Wednesday, 4 January 2012

a 2011 retrospective

What a year! I'm coming to the end of my one year full-time contract at Griffith now (filling in for Dr B while she was on research leave) and I'm heading back in to life as a sessional while I finish off my PhD. It was a busy year with its ups and downs, where I tried to develop my profile in a few areas for the job hunt ahead.

In terms of teaching, I'm very happy with how all of my courses went in 2011. The teams involved in Youth & Society and Social Sciences in Australia did a fantastic job, and it was a pleasure working alongside my friends and colleagues: Adele, Bob, Chris, Raphael and Shanene. In Social Sciences in Aus, it was a great pleasure to use the new textbook 'Think Sociology', which I collaborated on with Dr B and a team of sociologists from around Australia. The smaller course Youth Culture and Subculture, which I delivered myself, was also a joy, and it was great to work with the third-years on their small-scale ehtnographies. This course is a tribute to Dr B's marvellous skills in designing an advanced course. It ran like a dream! In addition to positive anecdotal evidence and feedback from students, all our courses performed very well in their formal evaluations, ranking highly in comparison to other courses in the academic group.

Social Sciences in Aus team - Bob, myself, and Raphael (rent-a-fence not included)

My service in 2011 was dominated by my role as First Year Advisor to the School of Humanities, which was thoroughly enjoyable. From fielding timetabling questions before matriculation at the beginning of my contract through to helping students heading in to their second year with selecting majors right up until Christmas, it has been a very busy and rewarding role. I'm proud of the retention strategies we've implemented (with my colleague from Nathan campus, Wendy), along with the various steps we've taken to improve the first year experience in all three of our programs - the Bachelor of Communications, Bachelor of Journalism and the Bachelor of Arts.

I've met and built relationships with so many inspiring scholars over the past year, both nationally, at events like the Griffith Uni Cultural Research Postgraduate Symposium and the annual meeting of The Australian Sociological Association, and internationally, at my first Internet Researchers conference in Seattle, IR12.

Dr Erika in Seattle, with friendly cushion
New #ir12 buddies!

I'm very excited about progress made on two projects I'm working on with my supervisor Andy Bennett, the first being a special issue of Continuum on 'Mediated Youth Cultures' featuring thirteen thoroughly fascinating articles on topics including YouTube graffiti communities, MySpace mottos, youth net-radio, sexting, Japanese novels consumed on mobile phones, and transnational youth refugee networks. One of my own articles, titled "Leaving MySpace, joining Facebook: ‘Growing up’ on social network sites", will also be in the special issue. It has been such a pleasure working with Andy, the contributors and the external reviewers on this project. More on this when it is published hopefully in June. The other project is a book proposal for an edited collection on the same topic, again featuring an international assortment of fantastic scholarship, but the proposal is still under review so more on that front at a later date.

Anyway, this post is already a mile too long, but I shall end by saying that I've also made some solid progress on my thesis over what others call 'the break'. I've had a couple of things come out, and I've also got a couple of new journal articles in the pipes too, so I haven't had to sacrifice too much of 'my own' work/research given the above. In all, a productive year, I think!