous Thinking, she explored the many challenges that stand in the way of a more engaged academic system and offered a radical approach to how overcoming them—starting with a complete shift in how we think about public scholarship.

Her passionate appeal resonated with many in the audience, with nods, sighs, and the occasional “Yeah!” permeating the presentation. “Generous thinking,” it seems, had been on many listeners’ minds.

As John Maxwell, Director of SFU’s Publishing Department, aptly put it, “Kathleen Fitzpatrick has elegantly articulated what many academics have been thinking—that the black and white framing of university and society is not serving anyone well, and that our culture of internal competitiveness undermines any effort to be engaged and relevant.”

So what can today’s academics do to become more engaged, relevant, and connected?

“All… possibilities begin with cultivating the ability to think generously,” Fitzpatrick offered at the end of her lecture, “To listen to one another.”  

Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Munro Lecture on Generous Thinking was presented in partnership with the SFU President’s Office, SFU Public Square, and SFU’s School of Publishing. For those who missed it, a video is available from the SFU Library.


This blog post was first published on the Scholarly Communications Lab Blog, and has been reposted here with permission.  



Making Research Knowledge Public Award | Interview with recipients Hannah McGregor and Juan Pablo Alperin

SFU Publishing's Hannah McGregor looking happy and vibrant in downtown Vancouver.
SFU Publishing’s Hannah McGregor is a recipient of the Research Excellence Award for Making Research Knowledge Public. Photo by Christopher M Turbulence.

“Sometimes people need to be told that your work is for them, or invited in some way,” says Hannah McGregor, an assistant professor in Simon Fraser University’s Publishing Department and the host and producer of the podcast Secret Feminist Agenda. “There are lots of ways to invite people into your work, but I think one of the best is to think about the kind of language and media that you use.”

The podcast, which she describes as “a weekly discussion of the insidious, nefarious, insurgent, and mundane ways we enact our feminism in our daily lives,” is just one of the many ways McGregor invites the public to engage with her work. She’s also active on social media, a co-editor of a new book exploring the state of Canadian Literature, and the organizer of Publishing Unbound, a workshop that brought together authors, activists, scholars, and publishing professionals to discuss inclusivity and accountability in Canadian Literature.

As of this December, she is also a co-recipient—with ScholCommLab director Juan Pablo Alperin—of the inaugural Research Excellence Award for Making Research Knowledge Public. Adjudicated by a university-wide panel, the award was jointly presented to the duo in recognition of their “demonstrated excellence in making research outcomes and insights public and in engaging new communities with scholarly or artistic work.”

Juan Pablo Alperin (centre) at the Research Excellence Award ceremony with SFU Publishing Director John Maxwell and FCAT Associate Dean Stuart Poyntz
Juan Pablo Alperin (centre) at the Research Excellence Award ceremony with SFU Publishing Director John Maxwell and FCAT Associate Dean Stuart Poyntz

Like McGregor, Alperin is an assistant professor in the Publishing Department and a strong believer in the importance of public scholarship. But while McGregor takes a public-focused approach to making research knowledge public, Alperin’s work is centred within the academic system itself—dedicated to investigating the ins and outs of open access publishing, the barriers that prevent academics from engaging in public scholarship, and more.

In celebration of the award, we asked Alperin and McGregor to share their views on making research knowledge public and the challenges that sometimes stand in the way.

What does “making research knowledge public” look like to you? 

Juan Pablo Alperin: I see open access as a very basic, initial step toward making research knowledge public. We never know who in society might care about our work, regardless of how niche an audience we might have in mind. My own research and other evidence points to the fact that there are members of the public who want to know. Even if faculty don’t want to change anything else about what they do, they can make sure that their research is at least accessible to anyone who wants to see it. For me, making research knowledge public is about enabling and supporting an ecosystem in which that becomes the norm.

Hannah McGregor: I think open access should be the default and baseline, particularly for journals. But access goes beyond just paywalls; it also has to do with language and discoverability. Journals—open access or not—still circulate within particular systems of discoverability that are available mostly to people who know how universities work.

The side of things that I have been working on is what my colleague Jon Bath calls public-first scholarship. I’ve been thinking about what it means to do your work in the public from the get-go, rather than doing it within the university and then making it public later. I’m making podcasts, because podcasts are not a university medium. They are a medium that has their own logic, a logic that is inherently open and inherently public-facing. I want the audience for my work to not be precluded by people who have access to scholarship.

What are the top challenges when it comes to public scholarship? 

JPA: What I see as the biggest challenge is getting academics to think and care about non-academic audiences—to start believing that making research available matters. Everyone cares in a very abstract way, but not everyone thinks about non-academic audiences as important constituents who they have a duty to share their work with. We need to shift that perspective so that faculty see public scholarship as a primary objective of their work, and not way down the list of things they have to do. We need to make it a priority.

“We need to shift that perspective so that faculty see public scholarship as a primary objective of their work, and not way down the list of things they have to do. We need to make it a priority.”—Juan Pablo Alperin

HM: For me, it’s the finitude of our time and energies. I’ve been working on my podcast for a year and a half. I love making it, but I also can do almost nothing else while I’m working on it. Many, many scholars doing this kind of work have been facing this challenge for ages: you end up having to do twice the work. You have to do all of the traditionally recognized scholarship in order to secure a job and then secure promotion and tenure. But at the same time, you want to do this other work—the work that, in my view, really matters.

The podcast is great and brings me a lot of public interest in my work. But can I get tenure for a podcast? Maybe not.

If you could change one thing…

HM: I’d like to see some pretty significant transformations in how, at the departmental level, research is valued. I think non-traditional scholarly options need to be taken seriously as the primary output of scholars. Based in part on conversations that I’ve had with other academics and in part on research that came out of this lab on public scholarship and the degree to which it’s represented in tenure and promotion documents, we know that the vast majority of university departments do not care about public scholarship. They care about published journal articles in peer-reviewed journals. People have finite energy, and if one thing is going to get you a job and the other is going to get you a thumbs up, but ultimately no financial security, what thing are you going to choose?

“Non-traditional scholarly options need to be taken seriously as the primary output of scholars… People have finite energy, and if one thing is going to get you a job and the other is going to get you a thumbs up, but ultimately no financial security, what thing are you going to choose?”—Hannah McGregor

What do you think researchers could do better? 

JPA: There’s a lot more that could be done around sharing, disseminating, and talking about our work in a wide range of venues. We need to look for broader audiences for our research—be that by posting on social media, doing outreach to media, or creating infographics and other simplified forms of communicating our results.

We need to widen our conception of who our audience is. An audience could be anyone, so just put your research out there in slightly different forms and different ways—as many as come to mind and as you have time and resources for.

This blog post was first published on the Scholarly Communications Lab Blog, and has been reposted here with permission.  


Subverting the Genre: Connie Walker on Podcasting and Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

As Connie Walker’s hit podcasts, Missing & Murdered—”Who Killed Alberta Williams,” and, “Finding Cleo”—approach the 20 million download mark, we take you behind the stories, into the editorial decision making, and into the struggles behind one of Canada’s most downloaded podcasts. How has the media transformed over the last five years when reporting in Indigenous communities? What is the importance of understanding the role of trauma in our communities in our news and feature stories?

Following a public talk, Connie will be joined by Ryan McMahon, creator, writer, and host of the Thunder Bay podcast, for a Q&A with the audience.

Connie Walker is an award-winning investigative reporter and host of the CBC News podcast, Missing & Murdered. In 2017, “Missing & Murdered: Who killed Alberta Williams?” won the RTDNA’s Adrienne Clarkson Award and was nominated for a Webby Award. Walker and colleagues at the CBC’s Indigenous Unit, won multiple awards including the 2016 Canadian Association of Journalists’ Don McGillivray investigative award, a Canadian Screen Award and the prestigious Hillman Award for its “Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls” interactive website.

Walker is from the Okanese First Nation, in Saskatchewan. She currently lives with her family in Toronto.

This talk is presented as part of the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit

As Connie Walker’s hit podcasts, Missing & Murdered—”Who Killed Alberta Williams,” and, “Finding Cleo”—approach the 20 million download mark, we take you behind the stories, into the editorial decision making, and into the struggles behind one of Canada’s most downloaded podcasts. How has the media transformed over the last five years when reporting in Indigenous communities? What is the importance of understanding the role of trauma in our communities in our news and feature stories?

February 13, 2019

7:00pm  to 9:00 pm | Room 100 | Asia Pacific Hall

SFU Centre for Dialogue | 580 West Hastings Street

Admission is free, but reserve your seat through Eventbright


Publishing undergraduate design students exhibition: The Sum of Our Memories

The PUB 431 exhibition explores different facets of memory while investigating the formats of publication and the act of publishing itself, to explore how form and content can affect the experience of reading the material at hand. The exhibition features unique student projects on the theme of memory.

Nostalgic candy will be provided to enhance the experience while supplies last.

Find out more at fb.me/pub431memories

 


Using Online Annotations to Promote Learning

Juan Pablo Alperin (Publishing Program) has been using an online annotation tool to facilitate reading-based discussions in his classes. Now he wants to share the tool with other instructors.
Juan Pablo Alperin (Publishing Program) has been using an online annotation tool to facilitate reading-based discussions in his classes. Now he wants to share the tool with other instructors.

By Mark Bachmann, Teaching and Learning Centre 

“For four years, Juan Pablo Alperin has been using an online annotation tool called Hypothes.is to generate reading-based discussions in his classes. The results have been so positive that this year he applied for a Dewey Fellowship (a teaching and learning–focused position granted by SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines) in order to spread the word.

‘I applied for the fellowship because I’m so excited,’ says Alperin, an assistant professor in the Master of Publishing program. ‘I want to use it to get more people to know about this option.'”

Read the full story on the Teaching and Learning Centre blog.


Publishing Program Sessional Instructor and TA Postings Spring 2019

The Publishing Program is accepting Sessional Instructor and TA applications for the Spring 2019 (1191) semester.

Publishing Sessional Postings Spring 2019 (1191)

PUB Sessional Hiring Practices

Sessional Instructor Application Deadline : Friday, November 2 (4:30pm)

 

Publishing TA Postings Spring 2019 (1191)

Publishing TA:TM Priority

TA Application Deadline: Tuesday, November 6 (4:30pm)

 

 


SFU Library Travel Scholarship for OpenCon 2018

OpenCon is the conference and community for students and early career academic professionals interested in advancing Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data. OpenCon 2018 will be held on November 2-4 in Toronto, Canada. Each year, OpenCon brings together a diverse, representative, and engaged group of participants, with travel scholarships available to most participants. For this reason, attendance at OpenCon 2018 is by application only.

The benefits of applying for OpenCon 2018 extend far beyond attending the Toronto meeting. It’s an opportunity to find collaborators, get connected with scholarships to attend related conferences, and be recognized by the community for the work you do to promote Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data.

Complete and submit the application form by August 1, 2018 to apply for the Simon Fraser University Library travel scholarship to attend OpenCon 2018. Simon Fraser University graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are eligible to apply through this form. The Simon Fraser University Library will decide which applicant will receive the scholarship, and applicants will be notified by August 31, 2018.

**please note: the SFU Library scholarship includes registration to OpenCon. The scholarship is not restricted to those already accepted to attend.**


Illustrious Alumni: Heidi Waechtler on how her career has come full-circle

Heidi Waechtler was once an MPub student—and now she’s the Executive Director of the Association of Book Publishers of BC (or ABPBC, which being able to say quickly and correctly is almost a right of passage for Master of Publishing students).

She sat down to answer the questions we all have as we’re nervously researching, applying, and starting the degree: why did you choose this program? What doors did it open for you? And was it worth it?

Check out her responses below:

“My decision to apply to the MPub program began with what you would now call FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out.’ (Okay, I didn’t enter the program that long ago.) I had friends who were completing the program or had recently finished, and even though I already held a certificate in editing from SFU, was working in a publishing-related job (as the project coordinator for the Magazine Association of British Columbia), and had begun building a professional network, I realized from hearing about the assignments my friends were working on that there was still a lot I didn’t know about the actual business of publishing. The program made sense to me as a way to ground what I knew in a combination of academic study and practical training, and to receive feedback from working industry professionals along the way.

After completing the coursework, I ended up doing my internship in the editorial department at McClelland & Stewart in Toronto, and eventually became the managing editor at Coach House Books, where I worked for four years. In both roles I had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the country’s top publishing professionals and authors. Two years ago, I moved back to Vancouver to take on the position of executive director of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia – bringing me back almost full circle to an industry-facing role where I now draw on my experience to work on policy, marketing, and business development initiatives on behalf of the province’s book publishers.

Looking back on the late nights spent in the MPub project rooms with my colleagues, I realize the most important thing I took away from the program – besides how to do a P&L or write an effective call to action – was the knowledge that if I were capable of managing the complex, open-ended assignments in a condensed timeframe, I could manage whatever challenges the real publishing world would present me with. Write snappy yet intelligent sales copy for a book that wasn’t yet completed? I’d done it before. Come up with an idea for out-of-the-box promotional swag to include with a review copy? I had a couple of vendors in mind already. Proofread a manuscript overnight so we could rush it off to press? Hand me a coffee, and consider it done.

There are realities about the industry I could have only learned on the job, but the MPub program helped me become more confident in my own ability to see a project through to completion and also – thanks to the aforementioned project-room time – more humble about the value of collaboration.”


Digital Fellow Position for Fall 2018

The Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL) invites applications for the DH Fellow program for the Fall 2018 semester.  DH Fellows are graduate student positions that support the research, training, and outreach mandates of the DHIL.

Working in collaboration with the DHIL planning committee, the DH Fellow will contribute to the technical development of lab-associated digital research projects, provide training on digital tools via workshops and consultations, and participate in lab hosted events and programming.

The posting is available on the SFU Library website. Please contact dhil@sfu.ca with any questions or to discuss the posting.