“Good” NTT vs. “Bad” TT: A Conversation (Part III)

This is Part III of a three-part series on weighing the pros and cons of taking a good NTT position vs. a less desirable tenure track position. I use “good” and “bad” advisedly just as a shorthand, because of course these judgments will vary across individuals and context. But many readers have faced versions of this choice and contributed guest posts. I’m sharing their stories.Find the previous ones here and here. Like the others, this is a guest post.


On the pros and cons of term/clinical positions versus the TT….

As an occupant of such a position (a term position, in my case) with fairly recent experience of the academic job market and front row seats to the TT journey of multiple friends, here are my thoughts on the pros and cons. I’m writing this partly to contribute to Karen’s project, which I’ve found enormously helpful through the years, and partly because I’ve had enough annoying conversations with grad students about this that I think it merits raising in the wider community. What lies at the heart of this question, I think, is that we as academics are all conditioned to think of a TT track position as a “real” job, and of everything else as a stop gap measure at best and a failure at worst.

This isn’t a tenable formulation—not for our graduate students heading out into the market, and not for the rest of us, who create and perpetuate the problems of that market–partly because this is what we have to think with. It isn’t tenable on an individual level (TT jobs are much fewer in number than term positions, thus the odds of landing one aren’t great, while the personal and professional costs of chasing often are), and it isn’t tenable on an organizational level (because it effectively serves to justify the abuse of people occupying those other positions, rendering academic institutions houses divided against themselves).

So, when I was on the market, what I was after was a job that would allow me to live a full life while offering me the opportunity to do the work that I enjoy, employ my training and my talents, and pay a decent salary with good chances of stability and growth.

Such jobs don’t neatly divide into the TT/term categories, and my advice would be to evaluate the pros and cons of each individual position, not the entire category. To that end, the pros of some term positions:

-They can occupy a structural niche in the university. If not funded by soft money, this can translate to considerable stability.

-They can afford a lot of opportunities for really interesting work

-They are more likely to enable their occupants to skirt departmental politics.

-They pay a decent salary and come with benefits. As for the cons, they all stem from that house divided phenomenon I mentioned.

Basically, what we have by virtue of this division is a class system within the university. Term/clinical faculty are second class citizens, period (adjuncts in this metaphor are basically serfs).

As a result, many of those pros seamlessly transition into the cons:

–the utility to the organization translates to a lot of work. Since term employees aren’t on the TT, there’s little organizational incentive to make sure their work loads are reasonable.

–there’s no guarantee that the work will, in fact, be interesting. Many contract positions exist to do the rote work of a department—teach introductory courses, handle the routines of administration, etc.

–The ability to skirt department politics is in part a result of being less consequential to them (unlike tenured faculty, term contracts are much easier to dispatch, and term faculty can’t participate in university governance on equal terms with the TT).

Then again, a TT job is no golden ticket—it doesn’t protect you from exploitation, burn out or abuse. And a good term job isn’t a step down from a bad TT one.

Live Webinars Resume This Week!

Hello all, a quick note to alert you that Live Webinars are back, starting tomorrow, Thursday November 15!

All are $50, but use this promo code – WEBZONE10 – for 10% off.

Find them here on the Live Webinars page. And remember: all registrants get access to a recording even if you don’t attend the live event.

*Hacking the Academic Job Market (Thursday Nov. 15, 6 PM EST)

*Interview Intervention Webinar (Thursday Nov 21, 6 PM EST)

*The Campus Visit Webinar (Thursday Dec 5, 6 PM EST)

Descriptions below.:

Hacking the Academic Job Market

Thursday 11/15 6 PM EST

In this 90-minute webinar I walk you through the conditions of the
current American job market, the most common mistakes made by
job-seekers, and the ways you can maximize your chances of success while
looking for a tenure-track job.
We’ll cover:

The big-picture conditions of the U.S. academic job market
How to think like a search committee
The four core qualities of a successful tenure track job candidate
The all-important 5-Year Plan
The ethos of job market documents
The most common mistakes made by job seekers
The three keys to academic interviewing
The non-academic option

We also examine the pervasive intangible pitfalls that can bedevil job
documents and interviewing, including narcissism, excessive humility,
and hyper-emotionalism. You’ll leave with a broad understanding of the
real (as opposed to fantasy) criteria of tenure track hiring, and how to
tailor your record and application materials to maximize your chances
of success.

Includes time for Q and A with Dr. Karen. All who register get access to a free recording of the event.


Interview Intervention Webinar

Thursday 11/21 6 PM EST

In this 90-minute webinar Karen Kelsky shows you how to interview
effectively for an academic job. She covers the major questions asked
most often, and their unspoken agendas. She discusses the most common
errors made by candidates, and how to organize and deliver concise,
content-rich, non-desperate responses.

She will provide templates
for responses to basic questions about your dissertation/current
research, publishing, teaching, and fit, and abundant examples of both
bad and good answers from actual client interviews.

In addition,
we confront illegal/inappropriate questions, micro-aggressions, and the
all important issue of overcoming Imposter Syndrome, and communicating
confidence through verbal and non-verbal modes. And she spares a few
words for how to dress, the best shoes for cold weather, and ideas for

The material applies to skype, phone, and conference
interviews, and the campus visit (although note that we have a whole
separate webinar and recording available that is devoted to the campus

This webinar works in tandem with the live Skype
Interview Intervention service provided by Kel Weinhold ($250); it is an
immediately available and cost-effective way to learn what to expect
and how to prepare for all forms of academic job interview. Many clients
do the webinar as preparation for a live Skype Intervention, if there
are slots available.

As always there will be plenty of time for Q and A at the end.

All who register get access to a recording of the event.


Campus Visit Webinar

Thursday 12/5 at 6 PM EST

In this 90 minute webinar I walk you through the basic expectations and
potential pitfalls of the dreaded Campus Visit (sometimes called a
Fly-Out). We will cover all of the core elements, including:

The three key criteria at play in a campus visit
The single biggest pitfall for candidates
The basic organization of a campus visit
The initial arrangements and scheduling
Preparing for the visit
Meetings with faculty, Head, Dean, and graduate students
The formal interview with the Search Committee
The job talk and Q and A
The teaching demo
Handling meals gracefully
Maintaining your stamina
Evaluating campus climate
What to wear, especially in cold weather

As always there will be time for Q and A at the end. All who register get access to a recording of the event.

Campus visits are hard! A little advance knowledge will save a world of hurt!

Remember: use this promo code – WEBZONE10 – for 10% off! Find the webinars here on the Live Webinars page. All registrants get access to a recording even if you don’t attend the live event.

Floored: Lessons from the Privilege Walk – WOC Guest Post

I am delighted to offer another guest post in my series of contributed posts by black women and other women of color.

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, email me at [email protected] I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer and can be about your experiences of racism/microaggressions in grad school or the career, your post-academic musings, hard-won advice for other students/faculty of color coming up, intersectional practices in teaching or research that you have found valuable, and also of course, makeup and clothes, or even tech gear you’ve found that helps in your work. More information can be found here.

Today’s post is by Dr. TaLisa J. Carter.

TaLisa J. Carter, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University. Her research broadly focuses on criminological theory, social institutions, race, social control. When she’s not earning tenure, she loves to people watch, dance and cross things off her many to-do lists.


Like every other first-year graduate student – I remember being tired yet determined. My mind was tired of trying to make sense of Foucault and Weber, but my tongue was determined to contribute substantively to class. My closet was tired of me picking its limited selection to attend departmental events, but I remained determined to build a professional network and look the part. My social meter was depleted, tired of trying to connect with a cohort at venues void of the bass, beats, rhythm, and soul that moved me. Yet, I remained determined to at least try to be their friend. That, however, died the day of the privilege walk. 

Mid-semester a student duo introduced the discussion-heavy graduate seminar to the privilege walk. The privilege walk was an activity meant to link privilege to justice, reflexivity, and a bunch of other lovely concepts strung together in what seemed like a harmless announcement. We rose, formed a frumpy horizontal line across the middle of the classroom.

And it began. 

  • If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA not by choice, take one step back. I stepped backward. 
  • If you had to rely primarily on public transportation, take one step back. I stepped backward. 
  • If you travelled outside of the country before you were 18 years old, take one step forward. I stood still. 
  • If your family ever had to move because they could not afford to pay the rent or
  • mortgage, please take one step back. I stepped backward. 
  • If your parents told you that you could be anything you wanted to be, take one step forward. I stepped forward. 
  • If you attended private school or summer camp, take one step forward. I stood still. 
  • If you were told that you were beautiful, smart, and capable by your parents, take one step forward. I stepped forward. 
  • If you were ever discouraged from academics or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back. I stepped backward. 

The questioning continued, unrelenting, ignoring the thickness in the air, the reddening faces of my peers and the manifestation of my marginalization becoming more and more unmistakable. The privilege that my Ivy league undergraduate label afforded me for the first several months of graduate school was fading. Every step backwards I took – ripped it to pieces. A mixed-race peer with a sweet and brave spirit began to affirm me with her facial expressions and finally short sentences. But there was little to be done, the privilege walk continued. 

Another question. My back hit the chalkboard. 

Another question. Nowhere to step now. I turned around and faced the blackboard. Its blackness a welcome sight, relative to the uncomfortable backs of my privileged peers. 

Another question. Nowhere to turn now. I squatted. 

Another question. I’m tired but determined to share my truth. I sat on the floor. 

And even after sitting, I should have taken four steps further back. That fact screamed in my brain loudly as we found our seats in silence. I am so many steps behind that I shouldn’t even be in this room. Imposter syndrome wasn’t in my head, it was real, living, justified by the onslaught of questions that left me on the floor.

The duo led a debrief that was maddening. Students openly discussed how less visible marginalized identities (e.g. sexuality and religion) related to privilege, playing a carefully articulated game of verbal hopscotch to avoid issues related to race, ethnicity, and class. I stayed silent. Numb. Annoyed. After class, I recounted the story to my family and friends. One asked: “Why didn’t you just lie?”

Truth is…I’m proud of my truth. There is no reason to lie. I was led to this predominantly white space, discipline, department because of my lived experiences. I was not ashamed. I was not embarrassed. I was disappointed, angry, and hurt that the exercise was ultimately a waste of time, rather than an educational tool.  

My professor followed up, checked in, called, we met. And I shared my truth, my frustrations, my disappointment. I was a first-year, tired yet determined to relate why I chose to participate so openly in the exercise, how the debrief was beyond problematic and what I believed should be done to move forward in a healthy way. And the following week in class, she led us in a real debrief. A debrief that affirmed me in that space and provided room for a critical analysis of the exercise. The conversation led to tears from my peers, blunt statements about “not knowing what to do,” feeling bad, and extreme discomfort.  I didn’t know how I felt. But I learned lessons: 

  1. Being an imposter is only an issue when you buy into the negativity around it. From the floor onward, I’ve owned my differences in ways that empower me. Ultimately, you frame your identity in this space – not other people. 
  2. Making other people uncomfortable is MORE THAN OKAY. I didn’t share my truth to teach others nor to have a powerful moment with myself. I just told the truth. And the dominoes that fell as a result – not my problem. 
  3. Related, I believe that integrating exercises in the classroom that confront sensitive issues is a critical part of higher education. However, faculty and students must prepare properly, engage fully and debrief appropriately. Most importantly if something goes wrong, there must be a commitment to correct- even if that means reengaging with discomfort. To be clear, I would participate in another privilege exercise if 2 conditions were met: (1) I trusted the facilitator and (2) understood the intended learning outcomes for all involved. 
  4. Speak up. If something doesn’t feel right, say something. And it doesn’t have to be in the moment or cause a scene. Speak up in whatever way works for you.  
  5. Hard times suck, but they will show you your advocates, and the people you can lean on to thrive in this experience. When my professor checked in, I could’ve easily avoided the conversation, lied, and pressed on. But from that experience, I found a true mentor and advocate. 
  6. The purpose of cohorts is not friendship. Together you learn to be good colleagues, not good friends. The week between classes, most of my cohort avoided me like I had done something to them. In that isolation, I grew stronger. 
  7. Be you. You’re enough. 

To this day, sitting on the floor in that classroom was the best thing I could have done my first year. It shaped my perspective and approach to a process structured in ways without me in mind. The lessons learned were priceless. No regrets. Period. 


#MakeupMonday: Contour Edition

I’m still recovering from the big accident I wrote about in the last #MakeupMonday post. My physical injuries are healing quickly, but my post-concussion symptoms have been slower. Weirdly enough, editing work has been uniformly fine from the first moment I came back to it, before I could even use my arm to type! Whatever part of my brain was impacted, that wasn’t it. I’ve really noticed it in my non-work life. Short term memory stuff. Inability to multi-task. And a general irritability even more than my usual – and that’s saying something!

If any of you have experienced concussion symptoms like this, let me know if you found any treatments that worked.

In the meantime, I’ve been incorporating some of the skills and products I had to acquire post-accident into my regular routine–mostly a new affection for concealers. They are still really hard to use, especially when the goal is NOT to be an IG beauty blogger but to walk among other flesh and blood humans in real physical time and space without looking like you have a layer of gunk on your face!

But I’ve found three I love. First, the IT Bye-Bye UnderEye Anti-Aging Full Coverage Concealer that I blogged about last time – it really is one of those products that is so head and shoulders above the rest that it’s just a standard-setter. It’s heavy and you have to need that level of concealer, and also need to learn how to use it (hint: warm a microscopic amount between your fingers) but wow–it goes on so smoothly and blends to such an amazing natural but lasting sheen. Second, Pur Disappearing Ink 4-1 Face Concealer, which I bought on a whim and is now my favorite post-accident, medium coverage concealer. It is brightening, blends beautifully, and doesn’t crease. Last, I found Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Cream for $15 at Nordstrom Rack last week (go run and check it out–there are tons of high end current Becca, IT, MAC, and Urban Decay products there right now!) that is, like all Becca products, really awesome at looking light and dewy, although I’m not sure yet about its durability. I didn’t really need another concealer honestly, but I don’t pass up good Becca products when I find them cheap (and they had my exact shade in stock). BTW, I also scored the Becca Color Correcting Cream in Pistachio to deal with redness, and it’s far far above any other green color corrector I’ve used, including one by Smashbox and one by Dermablend.

So this morning I thought I’d share a quick contour session. I’ve wanted to do one for a really long time but I’m always rushing and late, and don’t take the time to snap those pics for a post! Today, I just did it, even though I didn’t really have time for lots of careful lighting, posing, and micro-steps. Today’s is far from my most careful and fastidious makeup application, but as one of my heroes says in advice she gives to young writers: “Do it badly, fast.”* So here goes.

First I did Glamglow Gravity Lifting Mask while drying my hair. It was dry and ready to peel off right when I finished drying and flatironing and styling my hair — love that!

I do my skincare, primer, color correctors, foundation, and concealer. As you’ll see in the pics below, I still have a very visible scar on my forehead, and stubborn purple shadows around my eyes that resist concealer coverage.

Then, I do the contour. I use one of my beloved 100% ride-or-die products, which I actually forgot to mention on my recent “Must-Have Products 2019” post: Kevin Aucoin Contour Book Volume 2 – an AMAZING deal (considering the number of items included) on cool-toned contour colors and highlighters for a ton of different effects.

I put it under my cheekbone, under my jawline, between my eyes and down the sides of my nose, and around the outer edge of my forehead and cheeks. I learned this method from watching Youtube MUAs (makeup artists), especially Wayne Goss.

Don’t be afraid! It’s ok to really draw it on, as long as you remember to BLEND. And folks: PLEASE, I beg you: you probably need cooler toned contour products, especially if you are a white person! I get that not everyone is as cool in undertone as I am, but please remember: shadows tend to be fundamentally blue-ish, not bronze! Too many companies and clerks push bronzers (which are always brown/gold/tan and often shimmery) in place of contour products which are typically matte and cooler. While all interested readers should use your A+ research skills to investigate advice and products for your own skin tone and undertone, please heed me when I tell you that if you’re trying to create the sense of a shadow, you probably need a cooler-toned palette than what you have around. And, they are hard to find. The Kevin Aucoin line does it very, very well – as befits the ultimate contour-king of makeup.

So, now I blend.

Now I add blush.

Oops, big unblended blotch! That happens a lot when I put on blush.

I quickly fix that.

I add some concealer and highlighter. I have a highlighter post coming soon because my daughter introduced me to a new product line that we are both now obsessed with!

Then I finish up everything else. I feel like too much contour came off in the course of blending everything, so I add back a bit between my eyes and on my nose. Here it is unblended.

And then blended, and everything done, including my new beloved lipcolor, which I’ve blogged about before: Lipstick Queen RearView Mirror in Drive My Mauve. Don’t be put off by the goofy packaging of this product: it performs! It goes on glossy but then settles into what I can only call a lipstain that stays and stays

I am ok with leaving some shadows under my eyes right now, because I don’t want to slather on even more concealer (beyond what I am already using above) to erase them. But I have to say, I am ready to be done with these post-accident challenges.

*Prof. Jessica Hammer, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, in “The Portable Hammer.”

Academic PTSD – WOC Guest Post

[Posting has been a bit delayed as I’ve recovered from my accident. I will be posting on an accelerated schedule to try and get caught up!]

I am delighted to offer another guest post in my series of contributed posts by black women and other women of color.

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, email me at [email protected] I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer and can be about your experiences of racism/microaggressions in grad school or the career, your post-academic musings, hard-won advice for other students/faculty of color coming up, intersectional practices in teaching or research that you have found valuable, and also of course, makeup and clothes, or even tech gear you’ve found that helps in your work. More information can be found here.

Today’s post is by Dr. Rita Shah. Dr. Shah is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at Eastern Michigan University. Her research combines textual analysis with qualitative and visual methods to understand the ways in which correctional systems are socially and legally constructed. Her first book, The Meaning of Rehabilitation and its Impact on Parole: There and Back Again in California (2017), queries the concept of rehabilitation to determine how, on a legislative and policy level, the term is defined as a goal of correctional systems.


As I wrap up the Winter 2019 semester, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my first two years at my new(ish) institution. In particular, I’m thinking about the link between workplace bullying and PTSD and the particular ways that might play out in academia (or, as one scholar put it, Posttraumatic Scholar’s Disorder). While we talk a lot about the toxicity of academia, especially for faculty with marginalized identities, we don’t really talk about how that toxicity follows us, even if we’ve managed to escape it. I know of only two pieces that explore this topic: Professor Naima Lowe’s piece on how standing up for students led to doxing and PTSD and Dr. Liz Wayne’s Twitter thread on the trauma of academia and its long-term impacts. I wish we did talk about it more, though; maybe then I would have been better prepared for my first year in my current position and the anxiety I feel now.

Because it took a whole year for me to realize the space I’m in now is not the toxic environment I left. It took a whole year to stop wondering when the next microaggression or back-handed compliment or undermining comment will come.

Or at least, it took a whole year for those worries to not be a concern every single day. I don’t know if I’ll ever get past it completely. Which means I don’t know if I’ll ever fully be at my best, because I’ll always be second guessing myself and every single interaction with my colleagues—something that is now engrained in me because of the toxicity of my first academic position.

There were many things I loved about that job. But for years, the institutional racism slowly wore me down. It slowly crushed my soul. It slowly led me to question my worth. Because every day was a battle of deflecting micro- and macro-aggressions that undermined my abilities, my expertise, my efforts, and my experience.

Critiquing how we as faculty responded to racist incidents on campus led to an email from a senior white male colleague who was hurt I did not support him, claimed it meant he could no longer trust me, and attempted to silence any further criticism. Raising a question about how data was being presented in an undergraduate honor’s thesis defense led to a faculty member questioning my academic credentials in front of other department-mates and several students. Discussing structural racism in the criminal justice system led to student evaluations that said I discussed race too much and feedback from department colleagues that I wasn’t supportive of differing views.

At my pre-tenure review, I was told I need at least one more publication for tenure even though I had a single authored publication in a top-ranking journal and knew that had been enough for others at the institution to earn tenure. At my tenure evaluation, I was critiqued for not being culturally inclusive even though I was the only faculty of color in the department and often the only person of color in the classroom. (And these are just the micro/macro-aggressions I have space to include in this piece.)

After years of feeling like I had to justify my very existence (and earning tenure in spite of it all), I left for another position. But I carry the baggage with me. 

Every time my name is raised, I wait for the backhanded compliment. Every time someone says something kind about me, I wait for the undermining comment to follow. I even took my new department’s evaluation of my pre-tenure review dossier to my union president because I had a hard time accepting there weren’t any hidden digs. There weren’t, but I simply didn’t believe the positive and highly-ranked review was real.

And as I enter my third year at my current institution, all of that anxiety is coming back. Because it was in my third year at my last position the microaggressions became more consistent. It was in my third year the macroaggressions became apparent. It was in my third year I realized I didn’t belong.

While I am mostly confident I belong at my current institution, the trauma of years 3-6 at my last one still linger. As I (hopefully) move past tenure, I can’t help wondering if life will repeat itself. I can’t help wondering if life is already repeating itself, but it’s a more subtle form so I’m missing it.

I know I’m not the only person to deal with the toxicity of academia. Nor am I the only one who has left, either to a new position or to a position outside of academia altogether, to get away from it. Nor am I the only one navigating the long-term impacts of the toxicity.

But I do have a lot of questions about it. Questions that, if answered, might help all of us navigate it better. 

Questions like: What are the long-term impacts of this toxicity? What is the impact of constantly tensing up, or feeling anxious or scared every time we’re in a meeting or our name comes up? How much productivity is lost because we are always on the lookout? What decisions are made (or not), actions taken (or not) and relationships forged (or not) because “[we] are not experiencing the same reality that [others] are”?

And, perhaps more importantly, who is most impacted by Posttraumatic Scholar’s Disorder? And how does that long-term impact of academic toxicity and trauma continue to limit academia’s ability to be an equitable and inclusive space?

I don’t have any answers. And I’m sure there are others who have done much more work on this topic than I who can speak on it with more clarity. But I really wish we talked about it more, if for no other reason than to put a name to a problem so many of us deal with.

Mentally Ill: In the US Criminal Justice System

The history of mental
illness treatment dates back in the 5000 B.C.E using different methods of
treatment such as medication and counseling (U.S. History, para 1).  People with mental illness were termed to be
suffering from trephine skull syndrome. Mental challenges have traditionally
been associated to evil spirit connection and curse. Holding of this belief has
prevented many people from seeking medical intervention for mentally ill patients
in the society. However, because of increase in knowledge and understanding of
the problem, there has been a great change in the perception about mental
problem. In dealing with mental illness, different measures have been used such
as seeking spiritual intervention and taking the victim to asylums (U.S.
History, para 1).     

All through history,
different crusaders have taken initiatives to promote reforms in the justice
system in order to put mental illness into consideration. Dorathea Dix is one
of the greatest campaigners who have played a significant role in promoting reforms
in the prisons and in the judicial system. Dix was born in Hampden in 1802. She
was the daughter of Methodist preacher who was frequently absent from home. Due
to her father’s absenteeism, her mother suffered bouts of depression, a
situation that caused Dix to be closely concerned about mental problems (Center
for Prisoner Health and Human Rights par 1).

Dix was a teacher, a
reformer and an author; and worked with multiple institutions and government
agencies to bring reforms in the prisons department and in the justice system
in the United States and Europe. Although she had experienced with mentally ill
people, her first encounter with inmates was when she worked as a teacher in
prison in East Cambridge prison. According to Dix, the prisoners were abysmal
and the prisoners were subjected to inhumane treatment (Center for Prisoner
Health and Human Rights par 2).

During the 1800s, the
prisons were unregulated, overcrowded and unhygienic for prisoners. After
travelling extensively in the United States and Europe, Dix decided to work in
promoting good condition for the inmates in the United States and Europe. Dix
was a campaigner for reforms in the prisons department because he argued that
inmates should also be treated like human beings. Most of the inmates that were
locked during and after the civil war had some degree of mental illness, which
according to Dix, required treatment and not incarceration. She wrote proposals
to the government requesting for improvement of prison facilities by improving
hygiene level and providing care and cure for the mentally challenged inmates (Center
for Prisoner Health and Human Rights par 3).     

Parental custody in the 19 the

In 19th
century, another problem that faced the United States was the high increase in number
of children engaging in criminal activities. The growth of delinquents was promoted
by the increase in the families that were separated by the war, incarceration
of the parents and the economic challenges that were facing the country. According
to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Organization (par 3), in the
1840s, the United States constructed over 25 facilities to house the juvenile
felons. The facilities for the juveniles were later turned to juvenile justice
system. The problem was that parents took their children with mental illnesses to
the house of refuge which led to a high increase in number of people in the
asylums. The increase in the population of people with mental challenges made
the asylum centers to be unmanageable and overcrowded. In the light of the
problems, different people, such as Lord Ashley, took initiatives to uplift the
conditions of facilities. Lord Ashley argued that pushing mentally ill people
in colonies was denying them their human rights. They pushed for well
established mental institutions that would help the mentally ill people to deal
with the problems rather than pushing them away from the society. By the end of
1800s, through the contribution of different activists for reforms of the
prisons and asylums, the United States was rated as one of the countries with
the best prisons (U.S history par 7).

Incarceration in the 21 century and
mental illness

Despite the reforms
that have been made in the criminal justice, the United States has continued to
be among the leading countries in the rate of incarceration. According to the
prison policy initiative organization (par 3), the approach to violence and
lack of consideration of various factors such as mental problems is the trigger
to the high increase in the number of people imprisoned in the U.S. According
to the statistics by the Population Reference Bureau (par 1), the United States
rates at 500 prisoners per 100, 000 residents making it the country with the
highest number of incarcerations in the entire world. The number of
incarcerations happening in the United States varies from one State to the
other and from one race to the other. In the United States, although the
African Americans are only 10% of whole population, they make up more than 35%
of inmates population in the country (Population References Bureau par 2).

In the 21st
century, the United States has continued to experience a sharp increase in the
rate of incarceration to where it has reached to a prison population of more
than 2.2 million and over 4 million on parole (Population References Bureau par
2). The prisons have become the new asylum for people with mental problems. The
country is facing an increase in the number of incarceration of people with
serious crimes while putting a little focus on care for the mentally ill people.
The department of Health and Human services explains that jails and prisons have
three times of people with mental illness than there are in the hospitals (Population
References Bureau par 3). Most of the criminals in the Unites States with
serious charges have some degree of mental problems but the government has not
given much attention on metal conditions when making judgments. Although there
has been a significant improvement in the department of justice, the country still
struggles in making effective favorable judgment on people struggling with
mental challenges who are charged with serious crimes such as robbery with
violence and murder.  

Current Issues on Criminal Justice
System and Mental Illness

The reforms that were
fought by Dix, Ashley and other crusaders of reforms in the justice system succeeded
in pushing for hygiene improvement and other living condition for the prisons.
However, the campaign for the treatment of people with mental illness in the
prisons has not yielded much result in the United States. For instance
according to a 2016 research by the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights
(par 1), prisoners with mental illnesses are locked up and lock down in special
segregated rooms reoffered to as solitary confinement.
The method of isolating the mentally ill prisoners is used as a way punishment
and preventing other inmates from dangers but does not offer full remedy to the

In the United States,
there are many prisons as compared to psychiatric hospitals, a fact that makes
prison to be the only asylum for mentally challenged people. New York, Los
Angeles and Cook County are cities with the largest prisons with people who are
mentally ill (U.S History par 3). Although sending mentally ill criminals to
prison helps to prevent the general society from danger, prison does not offer
an environment that is conducive for the provision of care. The prisons in the
United States are characterized with violence, interaction divide and gangs. Such
an environment may not provide the needed asylum for the inmate but may only
cause the inmates to come-out worse off.

The country has not
done enough to the treatment of prisoners with mental problems. All the
prisoners are put in the same prisons yet there are some with severe mental
issues which only make the prisons to be more violent and fail to achieve its
mission of correcting offenders. The other issue is that the reforms in the
health sector have made accessibility to medication expensive for the citizens.
Although the expansion of Medicare came with its advantages, it did not put
enough emphasis on the mentally challenged people. Due to lack of money, it has
made it difficult for prisons to hire highly competent psychiatrists to offer
treatment in the prisons.  

Arguments of the topic

Mental illness is a
challenge that can affect every member of the society regardless of race or
gender. Since most of the communities have managed to overcome the stigma that
is associated with mental illness, it is high time for the government to take
initiative to provide proper care to the affected people in the society. Dealing
with the issue of mental illness requires a holistic approach from both the
community and the government. It is very important for the whole community to
stand up and fight against the mistreatment of the mentally ill inmates in the prisons,
in addition to showing compassionate to the mentally challenged people in the
society. According to The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights (par3),mental illness should not be treated
as a problem that is associated with a particular group of people or race. This
means, although prisoners may have committed serious offences, it is not a
guarantee to be subjected to harsh living conditions or treatment as a way of
punishment. The Society should also be merciful to the people who are mentally
ill regardless of the magnitude of the crime they have committed. According to
the argument by Bryan (para 3) all people need mercy, and by sending million of
people into prisons is not helping to solve the problem facing the society.

On the other hand, the
movement and community should unite in countering the root causes of increasing
causes in mental problems in the society. The society should look for ways to
teach young people good morals from an early age in order to help them avoid
drugs and other substance abuse. According to Mayo (par 5), the government and
the community should focus on preventive measures. The Society should put focus
on warning signs and work with the government and medical institutions to
provide early medication before the problem gets out of hand.

The government approach to justice

It is also the role of
the government to reform the justice system to ensure that all the people in
the society are getting fair treatment and judgment. Bryan (par 7) argues that
mentally ill people should not be incarcerated but rather taken to the hospital
and be provided with the necessary medication. Prisons should not be used as an
asylum for dumping people who are mentally ill and subjecting them to inhumane
treatment such as locking them down in solitary confinement rooms. On the other
hand, the government should enact laws that will help to provide special
treatment for mentally ill inmates. Treating all inmates as criminals only
covers the problems which further put the lives of the prison waders and police
officers in danger when dealing with the prisoners. Currently, inmates with
serious mental problems are isolated from others into solitary confinement
region where they get little medication. Over the years, this approach has not
seemed to work because some inmates still engage in violence even after staying
in the solitary confinement for a long period of time. This means, it is a high
time for government to decide on other approaches for dealing with mentally ill
inmates in order to counter the recurrence of the issue. Incorporating new
strategies of dealing with prisoners with mental problems is a strategy that
the government can use to reduce recidivism. For instance, in the year 2014, over
76% of the inmates released were rearrested and convicted with new offenses
(Prison Policy Organization par 3). This is a clear show that the correction methods
used by the justice system are not effective to reduce crime in the country.


It is the role of the
government and the community to combine efforts in countering the problems of
mental ill in the society. Mental illness has over the years been considered by
some communities as a punishment from God or a manifestation of being possessed
by demonic power. This has been one of the factors that have hindered people
from seeking medical attention. In the story of Jake, it is clear that his
criminal activities are driven by deeply rooted problem in his mind. Rather
than rushing to lock him down every time he commits a criminal offense, the
justice system should choose a different approach that will help him to recover
from the severe depression that was caused by his bad upbringing.  

Different campaigners
of reforms of the prisons such as Dix and Ashley contributed immensely in
promoting human rights and good treatment of inmates in the prison. Although
huge strides have been made towards increasing hygiene and good treatment of
inmates in the prisons, there is still a huge gap on the treatment of mentally
ill inmates especially in the accessibility of treatment and provision of the
required care. It requires s combined effort from the government and community
to push for special treatment of people who are mentally challenged. 

Work Cited

Stevenson. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/books/review/just-mercy-by-bryan-stevenson.html?_r=0
on 28/1/2016

on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Organization. Juvenile Justice System. 2012.
Retrieved from http://www.cjcj.org/education1/juvenile-justice-history.html. 13
November 2016.

Phillips, Gary. “The New
Asylums: Jails Swell With Mentally Ill”. WSJ, 2016, Retrieved from

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323455104579012664245550546. 13 November 2016

References Bureau. U.S. Has World’s Highest Incarceration. 2012.  Retrieved from http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2012/us-incarceration.aspx.
13 November 2016

Policy. Incarceration Rates Growth Causes. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.prisonpolicy.org/research/incarceration_rates_growth_causes/.
13 November 2016

History. Prison and Asylum Reform. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.ushistory.org/us/26d.asp.
13 November 2016

Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. Incarceration and Mental Health.
2016. Retrieved from http://www.prisonerhealth.org/news-and-events/news/incarceration-and-mental-health/
13 November 2016.

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History of Healthcare Information Management

Health information systems emerged as a
unique field within the healthcare gradually as physicians, nurses, pharmacists
and other providers applied innovative advancements in information science to
problems in healthcare. The health information management industry dates back
to 1920s when medical practitioners noted that documenting patients’
complications care and patient care outcomes benefited both patients and
providers (Nelson, & Staggers, 2014). Paper documentation provided complete
history enabling health practitioners to treat clients better. Health records
soon became critical to ensuring patient safety and provision of quality care.
The American College of Surgeons formed the American Association of Medical
Record Librarians (AAMRL) to help standardize these health records (Nelson,
& Staggers, 2014). The AAMRL wanted to improve the standards of health
records within healthcare facilities. Due to evolving specialty of health
information systems, AAMRL changed to the American Health Information
Management Association to reflect the increasing influence of telecommunications
and information systems professionals in healthcare. 

Technological advancement in the 1960s
led to the development of computer systems. In collaboration with universities,
health facilities began integrating health records into computers (Nelson,
& Staggers, 2014). This enabled health providers to record and to generate
patient information electronically within a facility. This meant that the
recorded patient information would be accessible only within that particular
location. As a result, this restricted the viability and the usefulness of the
software to be used in large-scale. Computers proved to be useful within the
individual healthcare departments.

In the 1980s, there was a huge
breakthrough in healthcare’s EHR (electronic health records) software
development (Nelson, & Staggers, 2014). Computerized registration enabled
patients to profit from efficient check-in process. The advent of a master
patient index was another major breakthrough. These breakthroughs motivated
software developers to carry on with inventing new health information
applications. Departments like Laboratory and Radiology integrated the new
computer applications very well (Nelson, & Staggers, 2014). One problem
these earlier applications had was that they would not be shared by adjacent
departments and could not communicate with others.  While technology thrived in other sectors,
healthcare industry was the only sector that lacked cross-department electronic
information system.

 Sweeping preventable clinical errors and
deaths of patients caused by practitioners renewed the need for an efficient
health information system. The introduction of information system in 2000
promised to offer a viable solution. They would help health providers in
decision making and provide better patient care by reducing clinical error
incidences. However, the real evolution of electronic health records (EHR)
became a reality in 2004 when the US government made it a top priority (Nelson,
& Staggers, 2014).

Consequently, many healthcare organizations
have begun implementing EHR systems.  EHR
evolved from health record keeping. This created new positions of chief
information officer and health information managers. The role of the latter is
to protect patient privacy. They also train employees in respect to the correct
handling of confidential patient information delegated to them.

Currently, health information industry
is driven by the need to improve medical documentation standards. This was the
founding objective of AAMRL. Despite the fact that the industry has been able
to replace paper documentation with computerized documentation, the goal of EHR
is not yet fully achieved (Due to this technological shift, HIM professionals
and other health providers are realizing the need to acquire skills in health
data management, information exchange and privacy. Due to this technological
shift, HIM professionals and other health providers are realizing the need to
acquire skills in health data management, information exchange, and privacy.

Electronic health records and associated
technology, such as health information exchange, patient portals,
computer-assisted coding and voice recognition software are transforming health
information management systems (Nelson, & Staggers, 2014). This has forced
health information experts to enter the race to adopt health information
systems and realize its benefits. The health information exchange allows health
providers to share patient’s medical information across different electronic
medical records. When used consistently and in a meaningful way, EHR is capable
of documenting the health status, complications, and treatment of patients.
This technology is also able to ensure safe and evidence-based care.


R. & Staggers, N. (2014). Health informatics:
an interprofessional approach
. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Mosby

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On Being a Woman of Color and an Immigrant in Academia – WOC Guest Post

I am delighted to offer another guest post in my series of contributed posts by black women and other women of color. [It is a company mission of TPII to support black women in the academy, and if you are a black woman in need of career help, please get in touch. We can work with you to make it available].

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for
consideration, email me at [email protected] I pay $150 for accepted
posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer and can be about
your experiences of racism/microaggressions in grad school or the
career, your post-academic musings, hard-won advice for other
students/faculty of color coming up, intersectional practices in
teaching or research that you have found valuable, and also of course,
makeup and clothes, or even tech gear you’ve found that helps in your
work. More information can be found here.

Today’s author prefers to remain anonymous. Her bio: the contributor is a female scholar, a person of color, and a native of a South American country. She came to the USA to earn her doctoral degree at a large public university in the Northeast. After finishing her doctoral degree in a social science field, she is now starting a new job as a faculty member at a liberal arts institution.


As my peers are preparing for the beginning of classes in two weeks, I was wasting yet another day on visa and immigration matters. This time it wasn’t about forms, but about calls, emails, and meetings that I needed to make, write, and hold to explain my new employers why I wasn’t yet able to complete the hiring paperwork and officially start my new job as an assistant professor. I should have been prepping for my courses, finishing the last touches on my syllabus, and submitting another paper for publication. I desperately needed to be productive before the academic year starts. But no, academia was finding another subtle way of telling me that I don’t belong here.

I wished so much that my main concern was to balance my time between teaching and researching, like most of my fellow junior faculty. I wanted my worries to be about how to better model some statistical relationship, or how to frame this paper that I’m struggling to write, or how to promote my work in social media. But my main concern was to be able to officially start a job that I was offered based on my own merit. The fact that I was selected from a pool of hundreds of admirable applicants, wasn’t enough accomplishment. Accepting this job offer didn’t really allowed to start my academic position as a junior faculty. I wasn’t authorized to run this new race that I so much desired to run. It felt like the academic job market wasn’t over. If my working permit wasn’t approved, I could lose this opportunity at my dreamed job.

The ways in which the system works against underrepresented minorities are countless. Particularly in academia, you can find several eye-opening analyses that report how implicit bias holds women back here and here. Most of the time we think that the system denies them jobs and wages that they deserve, or that it prevents them from competing for promotions and tenure on an equal footing. And it does. Fewer times, however, we think about when the system denies them the opportunities to participate in the contest in the first place, even when they won a ticket to it. To my identity as a woman of color, I realized, I needed to add the layer of migrant.

I fulfilled a cherished professional aspiration when I earned my first academic appointment at a liberal arts institution. Two years ago, I had started applying for dozens of academic jobs, while finishing my doctoral dissertation. In addition to the fears of being unable to persuade my committee that I was ready to become a doctor, I dreaded that if I didn’t find a job, I was going to be kicked out of the country. I faced this type of existential anxiety almost every day. Specially during the hard moments in grad school, but also during the easy ones. My life in academia could end up at any moment, no matter how well I performed. Someday, authorities will come out in the clear and finally declare out loud and shamelessly that immigrants were not welcome here. I didn’t need to wait too long for that day, though; republican supporters are already chanting “send her back” at Trump rallies.

The racist chant made me relive a recent trauma. It reminded of that time earlier this year when a CBP agent jokingly yelled at me and my partner “Don’t let them in!” when approaching us in the immigration checkpoint in the airport. Good morning, sir. I wish I had the courage to tell you it’s not funny to play with the lives and hopes of immigrants. Your joke is not amusing, it’s cruel. Instead, I followed his lead and smiled nervously. Then, I proceeded to answer every intrusive question they asked about my personal life, why did I travel to that international conference, why did I attend that family meeting, how much money was I bringing with me, etc. In spite of the humiliation, I answered with a submissiveness unknown to me. Or at least it felt to me like that. I thought I was showing respectful obedience. As my partner reveled to me later, I was not. I was bold and confident, may be even too brave. You can’t piss off the boss, he told me. But, listen, I cannot let them get away with disrespectful treatment of immigrants! If they abuse me like this, an educated immigrant, fluent in English, living for years in the USA, wouldn’t they feel entitled to insult those whom they see as more vulnerable? I have a responsibility. Long story short, they finally let me go after I spent the most terrifying 30 minutes of my life in a little room that smelled of despair. I cannot begin to fathom what the migrants are suffering in detention centers at the southern border.

Back to my current situation. I should have completed the hiring paperwork two weeks ago. My working permit was recently approved after a high-ranked government official made inquiries to USCIS on my behalf. But the employment card is taking forever to be shipped to my address. I have spent countless hours and dollars in immigration paperwork already. Not including the number of visas that I had to pay for over the years, I’ve spent well over six hundred dollars in migration-related matters only this summer. I’m broke. Not just because of the already expensive out-of-state moving ordeal but also because of the more than 5 years I lived on a graduate student stipend. That takes a heavy toll, folks. I won’t even touch on the subjects of expensive conference fees and late reimbursement policies.

The consequences extend far beyond the economic realm. Anxiety kicked in because of the unavoidable waste of time on immigration matters, and because my obsession with making my working days the most efficient and productive (fixation I probably share with many folks in academia) could not come to terms with this additional complication. But, most importantly, I was afraid that I was losing opportunities to get to know my colleagues and staff, and to gain an early grasp of the responsibilities of my new position by attending faculty meetings, getting settled in my office, and taking part in new faculty trainings. All those activities would help me perform better at my duties and would be crucial to let the feeling of belonging sink in. How could I truly be a “newly appointed faculty member” if I could not even occupy my new office? Was there a better way to exacerbate my feelings of inadequacy?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the skills that I developed in jumping all these obstacles throughout my life. But I refuse to get used to them. And no one should either. 

Criminology: A Plan for the Restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security: The Need to Improve DHS’s Effectiveness

Your final Assignment in this course is an 18–20 page term paper addressing the restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security. If you were advising the President of the United States (POTUS), what recommendations would you make to POTUS in order to better integrate the different intelligence and homeland security agencies with the goal of creating more useful “actionable” information? Use the following critical functional areas as a basis to start your recommendations: Fusion of actionable intelligence information (connecting the dots) Prevention and deterrence of attacks Protection and hardening of targets Response and recovery attacks/disasters Improved cost efficiencies within DHS Be sure to show how you would apply those recommendations and support that application with an analysis and critical evaluation of both the current and future versions of the DHS. Provide examples when applicable. This 18–20 page paper (the page count does not include citations and exhibits), should be written using APA format and include at least 20 sources beyond the textbook. You should try to incorporate major portions of the “mile-stone” Assignments that you drafted in earlier units. Key sections of your Term Paper should be: Abstract Introduction and historical overview of the creation of DHS A literature review of critical organizational structure issues of DHS Your proposals Conclusion

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Developing an effective argument essay

This assignment is to assist you in developing an effective argument essay. For this assignment, you will develop a two-page outline (one sheet of paper, back and front, to include the Works Cited) that you will take with you to the Testing Center so that you can work from them as you write the midterm exam. NOTE: You may NOT take a rough draft of the essay or copies of the articles with you to the Testing Center; therefore, please include in your outline all paraphrases or quotations from your sources that you believe you may need in writing your midterm. However, please note that your outline should not be more than two pages, because you will only be allowed to have one sheet (filled out back and front) at the testing center or for ProctorU, if you use that option for the exam. Directions Develop a formal topic sentence outline. (Review the information in the Writing Resources for Unit 2.) Include the following in your outline: Write the prompt at the top of the outline: Will allowing guns on college campuses make them safer? Provide a clear thesis statement that responds to the prompt. Develop three support paragraphs about your viewpoint. Include an opposing argument paragraph (counterargument and refutation). Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Include supporting evidence under each topic sentence (in the form of a quotation, paraphrase, or summary that you plan to use to support the point you are making). Be sure to cite from at least FOUR of the assigned sources. (See Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab handout on Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing if you need help.) Include MLA-formatted in-text citations for each quote/paraphrase. Add a few ideas for your conclusion. Add your works cited page to the outline. Refer to the Owl at Purdue site if you need help. (Note: Your citations need to fit at the end of outline on the second page.) Submit your outline as a file upload. After you receive my feedback and make any desired changes, print a copy of your outline to take with you to the exam. You may NOT bring an essay draft with you to the testing center — only the outline which includes the thesis statement, main points, supporting quotes/paraphrases, and Works Cited. Purpose This assignment requires you to organize your thesis and supporting evidence prior to writing a paper. Creating a thesis and an outline enables you to clarify and collate your thoughts, strengthen and structure your argument, gather support for your argument, and cite your sources. Grading I will grade the assignment based on the clarity and focus of your thesis statement, strength of your points, relevant evidence, and accurate citations.

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