What are my pedagogical interests?
Mentoring humanities graduate students as they consider career options outside the tenure track is my passion as well as my ethical duty. Faculty members mean well when they address the difficulties of the job market based on how they were able to become successful applicants. Professors may even become vocal advocates of alternative careers as they confront the national gap between the number of doctorates awarded and the number of positions available. But those who are best situated to speak to students' concerns and their practical needs are people who have recently gone through the academic job market, found employment elsewhere, and can advise on how best to make this shift. As a 2013 PhD in twentieth-century poetry, I entered a saturated job market, but graduated with a full-time job through a postdoctoral program that led to a career in academic libraries. I am keen to pass on my tips and tricks, whether that means reading your job letter, prepping interview questions, or simply listening as you reimagine what your life will look like. And I am an avid advocate for graduate students in local and national settings. Simply email me for help at amy-chen [at] uiowa.edu.
I joke game development is peer review on steroids. While a paper might go through a panel of two or three expert readers before being rejected, revised, or accepted for publication, a game must undergo dozens, if not hundreds of play tests with a variety of audiences before it can become a viable product. Teaching game design is a way to help undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty learn how to take criticism and constantly improve. And the iterative learning takes place at a variety of different levels. Designers must consider subject knowledge, user experience, graphic design, and accessibility standards while learning the value of copyright vs. open access options and how best to scaffold learning objectives within the games themselves as well as through companion curricula.
Combining evidence-based practice with personal insights drawn from my life as a humanities PhD and librarian, my current book project Minimalist Academic: Do More with Less in your Research, Teaching, Service, and Life teaches readers to tackle their work efficiently and effectively. Designed to be a guidebook, each topic in Minimalist Academic is given one page. A short explanation at the top of the page explains how to hack the subject while bullet points below provide a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) summary.