Ryan in Brooklyn

Welcome to students, colleagues, mentors, friends and family alike!

I am the newest member of the faculty of the Department of Business Management at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland as an Assistant Professor, where I will be teaching Marketing and Digital Marketing classes starting Fall 2015 (coming in spring… a new course on Consumer Behavior!).

I hold a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Oregon‘s School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Oregon, a MA in Media Studies from The New School for Public Engagement, and a BA in Communication and Digital Art from Wake Forest University.

My research interests pertain to the ways in which mobile technologies reshape interpersonal interactions, particularly in hybrid public/private environments. Restaurants, bars, and other gathering places have been of particular interest.

Find out more about me…

I will be the very first to admit that I am beyond lucky to be in the very small minority of (soon-to-be) graduates from PhD programs who landed a tenure-track job; as it so happens, I will be starting as an Assistant Professor at Washington College in the Department of Business Management in the fall. I’ll save my gushing for another post, but I’m thrilled to be in a department where I can do applied rather than theoretical research, and I’m very excited to have teaching as my primary focus.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited, along with my colleague and friend Senyo Ofori-Parku (who, like me, was hired into a tenure-track job over the holidays; he will be heading to the University of Alabama, where he will join our former SOJC colleague Toby Hopp in the APR) to talk to other SOJC doctoral students about the job market and what looking for a position requires.

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Timer set at 50 minutes

Though I have purchased a couple of Tim Ferriss‘s books, typically I don’t subscribe to shortcuts and hacks and so forth for increasing productivity, mainly because they never seem to work for me (or, if they do, I can’t make them stick and become habit). However, there is one trick in particular that I learned from my former orthodontist and mentor Dr. Sarah Shoaf, who has more alphabets after her name than anyone else I know, and it has helped me immensely in my efforts to plow through my dissertation proposal, piles of grading, and various other projects. And it’s shockingly simple.

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For those of you who are familiar with the goings-on at the University of Oregon, the GTFF 3544 (the union that approximately half of all UO graduate students belong to, particularly if they have teaching assignments) is currently on strike. This article from the Register-Guard does a fairly good job of explaining what’s going on in a nutshell.

However, after carefully thinking it over, I’ve made a decision not to participate in the strike, and I thought I’d try to articulate why.

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Let’s face it–all of us have struggled with procrastination at some point or another (I bet even Martha Stewart has had her moments). It seems difficult to combat for a variety of reasons, particularly when you have a relatively unstructured schedule, but I’ve been working for the past several weeks to figure out how to trick myself into being more efficient. Here’s what I’ve done so far, in part thanks to the suggestions that I found in the book Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It by Burka & Yuen (read it, if you haven’t done so already). Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday I wrote my final comprehensive exam, which essentially marks the midpoint of my pursuit of my PhD in Media Studies. Next week I will defend my answers; my department requires four exams, so there will be questions from my comps committee regarding all four. Assuming that everything goes well, that will advance me to candidacy, and my focus will shift to getting my dissertation proposal approved and writing the actual dissertation.

I wanted to take an opportunity to offer some suggestions to other PhD students who might be facing their exams in the near future. While every discipline and every school varies slightly in terms of what comprehensive exams consist of, they are a universal in terms of earning a doctorate in the United States. Here are the strategies that I used to get ready. Read the rest of this entry »