New Year’s Resolutions

Photo by Fernando Coello Vicente

Happy New Year!!

I, like many reading this entry, have started the new year with a list of resolutions to guide my actions over the course of 2011. Recognizing that 78% of those who set such resolutions fail (Wisemen, 2007), I’m attempting to maximize my potential for success by tapping into the wisdom of one of today’s more popular “self-help gurus,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. According to Dr. Oz’s Facebook post of December 31, 2010 success can be more readily achieved if one’s resolutions are realistic, have a plan of action underlying their attainment, and are publicly declared. This entry represents my public declaration.

Now I’ll grant you I could probably stand to lose a few pounds…cut down on the swearing…become fluent in another language…etc. Because Dr. Oz recommends that the goals one sets are realistic, however, I’ll be focusing on other things in this public declaration. More specifically, I’ve decided to share my professional resolutions, those actions which might optimize my effectiveness as a speech-language pathologist working in the university setting. Here goes:

RESOLVED…I will earn half the CEUs needed for an ACE…ASHA’s ACE is automatically awarded to those who attain 7.0 CEUs within a 36 month period. To me, this is an important award because it represents my (and my discipline’s) commitment to lifelong learning and continued professional development. With the many different and cost-effective mechanisms for earning CEUs presently available, this award is accessible to anyone…my next will be my third.

RESOLVED…I will improve the learning environment in the classes I teach…For the most part I receive good student evaluations. Students like my enthusiasm for the subject matter, my content knowledge, my sense of humor. What they don’t like is how fast I sometimes talk. My rate inhibits complete and accurate note taking, makes classes feel rushed, and may reduce communicative effectiveness. I am a professional. I take pride in what I do and know I can always do better. As such, I will reduce my speaking rate during class presentations and in the process, hopefully, improve my students’ learning environment. P.S. … I’m open to suggestions.

RESOLVED…I will facilitate student interest and involvement in research…The benefits of student participation in research-based endeavors are numerous and include (but are definitely not limited to): the enhancement of analytic skills, critical thinking, and problem solving; the opportunity to apply classroom theory in a hands-on manner to solve real-world problems; stimulation of lifelong learning; etc. (Utah State University, 2007; Weber State University, 2011). Recognizing these benefits, I’ve always wanted to start a departmental research group comprised of faculty and students. The only problem is I’ve never really had a concrete idea of how to exactly go about putting such a plan into action. That is until I read an article by McComas, Fry, Frank and Fraley in the October 2010 SID 10 Perspectives which provided a blue print that just might enable me to transform my idea into a program reality.

RESOLVED…I will make significant progress on my dissertation…In many respects I’m an exception, if not an anachronism, in contemporary higher education. Namely, I’m a tenured faculty member holding the rank of assistant professor though I do not possess a doctoral degree. It’s not for lack of trying, though, in all honesty, I must admit to sometimes suffering from lack of motivation. I completed all coursework toward a Ph.D. at The University of Georgia in the mid-1990s but never took the final step. I’m currently in the process of writing a dissertation to meet the requirements for an Ed.D. in Administration and Leadership Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. To be truthful, however, my project has languished during the past year. Well no more! I might not complete my dissertation this year, but I will make significant progress toward doing so. How do I define significant progress…all data collected and chapters 1, 2, and 3 completed by this time next year.

RESOLVED…I will continue to write for ASHAsphere (if they will have me)…Rereading the above it seems I’ve set an ambitious agenda for myself in 2011. Despite this I’d still like to write a blog entry for ASHAsphere on at least a bi-weekly or monthly basis (as I currently do). Maggie McGary, ASHAsphere’s “editor,” has provided something important for the association…the opportunity for members to present themselves and their ideas in a relaxed, less formal manner than what we might typically be used to. Not only that…its fun! Want to find out what the likes of Vince Lombardi and professional cyclist Saul Raisin have to do with our profession…well continue looking for my posts, as these are just a few of the things I’d like to write about in the coming year. Ideas…I’ve got ideas.

Well, I’ve now gone on record and publicly declared my resolutions for 2011. Look for periodic updates to find out how I’m doing. Now let me provide the opportunity for you to increase your chance of success for accomplishing the professional resolutions you might have developed. Please feel free to list any of your professional resolutions for 2011 in the comments section of this blogand, by so doing, consider that your public declaration of intent.

Kenneth Staub, M.S., CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He will be a regular contributor to ASHAsphere and welcomes questions or suggestions for posts.