Welcome all to my first Casual Friday post. I’m going to be testing these posts over the next several weeks to get a feel for them. You see, I’d like to learn how to blog better. With my blog, I hope to showcase my knowledge, have a landing spot for my credentials, and use blogging to better connect to peers. In order to get better at the craft I’ve decided to blog more. Seems simple enough, but is it?

Most of my blog posts are great “evergreen content”. This means that anyone can get the link, at any time, and there will be some value. However, I’m terrible at dynamic content. Quite frankly, while there is a ton of news happening throughout the Rhetoric and Tech Comm academic spheres (CFP, new Phd candidates, Conferences, published books, you get the point), my confidence in joining that inner circle of scholars is ill-to-none.

I follow along. There’s listservs and obvious influencers. I’ll only follow blogs from scholars I think I have something to learn (or they don’t seem like a jerk). Followed one rhet blogger last year where I made a positive comment and they tongue lashed me for some reason. C’est la vie, that’s one less program to think about.

Getting back to the topic, blogging serves as a tactic, a means to a never-ending end. My opaque goal of becoming a professor is always under question. This is like a WW2 captain in an important battle saying, “Men, I need you to take, maybe that hill? Some of you will die, but maybe to just the left or right of that hill is good enough, I think. I’m not sure, but if you could try going around the back, maybe? Some of you others just run at it?”.

I’ve received one offer for help, but I find myself going blank with questions.

Talking it out with my significant other, she thinks that my view on “passion” is skewed. Makes sense. I’ve had enough mentors tell me that I lack “passion”. I see how others portray their desires, but with comparison comes overly brutal honesty. It’s not a question of how much I care. It is a question of, can I portray a level of interest and engagement they expect from me? Can I show this level of interest without sustaining negative consequences some place else? Is there room in my life to have my career interests and my job?

The hard part is letting go of past experiences. It’s very difficult to aim at the target in front of you, if you’re constantly looking back. The time during undergrad, Dr. L, told me to “drop out of college entirely” is an instance that comes to mind. There was also that time I was let-go from a job because I told them I wanted a Phd (They wanted me to make a 2-5 year commitment at the time). There’s also the small insults from different profs during grad school (Dr. G’s “golden boy”, bashing tech-comm as a lower, “just plain stupid”).

My favorite was getting told, “you don’t belong here” in grad school.

Dr. G, by the way, was the person constantly vouching for me. It seemed that many other profs didn’t care for her or for me. Luckily, during grad school I did have a slew of others to combat the handful. I guess that’s why I felt grad school was difficult. It wasn’t the coursework or the multiple jobs and internships. The hard part was navigating between faculty, peer, and outsider opinions of your abilities. Why anyone should have an opinion anyway is beyond me.

Now thinking, all of that negativity might be a reason I’ve decided to hold one rule with my career: be positive.

I don’t think most people realize that, at various points in their life, they will be a mentor. The thoughts, feelings, and opinions they provide to impressionable ears will ring in that person’s head for the rest of their life. There’s power in your opinion and an ethical responsibility to that end.

This all may seem like a series of ramblings. I assure you it’s not. It might make it easier to see a cognitive map:

Career Goals= blogging goals + blogging tactics + social media goals/tactics + confidence – lack of confidence – past experience – understanding of career difficulty + attitude + moral/ethical grounding + support

I know that I can do the work. I know that who I am makes me a great candidate. The timeline is also very long. Applications at the end of this year and my potential start in a new program the fall after. So, maybe fall of 2021? I’ll have to keep working to prove to others that I’m worth something.

A note to those that say, “if can live your life without doing XYZ, then you don’t want it badly enough”, seriously, bug off. That’s delusional passion and you’re only making a barrier for those that would be awesome at the job. You don’t need to add a wall to the relay race.

For those interested, I’ve scraped the google map of rhetoric programs I’ve seen floating around on a few blogs. I’ve gone through my first round of maybe/no decisions and landed on 42 potential programs, looking at just interesting programs. I’ll cut them down further once I see who teaches what. But for now, here is the current list (no particular order):

University of Texas-Austin, PhD in English, Rhetoric concentration
Virginia Tech PhD in Rhetoric and Writing
Indiana University PhD in English/Concentration in Rhetoric
Clemson University Transdisciplinary PhD: Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design
Ohio State University PhD in English
Michigan State University PhD in Rhetoric & Writing
University of South Florida PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition concentration
Northeastern University, Graduate study in Writing and Rhetoric
University of Cincinnati, PhD Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition, Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of South Carolina PhD in English, Emphasis in Composition and Rhetoric
Wayne State University PhD in English, Composition concentration
George Mason University, PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, Department of English
North Dakota State University, PhD in English: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, Department of English
Utah State University, PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric
West Virginia State University, PhD in English with a concentration in Writing, Editing and Publishing
Washington State University PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition concentration
North Carolina State University PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM)
Oklahoma State University, Concentrations in Composition and Rhetoric, Professional Writing and Digital Studies, Department of English
Arizona State University PhD in Rhetoric/Composition & Linguistics
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute PhD in Communication and Rhetoric, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Purdue University PhD in Rhetoric & Composition
Iowa State University PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication
University of Michigan Joint PhD Program in English and Education
Ohio University, PhD in Rhetoric and Composition, Department of English
Georgia State University PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition concentration
Bowling Green State University PhD in Rhetoric and Writing
Texas Christian University PhD in English
East Carolina University PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication
New Mexico State University PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication
University of Kansas, Specialization in Rhetoric and Composition, Department of English
Texas Tech University PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, Department of English
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Graduate Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition
Ball State University PhD in English, concentration in Rhetoric and Composition
City University of New York PhD in English, Composition Theory and Rhetoric area of study
Old Dominion University PhD in English, tracks in Rhetoric and Textual Studies, and in Professional Writing and New Media
Illinois State University, PhD concentrations in Professional Writing and Rhetorics, Rhetoric and Composition, and Teaching Writing, Department of English
University of Oklahoma PhD in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy
University of Central Florida Texts & Technology
Miami University PhD in Composition and Rhetoric
Carnegie Mellon University Phd in Rhetoric
University of Minnesota PhD in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication
Penn State University PhD in English

If you see your program and can find anything good/bad, please email me at christopher.j.grim@gmail.com. I’d love to set-up a video chat or phone call. I’m also happy to have an email exchange. Also, if there are any observations you’d like me to share about your faculty bio, your blog, or whatever, I’m happy to provide my 2 cents back.

I hope this more casual post gives you something of value. I know that in the process of writing this post I’ve learned a little bit more about myself. As always, thank you for reading.