Syllabus Shake-Up Day Two

Welcome to day two of the 2022 Syllabus Shake-Up Challenge! In today’s post, I’m talking about traditional approaches to syllabus engagement and new strategies that an instructor can use that are more effective. 

If you’re just joining in, you can check out day one of the challenge here.

As with the previous days, there is a prompt for you to work through on your own at the end of the post. Feel free to share your thoughts with the community by commenting on this post, or on social media by tagging @ApothekeBlog or #SyllabusShakeUp!

A challenge for instructors to increase engagement with their syllabi
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2022 Syllabus Shake-Up Challenge

“All too often we have been trained as professors to assume students are not capable of acting responsibly, that if we don’t exert control over them, then there’s just going to be mayhem.” – bell hooks 1994: 152

Welcome to day one of the 2022 Syllabus Shake-Up Challenge! Last year, around this time I decided to do a short challenge geared towards highlighting the work and experiences of BIPOC in the field. 

Since then, I haven’t had the time or energy to lead other challenges, but made it one of my resolutions for the blog to do at least two in 2022. 

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The Ultimate Checklist for Funding Applications

I think we can all agree that January is the Monday of the year. It didn’t really hit me until I started grad school and realized that there are a lot of things that happen in January. The biggest thing: funding application deadlines.

Image of one research trip that I was able to go on because of a successful funding application

January Application Deadlines

In case you don’t believe me, I have pulled from my masterpost of funding opportunities for BIPOC in Classics all of the ones that have deadlines in January. They are:

Helen Maria Chesnutt Scholarship for Equity in Classical Study. This scholarship is intended to support undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups to further their study of the Classics and Ancient Mediterranean world and not excluding reception studies. (15 January 2022)

William Sanders Scarborough Fellowship (ASCSA). This fellowship provides support for graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars in North America whose diverse experiences and backgrounds are underrepresented at the American School, and whose studies, research, or teaching would benefit from residency at the School. (15 January 2022)

Point Scholarship. The Point Foundation (Point) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit. Point Foundation considers many factors when assessing scholarship applicants, including academic performance, leadership skills, financial need, personal goals and the applicant’s involvement in the LGBTQ community. (26 January 2022)

Rudolph Masciantonio CAMWS Diversity Award (CAMWS). Awardees will be those whom the profession or life circumstances or  societal structures have limited in their access to the study of our field. Awarded each year to one undergraduate and one graduate student. (31 January 2022)

Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship. The Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS) intends to increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities obtaining degrees in archaeology. Graduate and undergraduate students.  (31 January 2022)

Native American Scholarships Fund (NASF). An endowment established to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans. It supports the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship for Archaeological Training for Native Americans and the SAA Native American Undergraduate and Graduate Archaeology Scholarships. Undergraduate and graduate student funding. (31 January 2022)

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Notes from the Apotheke Turns One: Here’s What I Learned

I think we can all agree that this year was not all that much better than 2020. I don’t know if anyone expected it to be better. But I feel like the vibes were pretty much the same, even though starting this blog gave me some hope that things would change.

As always, however, many people have tried to look on the bright side of things.

They’ve sought the light in the almost overwhelming darkness.

I think in particular of one thread going around last week that asked people to share their 3 biggest accomplishments of the year:

A lot of people made light of this – and that’s understandable. Sometimes the only way to get through the hard things is to find a way to laugh about it.

But I think it’s good to stop sometimes and really appreciate the wins, no matter how big or small.

I struggle with doing this myself, and thought that a little celebratory post was in order here. And what, exactly, am I celebrating?

The one year anniversary of this little blog.

If you listened to the podcast episode I was featured on last week, then you’ll know that I started Notes from the Apotheke exactly one year ago.

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The Introvert’s Guide to Conference Presentations (Hidden Curriculum #8)

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had technical difficulties while giving a presentation.

How about if you’ve ever been given the five-minute warning from a session presider? Or if you’ve ever been asked a question in the Q&A that you didn’t have the answer to?

The unfortunate reality is that the possibilities for things to go wrong during a conference presentation are endless. I’m sure any seasoned veteran can confirm that they’ve experienced at least one or two over the years. I’ve been there, too. You know what we all have in common?

We got through it. And you will too. Your chances of getting through it are exponentially better if you do the following seven things.

Me giving a presentation at a small graduate conference in March 2019
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I Was on a Podcast! (+ 3 Tips For First-Time Podcast Guests)

Say “I” if you hate the sound of your own voice.

Usually, I would be right there with you.

After giving myself a solid pep talk, I finally sat down and listened to the latest episode of Proofing and Lies – featuring me – and guess what? I loved it!

It felt almost like reliving the whole experience of being interviewed all over again.

In the episode I talk about my dissertation research on pottery and drinking in ancient Greece, my experiences doing archaeological fieldwork, and why I started this blog.

If these are topics you want to hear more about, check out the episode!

If I’m being totally honest, being invited to give an interview for a podcast was both exciting and totally scary for me.

As I mention in the interview, I’m a pretty big introvert. On top of that, I usually avoid talking about my work like the plague.

I was nervous up until about ten minutes before the interview.

But I was calmed by two things. First, the fact that it really was just like a conversation (and the host was super nice). Second, remembering all of the advice I received when I asked folks on Twitter to help me out.

Here are the three pieces of advice that helped me the most:

This one was SO helpful.

Not just for trying to anticipate what topics would come up, but also for making sure I had some relevant examples on hand when they did.

I did ask about editing ahead of time, but in the end I don’t think anything (or very much besides an extra long pause I took when I needed to think) was edited out.

It honestly didn’t even occur to me to ask in the moment.

But this is definitely something worth keeping in mind!

I had water by me, even though I only took one sip the entire conversation.

I don’t know if I remembered to smile while I was speaking, but I was doing a lot of gesticulation (because that’s just what happens when I get excited). Close enough?

Proofing and Lies

Proofing and Lies is a podcast hosted by Elle Rochford and Andrew Schriver. In each episode the co-hosts talk about current events and take on a new baking project.

Want to check out the episode I’m featured in? It’s currently available on both Apple and Spotify!

Latest Posts

BIPOC Features: Annissa Malvoisin

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

Check out this month’s post by Annissa Malvoisin and learn more about her journey to studying the ancient world and her thoughts about the future of Egyptology! You can find previous posts in the series here.

Photo included with permission from author
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Abstract Writing (Hidden Curriculum #7)

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 I’m talking about how to write an abstract.

One thing that I actually was taught to do that would benefit me academically is writing abstracts. Moreover, I was taught, as part of a graduate seminar on Ancient Medicine in Winter 2018, how to write an abstract before writing the paper.

Up until that point, I had only ever been confident in my ability to write abstracts based on papers I’d already written, and I’m sure most people can relate. Submitting an abstract based on a paper you haven’t written yet is scary

On the one hand, this nebulous idea that’s floating around in your head has to be coherent enough to be accepted. 

On the other hand, if it does get accepted, you’ve actually got to do the work, write the paper, and present it. Woof.

As it turns out, that lesson was extremely useful as I did go on to submit the abstract to CAMWS in 2019 and it was accepted. In the end, however, I decided to withdraw from the conference when the pandemic hit and everything went online.

Since then, I have become more and more comfortable with writing abstracts based on ideas rather than full-blown research papers and happen to be in the midst of writing one now. So, I thought it would be a good time to share what I’ve learned from the process as part of the hidden curriculum series. 

Writing an abstract doesn't have to be scary
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The Power of ‘I Don’t Know’

A few months ago, I described what scholars of the ancient world needed to sacrifice to make the field more inclusive and equitable. One of those things was feeling the need to be an expert in everything.

It’s not easy for any of us to admit when we don’t know the answer to something. Part of this hesitation, I think, stems from the high-pressure, high-stakes structure of our graduate education. 

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Notes from the Apotheke is now on Patreon!

As the one year anniversary of this blog’s inception rapidly approaches, I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can take things to the next level. So I decided to create a Patreon account.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for creators (artists, writers, instructors, musicians, etc) to get paid. 

Everyone who signs up pays a few dollars a month to receive content. A creator can set up their Patreon page to either allow individuals to pay as much as they want or to choose a membership level that gives them access to exclusive content or services.

Why did I create a Patreon account?

Naturally, my motivations for creating this page were primarily financial. 

On the one hand, I am a graduate student doing this out of the goodness of her heart. I have not, in the eleven months that this blog has been up and running, been paid anything to do it. 

I love doing this and I love amplifying the work that other BIPOC in the field are doing and I’d do it all for free. 

But being a graduate student isn’t cheap, and these last few months have been particularly challenging for me financially. So, I sought out ways that I could remedy that, and Patreon seemed like a good way to do so without having to totally reinvent the wheel.

On the other hand, the guests who write the BIPOC features each month are also doing so out of the goodness of their heart, but as someone who frequently reminds everyone to compensate their guest speakers, I have been unable to do so myself (see above). 

Thus, by becoming a Patron, you can support not only me, but also the wonderful BIPOC scholars who have contributed and will in the future contribute to the blog. Ideally I’d like to dedicate at least half of the proceeds to paying my guest writers.

Plus, you’ll get some cool perks for signing up 🙂

How do I become a Patron and what are the benefits of signing up?

There are four tiers of membership that you can choose from: $3, $5, $10, and $20.

$3 membership gives you access to all of the normal content (blog posts, Twitter threads, Instagram posts) + weekly photos of my cat

$5 membership gets you all of the things the $3 membership does, plus early access to new blog posts, voting power on future posts, and bonus monthly content (e.g. tutorials and templates, pedagogy book reviews, etc)

$10 membership gets you all of the above, plus I’ll send you a monthly motivational postcard in the mail and each month you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive an additional surprise token of my gratitude!

$20 membership gets you all of the above, plus the opportunity to schedule one-on-one consulting and/or feedback sessions with yours truly. I’m happy to sit in (virtually for out-of-state folks, in-person for Michigan folks) on one or more of your class sessions or give feedback on something (abstracts, statements, presentations, lesson plans) you’re working on

If you’re interested in supporting me and my guest writers, and getting some cool perks in the process (like a handwritten postcard from me every month!!), then you can sign up for my Patreon here!