One of my favorite hiking locations is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I’m Julie Dodd. I enjoy exploring ideas and trails and am using this blog to do both.

Having spent my career in teaching — both at the university and high school levels — many of my posts are about teaching. Sometimes I’ll use the blog to share a conversation on a teaching issue I’ve had with a colleague or former student that I think you’d be interested in. You may have a topic you’d like me to discuss or want to add your own comment.

Teaching at any level is about helping your students develop skills and insights and move toward their life goals. So some posts are about career-related topics, from using Skype for a job interview to not oversharing personal information in the job process.


I’ve used a range of assignments and activities in my teaching. Here I’m interviewing a graduate student, with the students taking notes to use in writing a personality profile.

In my teaching at the University of Florida, I’ve worked with more than 11,000 students. One of the courses I’ve taught is Mass Communication Teaching, a course that helps prepare graduate students for teaching assistantships and careers in higher education. I have the opportunity to observe the top TAs on campus as a member of  the Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards Committee.

Running, hiking, cycling and walking contribute to my personal outlook. I hope that sharing some of my fitness activities will encourage you to make time for a walk or hike. You also can read my posts for the Friends of the Smokies blog.



  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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