Textbook & Academic Authors Association | Academic Writing Blog
The Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) provides professional development resources, events, and networking opportunities for textbook authors and authors of scholarly journal articles and books. Established in 1987 by math author Mike Keedy, TAA is the only national, nonprofit membership association dedicated solely to assisting textbook and academic authors.
Graduate students will graduate, and at that point they’ll need to write with others. In academic positions they’ll work with colleagues on committees and research projects that result in written materials, books, or articles. In professional positions they’ll work on project teams and write plans and reports. Yet while they are in school, especially at the dissertation stage, students’ work is typically conducted on their own.
First, let’s define the term collaboration to describe “an interactive process that engages two or more participants who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently” (Salmons, 2019). Sometimes writers collaborate to produce one piece of writing, other times they collaborate on the process, while each produces their own piece of writing.
With those possibilities in mind, as instructors, mentors, or dissertation supervisors, how can we create opportunities for that help students collaborate to generate their best writing and at the same time, learn to collaborate so they are prepared to succeed in a team-work world?
One way is through writing groups. I prefer the term writing circle to writing group, because I like the underlying assumptions. A circle means members are equal, and the relationships are reciprocal, in contrast to a more top-down arrangement where an instructor serves as the main organizer and reviewer.
Here are two examples, with lessons learned.
Structured Writing Group Kept Growing
Aitchison (2009) described how what began as a structured 10-week writing program evolved into informal, multidisciplinary, ongoing writing groups. Participants joined the group because they believed that through regular social interaction around text, they would develop writing skills and productivity.
The process used by this group involved five activities in what they described as a “cycle of learning” (p. 911):
Text volunteer writes and circulates text with explicit feedback instructions;
Peers review volunteered text before meeting
Group discussion of text and of feedback
Facilitator provides language-focused input through explicit instruction, modelling, scaffolding and directing writing activities
Author redrafts the text
Aitchison surveyed members and generated findings that support the value of collaborative learning and writing:
When students were asked to reflect on how learning occurred, they expanded on the notion of learning arising from feedback on their writing, to include discussions about how learning also (and unexpectedly for them) occurred when they were engaging in the critique of peers’ texts….Participants pointed to…the different nature of feedback coming from peers compared to supervisors, the sense of reciprocity and mutual obligation they shared, the relative freedom to experiment with ideas and writing away from their supervisors, a heightened sense of the processes and craft of writing when readers were not content specialists, access to alternative non-discipline-specific perspectives, and the formative nature of self-directed learning. (Aitchison, 2009, pp. 908-909)
These students were able to gain confidence in their own writing, and in their ability to encourage others.
Write On! Faculty and Student Writing Days
Maher et al (2013) participated in and studied a project called “Write On!” which involved voluntary day-long writing events. The article was written by the student participants.
Participating doctoral students and faculty converged in someone’s home with their writing projects. The day ended with each participant briefly describing accomplishments. In writing circle fashion, faculty followed the same routine of individual writing and collaborative debriefing (Maher, Fallucca, & Mulhern Halasz, 2013, p. 196). Their research findings on the project uncovered four emergent themes:
Protected Time and Space: The writing circle offered a time away from other distractions.
Maintaining Momentum: Participants felt that having the supportive group helped them stay on track and meet deadlines.
Accountability to Others: Participants made time to attend, believing they had something to offer to each other in a “community of support” (p. 202)
Common Purpose. Participants observed, “There is something very important about being in . . . a very intimate group of people- where you can see what they are working on, and you can see that they have gonebeyond where you are, and that it is possible” (p. 201).
Lessons and Questions
Four consistent points emerged from these articles:
Individual writing time in a group setting is beneficial. Participants report being able to stay on track when other writers are at work too.
Critique is essential, within a trusting, agreed-upon framework.
Groups typically have a small number of active members who commit to meet regularly to review and discuss each other’s work. If more people want to join, then spin-off groups can form.
A group facilitator provides important logistical and pedagogical support.
More questions to consider include:
These examples were in face-to-face settings. What about online writing circles? I have some experience, but given reports about the value of writing in others’ presence, would like to learn more.
How can voluntary, non-credit writing circles be integrated into formal doctoral programs?
Should facilitators be (paid) faculty or writing program staff? What training is needed?
Aitchison (2009) emphasized “the value of seeing writing and meaning making as a social activity relevant to a massified higher education system”(p. 915). We expect that completing a doctoral dissertation or thesis will demonstrate the ability to design, conduct, and write about original research. Students who have been a part of writing circles such as those described here demonstrate additional skills because they are able to listen, and to give and receive constructive feedback. These are qualities I hope we can emphasize more strongly and find ways to cultivate with our doctoral students.
Aitchison, C. (2009). Writing groups for doctoral education.Studies in Higher Education, 34(8), 905-916. doi:10.1080/03075070902785580
Maher, M., Fallucca, A., & Mulhern Halasz, H. (2013). Write On! Through to the Ph.D.: using writing groups to facilitate doctoral degree progress. Studies in Continuing Education, 35(2), 193-208. doi:10.1080/0158037X.2012.736381
Janet Salmons is an independent scholar and writer through Vision2Lead. She is the Methods Guru for SAGE Publications blog community, Methodspace, and the author of six textbooks. Current books are the forthcoming Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn from Stylus, and Doing Qualitative Research Online (2016) from SAGE.
This is more of my neophyte reflections on negotiating a contract. My previous post looked at the many different issues covered by a contract and the basic difficulty of handling so many issues. This post on focuses on some of the more emotionally charged clauses.
For me, part of the stress of contracts is that they force you to think about extreme cases because it’s easy to get emotionally charged while thinking about extreme issues. For example, there are clauses related to future editions and to the publisher’s rights for future editions. Future editions are an “extreme case” because they only become an issue if the book does extremely well. Most books don’t get a second edition, so the clauses are unlikely to matter at all. Nonetheless, some of the clauses asserted their right to produce a future edition without me should I decline to participate, and to stop paying me royalties in that event…well, the idea that I would lose rights to a book idea I had created is perhaps upsetting. I could have tried to negotiate changes to the clause, though I understand it to be pretty standard, so considering it sparked some stress. But, again, it really only matters if the darn thing is successful!
Or, for example, there was a clause about possible copyright infringement, which included a statement that Routledge would be able to keep all damages awarded from any copyright infringement claims they pursued. My first response was “If they win an award for profits someone made off my book, shouldn’t I get a share?” That reading is a little upsetting—as if I wasn’t getting my fair share. But, as best I understand it, legally they would only be able to sue for the damages they suffered, and if I wanted to sue for damages I suffered, that would be a separate claim. So, my unpleasant initial reaction was off-base. But beyond the legalistic clarification, there’s the question of whether that emotional energy was well spent, as this seems like a rather unlikely event. How often do textbooks get bootlegged/pirated? It’s rare, I’d guess, and only a concern for my book if it does succeed (but maybe I’m wrong and there is a big market in pirated copies of textbooks). And what kind of money would be involved in such a case? Is a book-legger going to sell enough copies that a significant sum of money is involved? My rational assessment is that this clause will have no practical application because no one will ever sell pirate copies of my book. But, because the contract raises these issues, I think about them, which sparks anxiety.
Another clause that caused needless worry was the clause regarding costs of changes to the page proofs. It’s unlikely to matter because the clause is there in case an author decides to make major changes in a manuscript at the last minute, and I have no intention to do so. There is no way that I will let the book advance to the page proof stage with an error so large that I would want major re-writing. But, despite my confidence that I won’t make large changes late in the process, the clause, which assigned such costs to me, sparked some anxiety. On this clause I did negotiate a minor change, so that the contract specified that such costs would be charged against the royalties, rather than them billing me, so I am protected against such costs if the book doesn’t sell. But again, I have no intention of making changes that would incur such costs.
None of these clauses are likely to come into play (I’d love to have the “new editions” clause matter—it would mean that my book was successful!), but they contribute to the stress of dealing with the contract.
As part of the offer, I was called upon to change the title of my book—hinting at the larger negotiation of what actually goes into the final book, which will not end with the contract. The need to change the title actually didn’t cause me much stress, but I know could cause stress in others. In my case, it wasn’t that they didn’t like my title, but they didn’t think that it would perform well in search engines. (This wasn’t strictly a contractual issue, as the contract only specified a working title, leaving room for negotiation on that point. We have since agreed upon a new title.) This wasn’t a big problem for me, but I do know at least one author who had a difficult and stressful negotiation when his publisher wanted him to change his title and he felt very strongly that he should not change it (I agreed with him—the alternative titles his publisher suggested were weak). Giving up the title I had chosen didn’t strike me as problematic, because I’m comfortable that I can find a title that I will like that will also satisfy the publisher, and I really want to take advantage of the publisher’s knowledge of sales and marketing. But not only does this appear in the contract—yet another detail to consider—it also hints at the larger process of negotiating the text as a whole and what changes the publisher will want, given what reviewers will say. But while that set of negotiations is beyond the specific contractual focus of this series of posts, it does tie into the many questions that the contract raises.
Of course, the most emotionally loaded clauses, I think, are the royalty clauses. After putting so much effort into a work, I want to be rewarded. It may not be likely that the new editions clause will matter, but I sure hope that the royalties clauses will—or at least some of the royalties clauses, because there were over a dozen clauses for different situations. The discussion of royalties is the subject of my final post in this series.
Read the second post in this series, “Reflections on negotiating a contract 2: Myriad details”
Dave Harris, Ph.D., editor, writing coach, and dissertation coach, helps writers develop effective writing practices, express their ideas clearly, and finish their projects. He is author of Getting the Best of Your Dissertation (Thought Clearing, 2015) and second author with Jean-Pierre Protzen of The Universe of Design: Horst Rittel’s Theories of Design and Planning(Routledge, 2010). His book Literature Review and Research Design: A Guide to Effective Research Practice will be published in 2020 by Routledge. Dave can be found on the web at www.thoughtclearing.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of the Textbook & Academic Authors Association. Read more about TAA guest posts here.
Several leading higher education publishers announced that online marketplace Bonanza.com will join them in efforts to stop the sale of pirated e-textbooks by implementing a series of steps designed to prevent their sale on its platform. These steps will help disrupt digital piracy while not impeding innovation and the lawful growth of marketplaces. The educational publishers, Cengage, Elsevier, Macmillan Learning, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, have worked hard in recent years in partnership with distributors and sellers to combat the sale of pirated ebooks and counterfeit textbooks, which hurts authors and readers and stifles innovation and the creation of the rich content that consumers want.
In an effort to discourage the sale of infringing files, it will not maintain product categories and sub-categories for electronic copies of textbooks, and will take the following additional key steps designed to keep pirated e-textbooks, whether in the form of a PDF copy or otherwise, off its platforms:
Implement technology, including filtering, designed to prevent the listing for sale of infringing e-textbooks.
Continue to respond expeditiously to notices of infringement.
Identify and terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in accordance with its repeat infringers policy.
Provide information on its platforms educating sellers and consumers about copyright infringement.
Work with copyright owners to thwart digital piracy.
“These important steps will benefit online marketplaces, the legitimate businesses who sell there, and the customers who shop there,” said Scott Zebrak, counsel for the education publishers on digital protection. “By helping combat the sale of pirated products, Bonanza is helping to eliminate the sale of illegal digital copies and PDFs that plague the industry and harm authors, customers, publishers, and legitimate sellers.” “My clients commend Bonanza for taking proactive steps to prevent the illegal use of its marketplace for infringement.”
TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference speaker and mentor panels will feature several publishing industry professionals with expertise on topics such as intellectual property, copyright, publishing contracts, and royalties. The conference will be held in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15, 2019.
Intellectual property attorney Brenda Ulrich, a partner at Archstone Law Group PC, will kick off the conference with a session titled “Legal Issues for Independent Contractor Authors and Self-Publishers.” This session will explore legal issues in the “post-traditional publishing contract world.” Topics covered will include 1) Nontraditional contracts with major publishers: work for hire contracts, alternative contributor or independent contractor arrangements; 2) Contracts with smaller or non-traditional publishers and content provider: some things change, some things stay the same; 3) Self-publishing: wearing many hats; and 4) Open Source/Creative Commons.
CPA Juli Saitz, Senior Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group, and Sean Wakely, Vice President of Product and Editorial at FlatWorld, will present a session titled “Can My Publisher Really Do That?” This session will address some common questions authors have about what prerogatives publishers have in respect to publication decisions, calculating royalty payments, marketing, and more. Saitz and Wakely will approach hypothetical examples from an industry insider and third party auditor’s point of view.
IP Attorney, Steve Gillen, partner, Wood, Herron & Evans, and Karen Morris, author, judge, and distinguished professor of business law, will present a session titled “Mergers and Acquisitions Among Publishers: Author’s Need a Life Jacket.” The session will focus on how mergers and acquisitions can impact authors, what to do if it happens, and author options. Participants will get answers to these and related questions, and ideas on how to survive well.
These are just three of the more than 30 sessions that will be featured at TAA June conference. The speaker and mentor panels includes veteran authors, authoring attorneys, and publishing industry experts who will present sessions focused on writing strategies and productivity, copyright and royalty issues, eBook and technology trends, marketing and branding, open access and other exciting and challenging trends in academic publishing. For the full list of session descriptions and presenter bios please see the program listing. Early registration ends April 15.
In this week’s collection of posts from around the web we found a variety of topics of interest to textbook and academic authors. We begin our collection with articles focused on perspective: on the PhD and employment, on Belbin roles in collaborative writing efforts, and on visualizations of scholarly workflow. Next we explore topics on finding the gap and keeping track of your literature review. We continue with a couple articles on open access. Finally, we close with technology-related articles on sharing research, conducting online surveys, and protecting privacy in digital resources.
A.D. Posey once said, “Reading sparks writing.” As you read through this week’s collection of articles, we hope that the ideas and topics presented serve to spark your writing efforts for the week ahead. Happy writing!
Lately, more and more students want a non-academic job when they finish their PhD. Anecdotally, some graduates seem to be experiencing the PhD as a barrier to employment, not an enabler. In fact, I’ve heard so much negative talk about how employers react to PhD holders over the years that it seemed important to start looking at this phenomenon more closely.
We have spent the last few days in a finishing frenzy. Emails have been hurtling back and forth at speeds hitherto unknown to science. I don’t know what Janet’s Belbin role is but I figured she was probably a Shaper. I ran this past her and she said yes and she also thinks we are both Plants because we’re creative and undeterred by obstacles. Makes sense to me, particularly as Plants work well alone on the whole, but also benefit from collaborating – that’s us both to a T!
Research workflow diagrams are everywhere: in peer-reviewed articles, online research reports and issue briefs, and blogs like the Scholarly Kitchen. These visualizations present a dizzying variety of content and design. In order to make sense of it all, we outline two key themes that can help ground an analysis of research workflow diagrams: how the “flow” is structured and who/what is centered.
A very common way to justify academic work is by “finding the gap”. That is, you look at all of the work that has been done, and then ask what isn’t there. What’s missing. What hasn’t been done is then called “the gap”. You next design a study that is different from those you’ve found and you say that it fills the “gap”. The “gap” provides the research warrant, your justification.
Keeping track of literature is a challenge. It is a moving target: every day it seems that new journal issues are published, with yet more articles to consider. Then there are conference proceedings, books, and other potentially relevant resources. When I taught, I communicated this message to my doctoral students: pick a system, any system, and stick with it!
“After 1 January 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.”
I wondered if researchers are planning to move more towards open access, and ran a poll on the topic.
I recently read an intriguing report, entitled The Ascent of Open Access, that was written by Daniel Hook, CEO of Digital Science, and his colleagues Ian Calvert and Mark Hahnel. I wanted to see how a still-practicing physicist and technology whiz sees the landscape of open research, given his position straddling business and research and leading a powerful influencer of the publishing world. Is Daniel able to articulate a researcher’s needs and translate them for publishing?
preLights is a community platform for selecting, highlighting and commenting on preprints across the biological sciences. At the heart of this initiative are early-career researchers (‘preLighters’), who choose preprints they find most interesting, and write digests of the research, which is free for everyone to read. Importantly, preLighters include their opinion of why the study is important, and reach out to the preprint authors to ask further questions about their work. The resulting discussions are also published at the end of the post.
Online survey software tools such as Survey Monkey® and Qualtrics® enable you to present your survey online for your respondents. This approach has a number of advantages to both researchers and participants. First, once you create your survey online, it can be sent to anyone, anywhere, with a survey link the program generates for you. The online approach offers a great deal of flexibility (for the researcher and the respondents).
Patron privacy has been a long-standing concern of libraries, and in the era of Facebook data-sharing scandals and of GDPR, the privacy of users of digital content is an increasing concern. In response to that general issue, and to several specific difficulties with data providers, Stanford Libraries, with support from a number of our peer institutions, have put forward a Statement on Patron Privacy and Database Access.
You have a vision of the work you want to write. You’ve laid out a plan for a textbook or monograph (or article). You might have a book contract, or you may be doing the work prospectively. The writing is done. You breath a sigh. But how about the editing?
Many writers and academics feel comfortable with the content creation, that is the writing. But they may feel less qualified with that pesky editing. Split infinitives, that or which, ending a sentence in a preposition, and a thousand other archine rules haunt some writers and sap their confidence about their work.
Should you hire an editor? The first point to consider is if your potential publisher will expect a final edited manuscript. Depending on if you have a contract or not, have a dialogue with them to see what their expectations are when it comes to your submission. Even if they don’t expect a final manuscript, you might want editorial help to ensure they see your work in the best possible light.
The next step might be to assess your true level of writing and editing. Many times, your level of editing will more than suffice and meet publisher’s expectations. But for those that feel they need additional help, there are choices for editorial assistance.
Editorial service falls into two categories: freelance individuals or editorial services organizations. Both have their merits.
With individuals, you can develop a one-on-one relationship and get much deeper with the project. They will know you and your work better and potentially deliver a higher quality service. These individual editors can get very busy and you will need to schedule your work with them; especially if they are very good. Individual editors can be found through organizations like TAA. There are freelancer sites that you can search (Editorial Freelancers Association or sites like Upwork.com). Or a general web search will yield more than you need. Best is to ask colleagues about any they have used or know or can vouch for. When you find one, have a conversation about your work and what you are specifically looking for. Send them a short sample for their review. Always check references for any individual editor. It is best to get quotes from three editors or more, so you understand their pricing structure. If they provide a chart with per page charges and hourly rates, ask them to give an estimate of how the chart translates into a topical job (with no guarantee in your specific circumstances).
Another option are the editorial companies that have proliferated in the last three to five years. Companies like Enago, Editage, Scribendi, and many, many others offer a menu of services at all different levels. They have professionalized and brought order to what was a cottage-industry prior to their work. Once again, make sure you understand the level of services they provide and the costs. Check on any satisfaction guarantee they have. Also ask where the work will be done. For most of these companies, there is no worry with their schedule as they have virtually unlimited bandwidth.
Before you consider any editorial services, ask some colleagues or friends to read a portion of your material to see how much editing it needs, if at all. And always remember to get all details in writing when it comes to costs, deadlines, and services offered. You don’t want to get lost in the woods.
John Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you juggle multiple teaching, scholarship and service projects and worry about ‘dropping the ball’? Do you wish you had one place to easily organize your life as an academic? Then Trello might be for you. Join us Monday, March 25 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, How Trello Can Transform Your Life as an Academic, where Angelique M. Davis and Rose Ernst, both associate professors of political science at Seattle University, will provide an overview of the magic and logic of Trello. They will show you how to use it to masterfully manage multiple projects in one place—without having to switch between paper and multiple digital programs! They will also show you how to use Trello to move your scholarly projects forward. This will include a demonstration and template of a Trello board based on Erin Furtak’s publishing pipeline. You will leave this webinar with a plan to set up your Trello account so you can become a master juggler and calmly manage your academic life.
When I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. In this short article, let’s look at Free time.
Since part of the definition of Free time is that it is guilt free, Free time is often a difficult kind of time for professors to set aside. There is always so much work to do and the bar is set so high, it seems impossible to set aside free time. This feeling pervades regardless of whether the bar is set high in one’s department, discipline, or in one’s own mind.
Are the expectations for academic productivity likely to change any time soon? Unlikely. Within this truth, acknowledge that you have plenty of work to do. You have classes to prepare for or tweak for improvement. There are always more writing tasks and responsibilities. And what about all those unreturned phone calls, texts, and emails? You may be thinking, “There’s no time for Free time.”
Here’s another truth: Your brain thrives on having some disconnected time, and that means disconnected from work, disconnected from push, push, push. If you always feel like there’s something else you could be working on, it’s true. And the day you die there will be something else you could have been working on, too. Let’s just say it’s a given that there is always something you could be doing and STILL you are going to designate and protect Free time.
You are more productive, creative, and able to focus when you also take some time off. Just as with the other three kinds of time we’ll be discussing in this article series, I’ll give you a recommendation for the ratio to consider when you’re planning your time. With Free time, make an attempt to protect 1:7 days. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you always have one of every seven days as Free time. You might have four days out of every 28 that are off.
Although you certainly need to have some “time off” during the day, be careful with thinking that 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there is going to give you the same benefit of a longer period of disconnect. Little short spurts won’t give you enough of the rejuvenation that occurs when you have full-on free time for much larger blocks of time (12 or 24 hours, for example). Give your brain and heart and soul a rest. See what happens with your productivity as a result.
A reading recommendation during your Free time is Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (2016, Alex Soujung-Kim Pang). It’s one that I’ve bought for many of my coaching clients and also given out to some early-career STEM faculty in NSF-funded workshops.
In the next article in our series, you will learn about Fixed time and how to use your calendar to help you be more effective and efficient throughout the week.
Meggin McIntosh, also known as “The PhD of Productivity®,” is professor emerita and founding director of her university’s Excellence in Teaching Program. She is now an executive coach for high-achieving academics who are intent on making a difference through their work. Whether she’s coaching, teaching workshops, or writing, Meggin’s mission is inspiring joyful work. You’re welcome to explore and receive many of Meggin’s publications, videos, and classes through her hubsite https://meggin.com. More and more of them are being offered freely each month so be sure to take a peek if you want more joyful work in your life.
I am the worst at hiding in my office and working over lunch. Yes, we all have lots of work to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done. Why should 2019 be any exception? I should spend more time out of my office. Some would call it socializing, some would call it networking. Whatever you call it, getting out has got to be better for me than staring out the window (I know, at least I have a window).
With you as my witnesses, I have decided to get out regularly and have lunch or coffee with someone in my workplace. We all have to eat or caffeinate, right? There are over 1,400 employees where I work and I know at least a 10% of them, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Would it kill me if once every so often I had lunch with a colleague instead of never? There might actually be some benefits. A quick Google search tells me that if I network I can learn from colleagues, get “in the know” instead of staying “in the dark” (which can be comfortable, I know!), and just make life a little more social. Some would even say one could find a job this way. Imagine!
I started out small, getting out once in January, and I’ll work my way up to once a week by the end of the semester. If you tend to recluse yourself like I do because there is so much to do (and write), I challenge you to do the same. If you want to be held accountable, send me an email and tell me you are taking me up on the networking challenge. I will respond. Then, when I see you at the annual TAA Conference in June, which, by the way, is a great place to network, you can let me know how it went for you and I will let you know how it went for me.
Seven candidates are running for five open positions on the TAA Council, the association’s governing board. Three are officer positions, Vice President/President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary; and two are Council positions. Terms begin July 1, 2019. Officers serve two-year terms and Council members serve three-year terms.
A link to the ballot was emailed to TAA members on March 8. To be eligible to vote, individuals must be members in good standing. If you are a TAA member and cannot vote electronically, contact Kim Pawlak at Kim.Pawlak@TAAonline.net or (608) 687-3106 to request a paper ballot. The deadline for voting is Monday, April 8, 2019. Winners will be announced April 19.
“I’ve been a member and enthusiastic supporter of TAA for decades. I’m excited about recent new directions taken by TAA as it continues to evolve as a vital provider of services to textbook and academic authors. Having served previously on the TAA Council, including briefly stepping up to fill a vacant position as Secretary, I’m familiar with the workload, responsibility, collaboration skills, and leadership experience needed to guide TAA along its path of innovation and service. My goals as a TAA leader include supporting and expanding professional development opportunities, promoting broader diversity of membership, and growing into a more widely recognized voice of textbook & academic authors in a rapidly changing global publishing environment. But most importantly, I hope to facilitate the conversation and mutual support among our members and allies—preserving and strengthening the collegial culture of TAA.”
Kevin Patton Ph.D. is long-time member and former Council member/officer in TAA. His decades of work in textbook authoring has produced award-winning works in human anatomy & physiology (A&P) in multiple editions in several languages. He is an active blogger and podcaster, as well as a social media influencer within his academic discipline. Patton remains active in the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS), where he has served many leadership and service roles–and currently serves as President Emeritus. A full-time textbook author, Kevin also teaches an undergraduate A&P course and mentors A&P professors in a graduate program.
“I am currently serving as Treasurer and would love to continue!”
Juli Saitz, CPA is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group. She leads the contract and royalty compliance practice at Ankura and has extensive experience serving clients including several textbook authors as well as multi-national corporation licensors. Her work in this area includes developing and implementing royalty compliance programs and performing audits of licensees around the world. Saitz has helped authors and corporate clients recover millions of dollars in asserting their audit rights related to licensed copyrights, trademarks and patents. She is focused on the shift in the publishing industry to electronic content delivery methods and adaptive learning platforms. In addition, Saitz has served as a damages expert in matters involving royalty disputes in the publishing industry. She has a degree in Accounting from New York University.
“I currently serve on the Publishing Practices Committee of TAA and am a regular presenter at the annual conference. As part of the council I could help guide the organization and members on the legal challenges present in a rapidly changing textbook publishing landscape.”
Brenda Ulrich is an intellectual property lawyer who advises clients on copyright and trademark issues, with a special focus on publishing and higher education-related matters.
“I have attended the TAA conference the last few years and have become increasingly more involved each year–as a presenter, and this year as one of the members of the conference committee. I believe in the mission of TAA, and I am committed to doing my part in contributing to that mission. If appointed as a new council member, in addition to sharing new ideas from my vantage point as a scholarly writer, I pledge to assist in whatever capacity needed by TAA.”
Laura Jacobi (PhD, University of Minnesota) is an Assistant Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the Department of Communication Studies. Previously, Laura taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research pursuits include instructional communication, interpersonal communication, and spiritual communication. Recently, she has published articles in the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, the Journal of Educators Online, and the Journal of Pedagogic Development.
“My diverse professional experiences provide a unique viewpoint on the needs of academic authors – both skillwise and social-emotional. As a tenured literacy education faculty at a research university, I personally experienced (and survived) a ‘publish or perish’ atmosphere. However, during a professional leave, I worked at a Norwegian university and experienced an alternative model – a more positive environment placing high value on writing quality and less on quantity. This experience made me consider how to translate such approaches within the constraints of US universities. Now, through strategies and coaching, I aim to help faculty create a sustainable and healthy writing practice.”
After being a traditional academic for over ten years at Texas A&M University, Erin McTigue started The Positive Academic, through which she coaches academics in writing and productivity, as well as runs workshops. While at Texas A&M, she co-directed a university-wide writing support program and developed a writing course for international students. Additionally, to keep up her craft, Erin continues to collaborate on research projects at the National Reading Center of Norway. Erin has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, won teaching and mentoring awards, and aims to help faculty reduce stress and find more joy their work.
“I am hoping to be elected to the TAA Council in order to give back to an organization that has given me much over the last three years. I have experience in professional organization leadership, serving the Cincinnati Local Section of the American Chemical Society (~1,200 members) as Auditor, Secretary, Co-Chair, Chair, Trustee, and now as Councilor to the National ACS where I serve on the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs. Being an in-progress first edition author of an organic chemistry textbook, I will bring a unique perspective to the Council where I can hopefully design programming for early career, aspiring textbook authors. My experience as Chair of the Faculty at Xavier has given me important insights into the broader textbook market, especially as it relates to impressions of non-authoring faculty.”
Rick Mullins is a Professor of Chemistry at Xavier University and is working on a first edition organic chemistry textbook with Pearson Education. He started at Xavier after earning his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indiana University in 2004. An award winning teacher, he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010 and then to Professor in 2017. He has been actively involved in faculty governance at Xavier University, serving most recently as Chair of the Faculty. He has held multiple leadership positions in the local and national American Chemical Society, currently serving his second term as Councilor.
“TAA has helped me in many ways since I joined, from trading stories with other authors at conferences to learning new skills from TAA online resources. I’d like to help the organization continue to serve its vital role for authors. In addition to helping plan for the organization’s future direction and activities, I bring a keen interest in helping the organization and my fellow members strategize around how authors can exert influence on the changes to our roles as the industry undergoes a significant transformation.”
Sasha Vodnik is the author of several textbooks on computer programming for the web, and teaches programming at General Assembly in San Francisco. Sasha has also written and recorded several video courses as an author for Lynda.com / LinkedIn Learning.