Make Every Experience Count

Getting a reference letter can be challenging and often frustrating. Who to ask, how to ask, and what to say are common concerns. What if I told you it can be easier than you think. Lifehacker suggests asking volunteer jobs for reference letters. We all know that including your volunteer experiences is a great way to fluff up your resume, why not take it a step further and ask for a reference letter. What a great way to honor your volunteer work while also gaining giving potential employers valuable feedback on your volunteer work experience.

Surviving Social Media

“Whoops! Didn’t mean to post that.” After posting a comment or picture we realize it wasn’t a good idea. It happens, brush it off and take the advice of Belle Beth Cooper, she sums up 7 biggest counterintuitive social media mistakes you may be making.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are good for advertising, communicating, and most popular socializing. When using these sites there are a few rules to consider. For instance, publishing when no one’s online, not so smart. You don’t always have to publish your post the moment you write it. If you think of an interesting tweet at 2am, it’s okay to write it down and tweet in the morning when more people are awake. “Holding back when we’ve finished a great new post could actually be more useful for us, though,” says Cooper. It takes effort to create new content, why waste something you have worked hard on. Keep calm and share it with the world at the right moment, especially if you have a feeling it’s really good.

One thing I have learned in Digital Rhetoric this semester is to consider “who is my audience and their importance.” Be careful not to talk to the wrong people. For example, “If more men read blogs at night than women, you’ll probably want to post earlier in the day if women are your target audience.” Don’t publish when it’s convenient for you, be suitable for your audience. Whether or not we admit it, we write and post to capture an audience.

Don’t be a victim of a whoops moment, take the time and read Belle Beth Cooper’s counterintuitive advice and see more examples of common social media mistakes. Remember, social media should be handled with care like fine china.

Open Positions: Experience Architecture

Michigan State University, College of Arts and Letters

Experience Architecture Cluster

The College of Arts & Letters seeks faculty for our new undergraduate major in Experience Architecture, a program built in collaboration with the College of Engineering and anchored in the strategy, inquiry, and creative production of interactive experience in the digital and physical world. We invite applications for a multidisciplinary team that embraces design thinking and is dedicated to a common set of values: creativity, teamwork, participation, and inquiry. Successful candidates will be committed to engaging students in real-world problems within the larger cultural shift from a consumer culture to a participatory society increasingly defined by mediated experiences. The ideal candidates will have excellent research backgrounds in their disciplinary fields. But they will also be eager to work across disciplinary boundaries to build new areas of study and contribute to new models of research, outreach and engagement, teaching and learning.

In addition to collaborating in the development of the Experience Architecture B.A., faculty will be encouraged to take part in other College of Arts and Letters initiatives in the Digital Humanities, and to engage in grant activity to support research within and across new programs and initiatives. New faculty will join the relevant vibrant department (Art, Art History and Design; Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures) as described below.

Experience Architecture
Tenure System – Assistant Professor
Writing, Rhetoric, & American Cultures

The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University seeks a colleague in Experience Architecture, Interaction Design, or Content Strategy. We are interested in scholars who engage in critical and creative modes of inquiry, and whose teaching and research interests and experience includes one or more of the following areas: information architecture, user-experience research, interaction design, project management. Industry or consulting experience in these areas is welcomed. This is an academic year, tenure system faculty position at the Assistant Professor level to begin Fall 2014.

WRAC’s mission is to offer culturally and technologically relevant writing instruction, focused on processes of inquiry. WRAC is home to cutting-edge research on digital writing practices, professional and technical writing, community literacies, and cultural rhetorics. Further information about the department is available at

Known internationally as a major U.S. public university with global reach, Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research, and outreach for nearly 150 years. MSU is a member of the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the Big Ten athletic conference. Michigan State University is home to the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, designed by world renowned architect Zaha Hadid, a premier venue for modern and contemporary art.

Applicants should hold a PhD or other terminal degree in rhetoric, writing, or a related field.

The ideal candidate will bring enthusiastic willingness to work collaboratively with colleagues in the department and college. Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) houses programs that include first-year writing, an undergraduate major in professional writing, and a graduate program in rhetoric and writing. Depending on precise area of expertise, major teaching responsibilities may include such courses as web authoring, information/interaction design, project management, digital rhetoric, and user experience research. Faculty will have the opportunity to contribute to graduate programs in the department and to college initiatives in digital humanities; other expectations include an active research agenda leading to publication, grant activity, and contributions to outreach and engagement.

Applications should include a statement of interest describing qualifications and experience and a c.v.
Apply at posting number 8590

Review of applications will begin December 1, 2013, and continue until position is filled.

For inquiries contact Search Committee Chair Laura Julier at or 517-355-2400.


Experience Architecture

Specialist – Curriculum Development
College of Arts & Letters

The College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University seeks a dynamic and creative full-time, annual year, faculty member for the new position of Experience Architecture Specialist. The Experience Architecture Specialist is responsible for curriculum development, research support and teaching in the new Experience Architecture (XA) B.A. program. The successful candidate will work in a creative team atmosphere and will provide input and guidance to faculty and units in the college on XA courses, research projects, co-curricular opportunities, and community engagement projects. This person will play a critical role in supporting and expanding XA research and pedagogy at MSU as the new program grows.

The XA Specialist will assist and participate in grant seeking and funded projects, contribute to faculty development by creating and teaching workshops on a variety of technology focused areas, and will coordinate experiential learning opportunities for XA students with community and industry partners.
Excellent writing and communication skills are required along with strong organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple projects at once. The successful candidate will be comfortable working in an academic environment in the arts and humanities, but equally experienced in industry or non-profit organizations engaged in the strategy and execution of user experience in interface design, information architecture, content management, or related areas.

Work in partnership with faculty and students to grow the new degree, recruit students, and ensure their success through to graduate and placement.
Work in a team environment on academic research, effective instruction methods and creative initiatives.
Work directly with faculty researchers to provide project definition and analysis, such as project scope, requirements, specifications and/or design.
Evaluate existing tools and technologies, and investigate emerging technologies to identify potential uses in XA research, teaching, & learning.
Coordinate and, where needed, provide training, group instruction, or workshops on topics related to XA.
Coordinate, develop, organize and lead events and programs including presentations, talks, workshops, and demonstrations to inform prospective students, parents, industry and community partners, and faculty about the new degree program.

Annual Year Appointment – 12 Months
Fixed Term Academic Staff

Proficiency & excellence with Experience Architecture projects and deliverables as demonstrated in a digital portfolio. Experience teaching or leading workshops on XA topics or methods. Minimum 3 years experience working collaboratively with others (scholars and/or IT professionals) on XA projects. Excellent communication skills. Strong knowledge of current trends in XA. Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills, including the ability to convey technical concepts to non-technical audiences. Experience working with faculty in an educational setting.

Applications should include letter, a current curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation and link to online portfolio demonstrating relevant experience and skills.
Apply at posting number 8591

Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2013 and continue until the position has been filled.

Dr. William Hart-Davidson, search committee chair, is available to answer questions related to this search. He can be reached by email at:

First Year Writing Featured Teachers: Kate Fedewa and Kathryn Houghton

two persons photographed against a gray wallWRAC is proud to introduce you to Kate Fedewa and Kathryn Houghton, MSU first year writing (FYW) teachers that have taken up the task of collaborative teaching this semester.

They each bring different teaching styles that offer more learning preferences for students. Like any form of collaborative task, successful collaborative teaching amalgamates the strengths of multiple viewpoints. Individuality doesn’t exist, they have to always be in communication come to a consensus that works for both. Together they have taken on the best and worst experiences that can take place in a classroom.

In their courses this semester Kate and Kathryn share responsibilities and evenly distribute tasks, such as a lesson plans and in-class teaching. They tag team throughout the class period with one person in front of the class, while the other person walks around and interacts with students. Team teaching is their creative approach to the course. They’re also modeling collaborative teaching for their students by having them work in groups.

Kathryn offers a word of wisdom to future collaborative professors, “Know the person before hand. Ask yourself, are we going to be compatible and are our values the same.”  When they sit and plan for the course it’s not just another meeting, “It’s sitting and chatting with someone who is a friend”, said Kate. Collaborative teaching may require an increase in time spent planning, but when the time is spent with someone who is also a friend or trusted colleague it’s all the more worth it.

As the semester roles by, they approach it as a learning experience. As they learn, their students are learning too. WRAC and the FYW program are honored to have these two faculty members who are willing to put in the extra time and energy required with collaborative teaching.