Since 2008, MALS and IDS students have been required to maintain academic portfolios which contain samples of their best work. Following best practice in portfolio-building, the selected works become evidence to support our students’ Midpoint and Reflective Essays, which unify the portfolios as our students explore their academic journeys and evaluate their diverse accomplishments and goals.
Time for a change! As of Spring 2014, MALS/IDS portfolio-building has gone “Technicolor” with the creation of the MALS/IDS Digication Community (https://depaul.digication.com/home_guest.digi?sid=592&cid=0&tid=0&pid=0&).
Digication, DePaul’s online portfolio tool, gives each student the ability to create, individualize, and share their portfolios not just for our program purposes, but with the outside world. Students can provide prospective employers and academic institutions with their own URLs to share professional, polished, and colorful representations of their best work. Students can utilize their portfolio URL on a variety of professional social networking platforms, such as Linkdn. Students “own” their portfolios, and can create as much variation as they like. Digication portfolios can remain as fixed or fluid as each student chooses, and can be published to select groups or individuals. These portfolios follow our graduates, who may access and share them at will beyond graduation.
Learning to use Digication is not difficult, and in fact, the Spring 2014 MALS/IDS graduates did a great job launching their basic portfolios with little help aside from our basic guidelines and links to online instruction. Individualized help is always available from DePaul’s Writing Center (https://depaul.mywconline.com/index.php). And we will be offering group DIgication sessions in the upcoming months to help our students see Digication’s many design and organizational possibilities. Students have the ability to create banners, color palettes, and images specific to their personalized portfolios. Cohesive images, colors, and font styles help students unify their portfolio content and translate an academic portfolio to an online community. While students will encounter a slight learning curve, once Digication logic takes hold, we know our students will embrace this technology with excellent results.
MALS/IDS still asks student to follow our basic portfolio requirements, but our students can now create their presentations to best represent their academic and professional portraits. In addition to online tips and tutorials, DePaul provides several examples of student portfolios online (https://depaul.digication.com/gethelp/examples). Portfolio examples are categories by portfolio types; MALS/IDS students might browse examples of capstone portfolios such as Matt Albert’s pictured above. Take a look at some of DePaul’s sample Digication portfolios to get an idea of the possibilities.
Master of Arts in Digital Communication and Media Arts (DCMA)
DePaul MALS/IDS students build diverse curriculums that often combine coursework from programs across the university. The university’s new M.A. in Digital Communication and Media Arts will create additional opportunities for MALS/IDS students to integrate multiple disciplines within their studies. MALS/IDS is excited to announce a partnership and future cross-listings with the College of Communication and CDM’s new program.
Paralleling MALS/IDS values, the M.A. in Digital Communication fosters interdisciplinary, graduate education. The program combines experiential skillsets and theoretical concepts. Supported by classes in “digital public relations, advertising, journalism, and technology communication,” students prepare themselves for the persistently changing digital world.
“The Master of Arts in Digital Communication integrates multiple topics all centered on the way contemporary technology is changing communication practices, for a truly interdisciplinary degree program.”
DCMA director, Paul Booth, has a history of listing courses across disciplines and colleges within the University. At the undergraduate level, his affiliation with the American Studies department brings students from the Social Sciences into the world of New Media and Communication. Enthusiastic about the potential for a MALS/IDS presence, he welcomes the opportunity to build new departmental relationships at the graduate level.
The ability to communicate, particularly in the online world, is an enticing attribute to continuing education programs. An emphasis on “thorough and up-to-date- experiences” keeps the new M.A. program at the forefront of digital and media studies: fields characterized by their ability to adapt to, if not establish, new technology.
For more information about the DCMA program, check out their webpage (http://communication.depaul.edu/academics/graduate-programs/digital-communication-and-media-arts/Pages/default.aspx) and keep an eye out for future cross-listings when browsing MALS/IDS courses.
by Caelin Niehoff, Student Assistant
We’ve been posting information in this blog about the upcoming 2013 AGLSP Conference, taking place October 10-12 at Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel. If you haven’t attended an academic conference before, we can give you an idea of what to expect and, hopefully, an idea of why you should consider participating in this exciting opportunity. We encourage graduate students and faculty to consider presenting and/or attending our interdisciplinary conference, which will focus on “Urban Gateways: Immigration and the Global City.” Go to aglsp.org for specific Conference paper presentation and registration details.
Academic conferences are always devoted to whatever unifying mission brings the member organizations together. In the case of AGLSP, the association brings together graduate liberal studies programs from universities around the US and Canada. Most participating programs involve interdisciplinary studies in more or less traditional Liberal Arts graduate programs. Each year, the university that hosts the AGLSP Annual Conference selects a theme that draws from that university’s areas of specialization, some unique cultural or geographical entity, or some social phenomenon associated with that school. For instance, in Oct. 2012, Reed College in Portland, OR, focused on the history and future of the book; last year, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, explored the importance of water across the disciplines; the year before, Rollins University in Orlando, FL, focused on the interaction between technology and the imagination. When AGLSP comes to DePaul, our theme will explore Urban Gateways: Immigration and the Global City. Watch for Calls for Papers to learn more specific presentation details.
AGLSP conferences begin with a Preconference Workshop day on the Thursday of the event. These workshops are geared towards MALS program directors and administrators, and topics include subjects like curriculum-building, dealing with administrative challenges, program marketing, new trends and innovations, incorporating social media as a community-builder, and so on. Participants share best practices and examine program areas in need of improvement. As the Workshop activities conclude, other participants begin to arrive to the conference hotel, getting ready for the Opening Reception that evening. The hosts and association directors welcome everyone to the conference, which leads into a presentation by a keynote speaker or panel of speakers to officially kick off the conference presentations.
The presentations begin early on the Friday of the conference. The day starts with breakfast at 8, followed by multiple 90-minute Concurrent Sessions that usually run until around 5 pm. These moderated sessions usually bring together several subject-related speakers who share their papers with interested participants. Presenters include students and professors from many universities and sometimes professionals in related fields. Many of the presenters use PowerPoint presentations, and some bring handouts and other ancillary materials. The host, along with AGLSP, works hard to create stimulating combinations of related speakers; lively conversation between panelists and audience is always encouraged. Participants enjoy the flexibility of moving from presentation to presentation according to their interests; details about each presenter and their materials are included in the conference programs each participant receives upon registration.
After a day full of presentations, participants take a break and then gather for the association Banquet. Once everyone has enjoyed what is usually a quite lavish meal, the association presents Faculty and Confluence Awards, which are sometimes then followed with entertainment. In Portland, after the awards, we were treated to a terrific juggling act and a view of some of Portland’s “Extreme Bikes” brought by several students.
Saturday begins with breakfast, a short Annual Business Meeting for the AGLSP member administrators, and then one more Concurrent Session that runs from 10:30 – noon. The Conference then adjourns, and many guests take their leave; but the activities don’t end quite yet. The host institution offers an afternoon excursion that may or may not relate to the conference theme.
This year in Portland, participants were invited to take a 6 hour tour of the Royal Gorge area along the Columbia River, led by two Reed College Science professors. Last year at Skidmore, guests were treated to a tour of Saratoga Springs’ actual springs, and we tasted many varieties of the natural spring water that have drawn people to the area for hundreds of years. We’re not sure yet what DePaul’s excursion will include, but given the fantastic ethnic diversity of Chicago, we know we will focus on specific neighborhoods and their culture. We will also find a way to show off our Lincoln Park campus to interested participants.
We’ll be holding our conference in the beautifully restored Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Ave. But participants are not held hostage; in all of the conferences we’ve attended, folks take time to get out and explore on their own. In Portland, the Governor Hotel was across the street from about a hundred food carts covering several city blocks. We were just 3 blocks from the famous Powell’s Books and a bit beyond that, one of the world’s biggest and most varied farmer’s markets. You can be sure that when people travel, they satisfy both their intellectual and cultural hungers to enjoy the best of the local offerings. We are certain that our guests will explore the many walking-distance attractions of downtown. They’ll be able to visit Millennium Park, the Museum Campus, the Art Institute, the Spertus Museum of Judaica, and many of the neighborhoods they’ll learn about. Our office will be preparing transportation and neighborhood guides so that our guests will find their ways around the city.
We’ll be counting on our fascinating MALS and IDS students to participate as presenters, volunteer to organize the sessions, and to act as impromptu city guides throughout the conference. You are our most valuable and interesting assets, and your enthusiasm and expertise will go miles in welcoming our 2013 AGLSP Annual Conference guests to Chicago and DePaul.
by Susan Jacobs, Associate Director
We’re hoping that some of our students and others in the DePaul community will consider participation in the upcoming annual conference of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs. We have the honor of hosting this year’s conference, to be held October 10-12 at the magnificent Renaissance Blackstone Hotel in Chicago’s South Loop. The theme will be “Urban Gateways: Immigration and Global City.” Information on page 3 of this Convergence newsletter lays out the theme in greater detail. We are hoping to get proposals which deal with the ways that immigrant communities in cities act now as nodes in a global cultural, economic and political network.
If you’re thinking about submitting a proposal, the most important thing is to focus on a specific idea or phenomenon. Generally, conference papers are 20 minutes long. To stick to this time limit, your paper will need to be 10-12 pages of double-spaced text; you don’t want to be racing through the paper. Your paper topic should be highly specific, which means that if you’re adapting it from something you’ve already written, you may need to present just one part of the original paper, or leave out some of the supporting details to cover the main points.
The proposal itself (which might be an abstract of a previously written paper) should be one or two paragraphs. It should state the topic clearly, talk about how it advances previous work on the topic or breaks new ground, describe the kind of research methods used, and suggest the main conclusions. By all means use visual materials via PowerPoint if those will make your presentation more clear or vivid, but avoid “death by PowerPoint” if the only reason you’re employing the screen is to project an outline of your points. If your paper is accepted for presentation, be sure to practice delivering it, so you can feel comfortable with it and bring out the highlights in a natural way.
In the case of the upcoming AGLSP conference, there are a variety of topics related to immigration, cities, ethnicity that could be considered. But unlike other conferences, the AGLSP does consider high-quality proposal on topics unrelated to the conference theme. This allows graduate liberal studies students and alums to showcase interesting projects they’re working on. Please feel free to contact me if you’re a student or alum and thinking of putting together a proposal for this exciting conference.
by David Gitomer, Director
DePaul’s MALS and IDS Programs have enjoyed a long and productive membership in the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP). This professional association draws MALS programs from throughout the US and Canada, and provides a vibrant consortium where universities share best practices and provides a forum for graduate student publication and presentation. DePaul’s MALS/IDS Director, Dr. David Gitomer, has acted as President of the AGLSP for the past two years. His leadership brings the AGLSP Annual Conference to DePaul for the 2013 meeting. DePaul’s MALS and IDS Programs will host the 2013 AGLSP Annual Conference at the beautifully restored historic Blackstone Hotel, from Oct. 10-12, 2013.
We are very excited and proud to host the conference, which will showcase DePaul students and faculty and Chicago; more importantly, our MALS and IDS students will take leadership roles in building what promises to be a most excellent conference. The theme of our conference is “Urban Gateways: Immigration and the Global City.”
Since all AGLSP members work from interdisciplinary platforms, our call for papers will encourage a wide range of interdisciplinary participation from graduate programs throughout DePaul and member universities. We expect papers to cross the curriculum via explorations of immigration and subjects including communication, politics, socio-economics, geography, art, literature, architecture, religion, and of course, since this is Chicago, food. A Call for Papers is posted at http://www.aglsp.org, and we will actively invite proposals and student volunteers through our office communications. Current students and alumni are all encouraged to participate not only in the conference, but throughout the year by submitting papers to Confluence, the AGLSP Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies. Winners of the Confluence Writing Award will be honored at the conference.
To give an example of previous conference themes, the October 2012 AGLSP Conference at Reed College in Portland, OR, featured “The Crisis of the Book: Worlds of Opportunity, Worlds of Change.” Reed offers an active book-making program, and Portland is home to an incredible variety of thriving bookstores, including the famous Powell’s Books. The keynote speakers included Michael Powell, owner of Powell’s Books, Molly Raphael, former president of the American Library Association, and Xan Arch, collection development librarian at Reed College. Concurrent presentations, which ran throughout the conference, included panel discussions on the history of print, new theories for literature in the digital age, social media as the new scriptorium, digital media’s influence on gender and power, and examinations of how technology has changed the shape of human narrative. Participants at AGLSP conferences enjoy the stimulation of workshops, presentations, and related excursions throughout the host city.
So, friends of MALS and IDS, save your papers and plan to take advantage of this excellent opportunity. We’ll be calling on DePaul’s incredibly varied interdisciplinary community to introduce our guests to Chicago’s fascinating global convergence of neighborhoods and DePaul’s thriving nucleus of inter-related urban studies. And we look forward to showing off the excellent work of our current and past MALS/IDS students and faculty.
by Susan Jacobs, Associate Director
- First and foremost, please apply for the MALS/IDS Partial Tuition Assistance. This program can help ease the burden of the cost of classes and (because it’s available quarterly) there’s always a chance of acquiring this funding for yourself. The application form can be found on D2L.
- The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs has a fund at http://www.studentaffairs.depaul.edu/omss/areasprograms.html#fase. This fund helps students in their courses of study as well as in their research interests. It wouldn’t hurt to look the information up and apply if it can help you.
- LAS also offers a Graduate Research Funding program, which helps alleviate the cost of research and conference attendance: http://las.depaul.edu/Research/Graduate/GrantProgram.asp. Though the funding is solely aimed at the costs of research and travel for conferences, it can nonetheless be helpful. Please consider looking into this funding if you plan on continuing with research throughout your program.