Julie Dodd at Andrews Bald

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of my favorite hiking locations. This photo was taken at Andrews Bald, where I’d just accomplished the Hike 100 Challenge, hiking 100 miles in the Park.

I’m Julie Dodd. I enjoy exploring ideas and trails, and I use this blog to do both. I hope you’ll join me on my ventures.

I started this blog in 2007 as a teaching endeavor as a professor at the University of Florida. My teaching assistants and I agreed that our 300+ students in Writing for Mass Communication (a course later updated to be Multimedia Writing) should create their own blogs to be part of their professional portfolios. So I knew that I needed to create my own blog.

The blog, which was then titled Thoughts on Teaching, focused on teaching, professional conferences, and issues related to entering the job market.

I’m on a new trail now. I’ve retired – after a career in teaching, including teaching more than 11,000 students at the University of Florida.

I now have more time and opportunity for exploring nature, for fitness and for a range of other issues. So I’m using my blog to share fitness activities and tips, travel ventures and readings. I hope that sharing some of my fitness activities will encourage you to make time to hike, run or walk.

Julie Dodd interviews Rafat Ali in class

I enjoy promoting active learning, whether in a large undergraduate class or a small graduate seminar. Here I’m interviewing a media professional, with the class taking notes for a writing assignment.

I continue to be involved in some teaching activities, as teaching has been such an important part of my life.

I’m involved with campus-wide programs to improve teaching at UF. For more than 10 years, I’ve been on the team for the Orientation for New Teaching Assistants. I also serve on the Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards Committee and have the opportunity to observe the top teaching assistants on campus. You can read about more teaching issues on Successful Teaching, a blog that I created when teaching Mass Communication Teaching.

I feel blessed to have had such a rewarding career in teaching and now can be retired with new challenges and opportunities.


  1. Hi Julie:
    You are where I am aiming for, teaching in a college setting. My undergrad is in Journalism and I love presentations. I am elated when young people learn and grow and thrive. I believe I have a lot to offer in the teaching field. BTW, my masters is in business and I am an anticipated doctoral graduate in the fall of 2011 focused on Organizational Management.

    Mentoring programs are great. Keeping logs can help you grow as well as others. Great tools, keep up the great work! Getting a job in college education has been difficult, perhaps, it is the resume’; the nation’s budget’ or my approach – not sure which. Open to feedback, though.


  2. Alan King · · Reply

    All of these are wonderful tips! When I graduated with my degree in Communications from Howard University in 2007, I thought I was fine. I was offered a job with a local newspaper and an internship with a watchdog group of investigative journalists. Of course, I took the internship and the local paper that promised to hold my spot gave it to another writer.

    I worked as a helper for my dad, a master electrician/electrical contractor until I landed a staff writing job at a black-owned newspaper in Baltimore. When I was laid off from there, I took a job as a teaching artist with a non-profit, a position that led to me being the senior program director that same nonprofit. Along the way, I’ve picked up two other jobs teaching creative writing.

    I say all of this underscore tip #2: Make positive use of the time if you aren’t in a 40-hours-a-week job. Prior to and during my journalism studies, I wrote and published poems in journals, came out with a chapbook and performed. This resulted in me getting into an artists community that not only supported my craft and development as a poet, but they were also great connections for job opportunities. The three jobs I have didn’t come from me working my way down job announcements on Idealist (which I did while I collected unemployment). They came from other artists who knew and respected my work ethic and level of craft.

    I’m making myself more marketable by pursuing an MFA in Poetry, which opens more doors in terms of teaching and writing. Whichever route I choose to go, I’ll have more informed insights whether I’m teaching young talented writers or writing a critical essay on a collection of short stories or poems.

    Thank you for this post, Julie!


  3. Alan – Thanks for sharing your own recent grad experience. You sound like you really took a broad approach to trying out opportunities — from electrical work to being a teaching artist. You have skills and experiences on your resume that few would. Best wishes with your MFA in Poetry. (Did you happen to have Dr. Barbara Hines while at Howard? We have worked together though outreach to high school journalism.)


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