A Taste of Academia

I haven’t posted in a little while because I’ve been awfully busy.

First, there were several meetings to discuss theory and construct an abstract. Then there was the time required to research the learned literature. Then came writing the paper. Lastly, crafting the presentation to a scholarly audience.

If you’re an academic, you will have experience with this and, I’m sure, do it well. All the academics I know do this as a matter of course. It’s part of life if you teach at the university level, to be sure. The communication of ideas, research, programs, and policy are frequently floated through these academic conferences for input and feedback from the larger community.

From the periphery, I’ve heard about these for many years. My college career was a few years ago, but I do know a few professors, in more than a single capacity, too. They have all discussed these conferences at some point and even brought up topics from them in a variety of different situations. So I come into the world of academic conferences with a little preconception. Based on the lay-person’s perspective.

I presented to the Midwest Criminal Justice Association’s annual conference this past week on the topic of using miniatures in teaching programs. If your interest in this blog is strictly because I work with little things, that’s great. If your interest is because little things can have a big impact, I’m here to tell you: ball = rolling.Chicago skyline

I live in a town of 20,000. This was pretty cool for a small-town boy like me. I jetted off to Chicago on Thursday morning, rode the subway into the heart of one of the largest cities in the world and dove into a gathering of some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. There were 27 different panels and round-table discussions. I got to listen in on other presentations that interested me (research on recidivism in youth offenders and similar topics) and, for me (an uninitiated participant) to understand what and HOW people were presenting their information.

I got to speak to a panel entitled “Approaches to Pedagogy in Criminology and Criminal Justice.” My presentation, entitled “Forensic Investigation in a Nutshell: Enhancing Student Learning and Assessment Using a Miniature Death Scene Diorama,” was received very positively. The assembled audience, from a variety of universities, asked very good questions about application, research, motivation, justification, and cost benefits. I am happy to report that I answered their questions in a thoughtful and professional manner.

The start to any movement is discussion. Possibly a little early to consider the use of nutshells a movement, but the discussions have begun. Let’s continue the discussion!

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