Notes from the Apotheke Turns Three! Another Year in Review

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing my first year in review for this blog in 2021. Somehow, I blinked and now we’re in year THREE. Can you believe it??

As it turns out, a lot can happen in three years. So much, in fact, that I haven’t been able to post as regularly as I did in that first year. However, the fact that I’ve seen SO much growth in the two years since my first year in review post shows that even though I’ve been busy in other areas of my life, the support for this blog has not wavered.

So, I have to first thank every single one of YOU for sticking with this thing.

What began as something I didn’t think would have much impact has become one of the most impactful things I’ve ever done in my life.

If you’re wondering where this blog began, you can check out the last post for a summary of where I was coming from in Winter 2021.

Black woman in blue and black graduation robes standing in front of a fountain

I think I’ve come a long way since then. I defended my dissertation and graduated with a whole PhD. While finishing my degree, I got a job and am now an Assistant Professor (at my alma mater, no less!).

Somehow in there I also published a chapter in Diversity and the Study of Antiquity in Higher Education (2023) and continue to write more. One of those articles (not yet published) is based on a talk I gave at the Presenting the Past colloquium held in Vancouver, British Columbia in March 2023. As a result, my work with this blog has gotten a lot of attention – perhaps the most it has since 2021.

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Why I Don’t Use Citation Managers

It wasn’t until I tried using a citation manager that I realized that I am not a citation manager person.

No, I won’t apologize for my choices, or my opinions about citation managers. And I can honestly say that I made it to the end of my PhD without changing my mind.

One additional caveat: despite my anti-citation manager stance, I have no problem with people who use them! You do you! Everyone’s experience with them is different, and I 100% can accept that. Hopefully you can, too. Otherwise, I’m not sure why you’re here.

So, why don’t I use a citation manager? Read on to find out!

Black woman wearing dark glasses and a black turtleneck working on a computer at a table.
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5 Questions All New Faculty Should Ask

Nearly two months in and it’s finally starting to feel real – I’m a faculty member!

A few months ago, I ran a workshop on rubrics and participated in a colloquium hosted by Peopling the Past. At the colloquium, I reflected on this blog and the work that I’ve been able to do with it. I especially highlighted the hidden curriculum and BIPOC feature series.

My presentation received a generally favorable response. One person asked whether I would begin incorporating posts on the hidden curriculum aspects of being a new faculty member.

At the time, I couldn’t imagine what that would look like. I hadn’t yet started my new job, so I didn’t know yet what I didn’t know.

Although many of my questions have been answered, there are still things I figured out on my own.

This week’s post highlights some of the questions that I asked as I started my new faculty job.

Black woman standing in front of a wall, wearing a black and white blazer and black pants and holding a brown bag.
Me on my very first day of teaching as an assistant professor!
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A Day in the Life of an Archaeologist

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of an archaeologist is like? Well, in today’s post, I’m answering (hopefully) some of your questions.

Black woman wearing a blue hat, blue long sleeved shirt and grey tank top, standing in front of two mosaics in a field
My favorite part of being an archaeologist is getting access to sites otherwise closed to the public. Here I am at the Villa of Good Fortune in Olynthos.

A quick caveat: although some aspects of my days are things everyone experiences, in general, my days will probably look pretty different from what you expect. This is because I don’t dig in the trenches. I am a member of the project’s pottery team. We are responsible for cataloguing and analyzing the ceramic finds that everyone else digs up!

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3 Strategies for Equitable and Inclusive Teaching

Want to know a secret? Although I’ve been asked to give talks and lead workshops on topics related to teaching, I haven’t taught a course since Spring 2020!

All the pedagogy-related public-facing work that I’ve done over the last two and a half years has been based largely on four things.

First, I’ve reflected a lot on my own teaching (and learning) experiences. You can find some of those reflections in posts I’ve rounded up here.

Second, I’ve heard a lot from my peers about the courses they’re teaching. Sometimes, I’ve even offered advice based on my own experiences teaching those same courses.

Third, since I’m almost always on Twitter, I get a lot of inspiration from discussions of teaching on social media.

And, finally, I (try to) read a lot. Some books I’ve shelved over the years include Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses by L.D. Fink and Start Here, Start Now by L. Kleinrock.

All this reflecting and researching over the years, however, has (finally!) led to this moment. In the fall I will be back in the classroom as I begin my tenure-track position. This means that I can now practice what I preach – and have been preaching for years.

In this week’s post, I’m highlighting some of the ways that I am planning to make my courses equitable and inclusive of all students. Clearly, I haven’t had a chance to test these approaches yet, so you can take them with a grain of salt. But I think that they reflect my overarching teaching philosophy well.

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Turning Your Paper into a Presentation (Hidden Curriculum #11)

I first started giving presentations at professional conferences nearly ten years ago.

Back then, I only submitted abstracts for things I’d already written, such as seminar papers. In more recent years, I’ve transformed 40+ page dissertation chapters into talks of various lengths for various contexts.

Here’s how I do it.

Black woman wearing a tan sweater and black dress stands behind a wooden podium giving a conference paper
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My #1 Takeaway from the Campus Interview Process

A few weeks ago, you may have seen that I shared some big news. The news? I landed a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in the Department of Classics at Randolph-Macon College – that is, of course, after preparing and submitting a slew of application materials and surviving a nerve-wracking campus interview.

Black woman with curly dark hair and glasses, wearing a black turtleneck and black cardigan, sitting in front of a wall of magazines. Hands are clasped in front of her.

Due to the timing of everything, I couldn’t benefit from what must have been an incredible series of workshops on the job search offered by the WCC.

Instead, most of what I learned about how to be successful on the job market came from two sources.

First, my incredible mentors. From drafting and revising and practicing job talks to setting up mock interviews to giving me advice on negotiating a contract, I couldn’t have done any of this without my support system.

Second, I spent a lot – and I mean a lot – of time reading posts across the internet relating to the academic job search. My Google search history can probably attest to that. I also spent an indeterminate amount of time combing through posts on Twitter, like this one:

My key takeaway from the whole experience?

Always. Ask. Questions.

It makes you seem interested in the position and the institution (even if you’re not). It’s also a great way to take a break from talking and let someone else take over.

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Round-Up: The Hidden Curriculum

Happy November! In case you missed it, in August I decided to make my blogging comeback with a round-up of resources centered around a back-to-school theme. In honor of last month’s installment bringing us to ten posts on the topic, this month’s round-up is all about the hidden curriculum.

The hidden curriculum series began nearly two years ago (the first post went live on January 28, 2021). As each post reminds us, the series was borne from the observation that there is a lot that we, as academics, are expected to know but are never taught.

Black dog with blue collar sitting at a desk with two computer monitors. White text with black border superimposed over the image in top right corner reads: I have no idea what I'm doing.

I figured it might be helpful to have all the posts in the series to date all in one place for ease of access.

In addition, you will find related posts providing general advice and resources, as well as links to other resources I’ve found useful from around the internet (mostly Twitter).

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Conquer the Cold Email (Hidden Curriculum #10)

For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month’s installment is all about sending cold emails!

Raise your hand if you absolutely loathe sending emails? Raise your other hand if you especially hate cold-emailing people you’ve never met?

If you have both of your hands in the air, I bet you probably look pretty silly.

But I can tell you that I’ve been where you are, and just the thought of sending any kind of email (especially to a large audience or to someone I don’t know) gives me a little bit of anxiety.

I can also tell you that, like most things, it gets better with practice.

In this post, I’m sharing a few tips for how to make you a cold-emailing pro.

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