Professional Goals

Short Term Goals

Researching the Development of Gender and Sexuality Paradigms in Postwar Japan

Tokyo Pride 2015 Photo by: Ian Thomas Ash

Tokyo Pride 2015
Photo by: Ian Thomas Ash

While preparing to do story editing work for a documentary about young male sex workers in Japan who pleasure other men, I began to realize that I did not understand enough about how gender and sexuality are understood in contemporary Japan to provide the kind of careful, culturally-sensitive, thoughtful feedback I felt the film deserved. So I decided that I needed to delve in and conduct in-depth research about the development of gender and sexuality paradigms in Japan after the end of the WWII.

Tokyo Pride 2015 Photo by: Ian Thomas Ash

Tokyo Pride 2015
Photo by: Ian Thomas Ash

I began with the texts written and edited by Mark McLelland, who is recognized as the eminent scholar in the study of the expression of gender and sexuality in Japan. As I’ve been reading and thoughtfully engaging with these texts I am gaining a much deeper and more culturally rooted understanding of how Japanese people and culture express, think about, and engage with issues of gender and sexuality in contemporary Japan and the way in which these contemporary ideas were impacted both by the events of WWII as well as the American Occupation following the war.

This knowledge has already allowed me to make some significant suggestions to the directors of the film, which will help shape the content and narrative of the documentary. As I continue to read and learn more I hope not only to be able to offer more suggestions for the film, but also to work on other projects related to this research.

One thing I’m considering as a future project is applying for grants that would allow me to direct a feature-length documentary film focused on Japanese lesbians of the war generation. My research has made it clear how much these women and their same-sex desires were really silenced in Postwar Japan, and I would like to document the voices of these women before their voices are silenced forever by death. 

Long Term Goals

Learning to Speak and Read Japanese

I’ve found myself working on several Japanese language documentaries in production and story editing roles over the past several years (see my Film Work page for more info), and have begun to consider the possibility of directing my own documentary film, collaborating with a colleague who lives in Japan. In this process, I’ve begun to realize that I really need to learn at least basic Japanese to do this work well, so I’ve decided to try to learn to speak and read basic Japanese.

Some of my first practice sheets where I'm attempting to learn to write vowels in the Japanese Hiragana syllabary

Some of my first practice sheets where I’m attempting to learn to write vowels in the Japanese Hiragana syllabary

As a monolingual person who has tried unsuccessfully many times to learn a second language, this goal makes me nervous and uncomfortable. But I am not willing to let this stop me from trying. Because I study minority rhetorics as part of my work in the field of Composition, I am well aware of how much power language possesses and the importance of really being able to understand what people are saying by engaging with their words and ideas in an appropriate social and historical context. Having to constantly rely on translators inhibits my ability to gain this deeper understanding of the language choices being made by groups and individuals. So I feel like I owe it to myself and those I’m working with on Japanese films to attempt to learn the language so I have at least some direct access to what is being expressed by those whose lives are being documented.

In my other attempts to learn another language I’ve relied on classroom/textbook instruction as the basis of my education. Knowing that this approach doesn’t work for me, I’m taking a totally different approach this time, relying on websites, YouTube instructional videos, workbooks, audio recordings, and flashcards as foundational materials.

We’ll see how this goes…

Helping to Make Lane’s Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) More Student Accessible

I’m a member of Lane’s Assessment Committee or A-Team for short.  We’ve done a lot of really interesting work over the past few years trying to raise awareness of the CLOs and help faculty, staff, and students better understand the CLOs and their importance in the Liberal Arts educational framework at Lane.

One of the things I feel needs to happen in order to more deeply embed the CLOs in the culture of Lane is to make them more accessible to the students.  This will need to be a multi-part approach that will include making students more aware of CLOs, helping students see how the CLOs frame their educational experiences at Lane and build bridges between their individual courses, creating a version of the CLO descriptions that is clearly aimed at a student audience, and fostering peer-to-peer education about the CLOs.

I’ve volunteered to work as part of a sub committee of the A-Team that will be focused on doing the work mentioned above to make the CLOs more accessible to our students. In my role as CLO Coordinator beginning in fall of 2015 (see more about that here), I hope to foster and support the work of this subcommittee as we find ways to more directly engage students with the CLOs. 

I’ve tried a variety of strategies to make CLOs more visible to students in my classes, and am continuing to seek new strategies and ideas to deepen this visibility. In Spring 2014, Dakota MacColl, presented in a student panel at a workshop co-sponsored by the A-Team.  In this short clip (below) from her presentation, she speaks to part of her experience with CLOs in my WR122_H course and to some of the ways that I have been working with my students to make the CLOs more visible in my classes.  Her co-presenter, Mike Dann, speaks to the work that faculty in the Honors program is doing to make the CLOs more visible to students throughout the program. This work continues, with a cohort of Honors faculty creating a CLO rubric especially for the Honors program that can be used across classes. We finished the rubric in Spring 2015, and it can be viewed here.

I will continue to post about this work in the future.

Research Project Focused on the Use of Gender-based Minority Rhetorics in Documentary Films

I have a strong background in the general theoretical framework of Minority Rhetorics and have spent many years studying Black American Rhetoric as a specific Minority Rhetoric.  Over the past year, my desire to look at Women’s Minority Rhetorics has greatly increased, and recently I decided that I wanted to embark in a research project that would allow me to really explore this branch of Minority Rhetorics in depth. 

I’ve really been thinking about how I want to frame this research project. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that one of the many reasons I love documentary films is because they often provide a space for women to speak through the various silences imposed on them by culture, society, and governments.  As a result, I decided that I wanted to frame my research project with the following inquiry question: (How) do documentary films provide a space for women to use Minority Rhetorics to break through the silences often imposed on them by culture, society, and governments due to their gender? 

This is a research process that will take place over a several year span and result in a conference presentation and hopefully also a publication.

Maintaining an ePortfolio

I’m working on crafting my own ePorfolio both as a model for my WR122_H students and also as a step toward my own professional growth into the 21st century.  If you’re reading this, you’ve seen the progress I’ve made toward this goal so far.  While my ePortfolio is skeletal at the moment, for someone like me who doesn’t really see herself as a “tech person” and struggles to keep up with technology, I feel like even the skeletal stage of my ePortfolio reflects a significant amount of learning, experimentation, and risk-taking on my part.  I’ve blogged through my process of creating my ePortfolio, and you can find my reflections (and a bit of ranting) in this blog.

While the creation of this ePortfolio has certainly presented me with some challenges, not the least of which is carving out time to work on it, I’m really enjoying the process.  It is wonderful to be able to engage actively in reflecting upon aspects of my professional and personal life and where I am in my own journey and to have a place to post and share these reflections with those who are interested.  I also love having a place were I can post the “results” of my recent work, such as syllabi for courses or presentation materials I’ve put together.  It’s nice to have one centralized location where I can collect and post such materials and then reflect on the experiences that led me to creating them as well as on the process of teaching or presenting them.

Helping to Re-Think Assessment on Lane’s Campus

In January 2013 I officially joined the “A-Team” (Assessment Team) at Lane.  As a team, we work together to examine how assessment is currently being done on campus, how we might research the effectiveness of these assessment practices, and ways in which we might improve our own assessment processes and provide support for other individuals and groups on campus to work re-thinking assessment.  Our Assessment website provides detailed information on the A-Team, projects we’ve done, and things we’re working on, as well as general information about assessment at Lane.  I will continue to work on this committee, helping to deepen the understanding of and engagement with assessment at Lane into the future.