Visiting Assistant Professor in Professional Writing

Visiting Assistant Professor in Professional Writing Position, U of Central Florida, Department of English, PO Box 161346 Orlando FL 32816

The Department of English at the University of Central Florida seeks a Visiting Assistant Professor specializing in Professional Writing to be employed at our Southern region campus. The non-tenure track position requires a PhD in English, Rhetoric/Composition, or a related field with specialization in technical and/or professional communication from an accredited institution and the ability to teach undergraduate and graduate courses. Position begins August 2008. Teaching load is 4/4. Possible assignments will include courses in our online Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and our online M.A. in Technical Communication as well as our undergraduate professional writing and technical communication courses. Face-to-face courses and office hours will be primarily on UCF's Southern region campus in Cocoa. Must have expertise in developing and teaching web-based courses or be willing to teach online after receiving training on campus.

The Department has over 60 full-time faculty and awards the B.A. in three fields-technical communication, literature, and creative writing. The Department also offers M.A. programs in these three fields as well as a graduate certificate in professional writing, the M.F.A. in creative writing, and a Ph.D in Texts and Technology. The sixth largest university in the country, UCF is located in Orlando, Florida, one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Send letter of interest, curriculum vitae, an article-length writing sample, and three letters of recommendation to Dr. Dawn Trouard, Interim Chair, Department of English, University of Central Florida, P.O. Box 161346, Orlando, FL 32816-1346. Review of applications will begin on May 22 and will continue until the position is filled. Because of our commitment to diversity, we actively seek applications from women and minorities. UCF is an EO/AA employer. Search documents may be viewed by the public upon request, in accordance with Florida Statute.

Inappropriate Post

This post is off-topic. There's nothing here about video games, and the advertised position requires a PhD in English, not ludology or similar.

While Laurie may be a Librarian who's also interested in video games I don't think it's appropriate to include adverts for your own university unless they're directly relevant to Gameology.

inappropriate comment

Laurie is a founding member of Gameology and may post about whatever she feels is relevant. If you find something off-topic, you're welcome to skip over it. Furthermore, Laurie not affiliated with UCF (unless she's had a very recent job change), and even if she was, it would still be relevant to pass it along. Many of us here have or are working on degrees in English or related fields, so it's entirely possible that a job in tech writing would be perfect, especially somewhere like UCF.

UCF's Game Studies Program

I hadn't added a preface for how the job connected to game studies--which I often do--because I thought it would be obvious. That apparently isn't the case, so my explanation is below. Further, I define game studies broadly (virtual environments; play; procedural rhetoric; digital media; usability) and it seems many game studies researcher do as well based on the writings in game studies.

Since my post wasn't obvious in its connections another bit of information I assumed obvious might not be. Florida is having a financial crisis and the state has incredibly low tuition ($3,600 a year for undergraduates) and hope of raising it or having the state help isn't likely. This year has been particularly bad and UF (Gainesville) will be laying people off to meet budget callbacks. I'm not sure what UCF's (Orlando) plans are, but Florida is a state academics are leaving and where new hires even those in faculty, tenure-track lines (like those in younger fields) may be laid off. I posted the position because it connects to game studies, but if that wasn't obvious than the issues in Florida (the state) may not be clear.

Also, I am at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, which is a couple of hours north of UCF which is in Orlando. I know state schools tend to have confusing names and systems for naming, but it's always smart to check before attacking.

UCF's technical writing program is game studies related through the researchers there and programs like Text and Technology Program, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and the many other programs at UCF. Most of these are at the UCF main campus, and this position is for Cocoa, Florida. UCF is in Orlando (near Disney) and that's related to game studies as well, and this particular position is at the UCF Cocoa location, on "Florida's Space Coast" about an hour from Orlando's main area. EA has a huge development presence in Orlando, as do many major companies like Lockheed Martin (military simulations), and the whole city is a living example of the city at play with it's constant growth, the huge theme park presence (virtual meets real, theme parks and rides for everything--fantasy, science, religion..) and Cocoa, Florida is by Cape Canaveral which also lends itself to research in virtual realities, simulations, modeling, and so forth. Orlando and much of Florida south of it is a virtualized space--it's Miami's South Beach, the Keys, Alligator Alley, and so forth, so the whole space lends itself to studies of constructed spaces and interactions.

Oh, and my PhD is in English (focus on game studies) like many game studies folks and many who have degrees in art (digital media and games, often designated as MFAs) or in computer science (focus on game studies, simulations, modeling, narrative) or many other fields (sociology, economics), but I wasn't even aware that anywhere was--as of yet--giving PhDs listed in ludology. We have an old list of places to study games and most are in English/humanities programs or in computer science driven programs.

I think Zach's 2004 "turf" article is useful for anyone looking for background on game studies and where it belongs or how it's grown. I think it's interesting that the post situated me as "a librarian who's interested in games" rather than a game studies researcher who's a librarian or a game studies researcher or any of the other ways it could have been written since the phrasing is "something outside interested in games" instead of game studies being a field open for other areas. Game studies has many researchers who are building connections with those who've come from game studies to another field or from another field to game studies--with folks in health, sociology, economics, business, museums, libraries, education, psychology, and so many other fields. These connections build game studies and allow for more interesting types of research, and more areas for game studies to grow.

PhD Programs

To clarify on my question of a PhD in ludology, I'm interested in knowing of PhD programs in ludology or game studies or something explicit within the formal academic structure (accredited, formally validated within the institution). Jesper Juul is normally held as the first PhD in game studies/ludology, but the same sources also mention other PhDs in game studies from other fields. I'm not trying to reinforce boundaries at all, but fields like film studies have grown from being fostered within other areas to being fields with their own departments and schools and that's already happened for game studies, or at least sort of through existing game design programs and IT-related schools, but I don't know that we've seen a tipping point with schools with game studies departments that aren't still under or conjoined with other departments (media studies, English, Computer Science, Digital Arts...) and I don't know how likely that is to happen because games are so interdisciplinary that it almost makes more sense to have centers and institutes with affiliated programs. Yet, the academic and institutional recognition of a "game studies department" or "ludology department" with specialists in computer science, art, narrative, interface and interaction design, film, game history, social aspects of play, is something that still has cultural weight and I don't know think that we've seen it within that exact frame yet. Georgia Tech, MIT, USC (Southern California), CUNY (City University of New York), and many others have programs that fit the configuration even if without having the configuration explicitly named or institutionalized.

I'm not sure of the use value of the cultural weight given to an easily named department given the factors in play -- use of ease for understanding game studies as a field and concept, value afforded to intellectual rigor of games, cultural value of games as something "worth" studying; and, abuse potential with "real" game studies versus "fake" within departments not named the same way, turf wars for "which" game studies if departments more weighted to one field based on instructors or classes or projects, and cultural backlash with calls to "return to tradition", and feature creep.

I'm personally more worried about feature creep in terms of how academia pushes its people. While the stereotype of academia is that academics don't do much (summers off, few hours, job security forever), the reality is far from it. Academia can and does push researchers too far and too hard, which has already led to "brain doping" and the "permanence" of tenure doesn't exist in the event of financial woes where tenured and tenure-track may indicate order of cutting or size of severance package but which does not mean the cultural idea of a job "for life", and academia's issues have particular implications for game studies given its impending need for growth and for the turf wars it may face if it displaces other areas within specific institutional configurations. I think all of these can be good problems, with room for growth and discussion especially from those in new fields who know how to leverage technology most usefully, but they'll also mean a great deal of work through collaborative effort. It also seems that academic blogs like GrandTextAuto and WaterCoolerGames which are more focused on games as well as blogs like Printculture with game studies framed within cultural studies and academia specifically have already begun much of the infrastructure-establishment for the work to come.

Explanation

Hi Laurie and Zach

Thanks for your replies. First of all let me apologise for being so curt. I certainly didn't mean to cause offence and am sorry for causing any bad feeling. Also let me say that I think my attitude to game studies is compatible with yours. I strongly believe that we can benefit greatly by bringing other disciplines to bear on games. I also appreciate that any kind of game study degree is currently likely to be situated within humanities or computing departments.

All I really want to suggest is that you could improve the focus of this website by only posting about material that is first and foremost about games.

I accept that there will be people on this site who are interested in both professional writing and games, and that the institution in question might be a good place to study games. However this position is principally about professional writing, not games. While the successful applicant might do some games-related research there it still doesn't look to me that this is especially what the advert is looking for. While for my tastes an advert for a Professional Writing job is too tenuous, and example of an appropriate post might be an ad for a position that explicitly includes teaching in the FIEA, or say an Assistant Professor in Narrative Game Design within the English department. A perfect example is the Faculty Director position for a new Gaming Center at New York University (http://www.digra.org/news/archive/2008/01/31/job-faculty-director-of-gam...).

You have to draw a line somewhere, and I think if you're going to include professional writing then you could end up including jobs in philosophy, engineering, biology, psychology, usability, computer science, literature, architecture, etc. They definitely can all be useful for the study of games, but they don't start from that point and most of the work conducted in these fields is not about games.

This is your site, and you're at liberty to post whatever you think is relevant - as I am to comment or skip over material I'm not interested in - but I do think that gameology.com would be best served by only including material that is at least mostly about games.

Cheers,
Gareth

More game-centric does make sense

Hi Gareth,

I think you're right in that Gameology should be primarily focused on games, but I have a wide definition for that focus and for games. Even with my inclusive definition, I can see how a professional writing position pushes the limits. But, I'd still argue that a position in professional writing within a program on texts and technology is more than close enough to game studies. In the future, and perhaps even the near future, that may change. As game studies grows into its own established field, it makes sense to have Gameology narrow its focus as well to ensure that the information stays relevant and the site remains useful. I've already started moving many posts from Gameology's main site to my individual sub-blog to help prevent discussion feature-creep.

I'm glad you're reading and participating in games studies and with Gameology, and having an opinion on what the site is and where it should go is important for that. Gameology should keep being what it is even as that changes with game studies and the discussion participants. Much like 37Signals' argument that software should be opinionated, so should Gameology, and those opinions will clash and change as Gameology's purpose and vision are further defined and refined, especially as the discussion participants grow and change. In keeping with the purpose of fostering game studies, Gameology's writing style tends to be very friendly, so something short and written hastily can seem harsh in comparison to the overall tone of the site. Thanks for clarifying on your post, and it'd be great to have more posts on what game studies is and where blogs like Gameology fit within game studies.

Best,
Laurie

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