Dear (insert faculty name),
I hope this finds you well, (insert first name), enjoying the lovely (insert season) weather . . . indeed, there’s nothing quite like (insert state) in the (reinsert season)!
From email to direct mail, social media to (still all-too present?) telemarketers, the aim to personalize communication never seems to cease . . . no matter how transparent these efforts are, there’s something at least a little intriguing about being the direct recipient of a tailored message. These missives capture your attention and invite you to explore the message in a little more detail. Most of the time, the content that follows illustrates a superficial connection and we quickly dismiss it. But occasionally the unique adaptation to audience is sincere, substantive, and coherent, and the personal connection actually enhances understanding and appreciation.
The value of library subject guides
When I think of the latter type, where content is tailored in a meaningful and useful way, I also think of the library subject guides that our fantastic Mardigian librarians help us create for our courses. I find that students appreciate these subject guides for how they really narrow things down for a course, taking the seemingly endless opportunities and resources the library provides and adapting them into a manageable and focused set of resources that are immediately relevant to the student’s “task at hand.” Particularly in my Foundations course (all first-year students), there’s almost a palpable sigh of relief when I direct them to the page that Sophia McFadden-Keesling, our first-year experience librarian, created for them. The entire library is still at their disposal, but this subject guide provides a more manageable window centered on their needs as first year students in a particular course.
Creating targeted public speaking resources for your class
As my HUB affiliate project of creating oral presentation resources for faculty and students has evolved, I often find myself returning to the value of these tailored resources. After all, assignments have different expectations, academic disciplines have different understandings and vocabularies, and students have different needs.
My last blog post described how I’ve thought about connecting some basic elements of classical rhetoric with contemporary public speaking. I had the opportunity to combine these ideas with directed resources when I created some resources and rubrics for Professor Pat Smith and the Policy Pitch Competition. I would be happy to create something similar (or different!) for your course. Whatever you teach, I think we can adapt materials in a way that would fit your course and maybe help both you and your students. If you have assigned oral presentations at the end of the semester, I’d be happy to work with you to develop resources for your particular assignment, course, or discipline.
End of semester presentations
I’m also willing to work with students individually as they prepare for their end-of-the semester presentations. Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can set up some open office hours on Zoom for your students.
So, (insert name), thanks for reading and considering, and let me know if I can help you and your (insert discipline) students in any way.
Enjoy the (insert Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring . . . whenever I get this done) break!