Institutional Support for Assessment: Southern New Hampshire University

An institution of interest for their assessment practices is Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).  SNHU is a nonprofit university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in three delivery options: on-campus, online, or at regional academic centers.  Television commercials for the university have featured its military-friendly format, and the university has received recognitions for innovativeness and its great workplace.  With these things in consideration, the university must be doing something right to be perceived well by students, employers, and third-parties alike. Continue reading

Models for Course Design

Adequate strategic planning is essential to the success of any project, regardless of institution.  Effective planning for improvement requires self-evaluation, assesses needs, proposes goals, and generates solutions that achieve ideal outcomes.  In education, teachers are additionally pressured because their strategies and decisions affect the academic future of their students.  To guide these strategies and decisions, course design models are created with the critical factors necessary to develop courses that effectively foster significant learning experiences. This paper will explore two course design models that have withstood the test of time. Continue reading

Literary Fiction – What is it, really?

The literary genre is arguably the most misunderstood genre of writing of today. I recently saw a discussion on social media in which literary was described as “flowery and sophisticated words.” Sambuchino, editor of Writer’s Digest, described literary fiction as “requir[ing] the highest command of the language” and “not easily defined, and sometimes the premise is not easily explained.” Santi, editor of Our Stories named common misconceptions of literary fiction, “they assume that the reader is interested in continuous tags of dialogue, riddled with unimportant gestures and gesticulations” (cited in Allen). Because of this widespread misconception on the definition of literary fiction, writers’ “literary” stories receive swift rejections, and people continue to spread false impressions on what literary truly is.  Continue reading

Goodbye, March.

The month has culminated in three very exciting pieces of news: my MFA conferral, and two short story publications.

My experience at Lindenwood was incredible, allowing me to hone my craft in ways that were both direly needed and beyond my expectations. I have nothing but good things I say about the program. I will be forever grateful for my professors, who are among those named in my thesis acknowledgements, but hidden away in pages that no one will read. If only Lindenwood published student theses…

NoiseMedium will be publishing my short story, Crystal Ball, on May 9. I entered their inaugural contest and was selected as a finalist. I’m pleased to be a part of their publication. The story is centered on a teenage girl and her mother’s obsession with a prediction of her death.

Riding Light informed me today that they would like to publish my short fantasy piece, The Gold Curse, in their forthcoming fantasy-themed issue. It’s the only short fantasy piece I’ve written to date, although Sacrifice for Resonata has a somewhat fantastical horror element within the modern world. The Gold Curse is a standalone piece in its own special world of fantasy creatures, but focuses on the pursuits of one dwarf. I will update my publications page in the next month or two when it’s released in print.

Soon, I will began posting about craft and literary elements. I’ve enjoyed exchanging advice with other writers in the classroom or in writing groups, so perhaps my posts will be of us to someone. Stay tuned…

MFA conferral on the horizon

My thesis is due in just a few days, on Sunday night. I opted for a short story collection, as my two novels-in-progress are far from completion, and their stories require more pages than a thesis requires. My midterm reader had good feedback on my draft (Thank you, Professor Anderson!). I am finally gaining some more confidence in my short fiction, and better understanding where my strengths and weaknesses are. I’ve also been playing with different styles and techniques, which has allowed me to extend beyond my comfort zone, grow as a writer, and become more versatile.

I just completed a rather sizable round of submissions, as March 15 happened to be quite the busy day for submissions deadlines. I’m very familiar with rejection as this point, but I’m eager for that one surprise acceptance. Fortunately, I have the final weeks of classes to keep me occupied. Conferral is set for the end of the month, and I’ll be awaiting my thesis grade.

Is this the point where I finally call myself a writer?

Shattered Bones, Shattered Dreams: The Short, Undefeated Career of Onlyforyou

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On a sunny day this past February at Hallandale Beach, Florida’s Gulfstream Park, a field of eight Thoroughbred racehorses were guided toward the starting gate by tiny jockeys perched atop their backs. The weather was particularly welcoming for a late winter day, and the track was listed as fast–a term used to describe the track footing as dry, even, and at peak efficiency. The field of contenders, all three-year-old fillies, were aiming for the top prize of the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes.

The Thoroughbreds filed calmly into the gates and barely fidgeted as they awaited the start–except for one. A strong bay filly of almost 16 hands (64 inches at her back) in the third stall of the gate challenged her tiny steel confinement for a brief moment. Onlyforyou was her name. She reared and pranced nervously, causing her five-foot-one, 115-pound jockey, Javier Castellano, to dismount until she calmed down. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, watched the outburst from among the crowd with a fleeting moment of disappointment. Little did anyone know, Onlyforyou’s eruption was just a preview of the power she would unleash when she would break from the gates.

Continue reading