Category Archives: Helpful Tips

“This is Due Tonight” – How I Helped a Writer Improve on a Deadline

By Tony Ricks

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It was an hour past my lunchtime when a student opened my office door and asked if the Writing Center was open. The Writing Center had officially closed the previous week, as the university had now entered Finals Week. That left me, the Writing Center Director, to help. After we arranged a meeting time, I went to lunch with her paper in hand. It was due that night.

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Be Prepared to Dazzle in the Phone Interview

By Saralyn Mitchell

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For many positions, employers increasingly rely on telephone interviews to screen job candidates before they are invited to the in-person interview. I find quite often candidates discount the importance of the phone interview and don’t prepare for it. This is a big mistake. Impressions are made in the first few minutes of the call so take the time to be well prepared. I hope these tips help you ace the telephone interview.

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What Employers Are Really Looking For

By Saralyn Mitchell

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My job is to complement the excellent academic education our students receive and ensure they are prepared to be successful in the world of work at the local, state and national levels. We start with useful, practical knowledge that results in excellent resumes, impressive interviewing skills, a good elevator speech, and solid networking skills. There is a growing need for us to spend more time on networking. Our students need to understand the importance of networking in the employment process, what that means and how you do it. Then we need to provide firsthand opportunities where they can practice.

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On the Joys of Browsing: Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

By Ron Fritze

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These days, people tend to go on the internet to get answers to their questions. I know that I do. That said, I still have and use a big collection of reference books. One reason is that a standard reference book will be more reliable than some of the internet sites (although I think Wikipedia is generally quite reliable). Another reason is that for some purposes, a reference book can be just as easy to use, or even easier than an online source. That is certainly the case for dictionaries. But there is another reason for checking out many ink and paper works of reference—they are fun to browse. Well, maybe not for everyone, but they are fun for me and I am not alone.

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Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

By Tony Ricks

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At home, my children are learning to blog on a private, password-protected website and with parental supervision. They are doing things I never did. They are composing with words, images, even video: it’s easy once you learn the basic blogging tools available. And I wonder: how will these experiences impact their educational or lifelong goals? I really have no idea. But the fact that they are composing blogs and using tools that didn’t exist when I was a child are perhaps omens of what the future holds in regards to new media and its possibilities.

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Start Here, Start Now!

By Saralyn Mitchell

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“Your Graduation Action Plan”
Too many students wait until the last semester of their senior year to start their job search. They are putting themselves at a disadvantage in our current frail job market.

Before or during their junior year students should create a professional online presence. They should begin by making contacts and working to build a resume with work experience. These steps will increase their chances of gaining employment upon graduation. Starting early provides the opportunity to get a clear idea of the kind of work they want to do and the work environment where they want to use their skills, interests, and education.

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Tools of the Trade: Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

By Ron Fritze

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In this blog, I want to share with you what has become my favorite tool for putting some variety and spice into my writing. Check out the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus (2004) or OAWT for short. It is a great alternative to Roget’s Thesaurus because it is easier to use and works just as well if not a bit better. It is organized in a dictionary style and provides many synonyms listed in logical order. When appropriate, distinctions are made between formal and informal usages. Some entries also provide a few suggestions for antonyms. Examples of sentences that demonstrate usage of a word are also provided. Take the word “bad.” The OAWT gives twelve different general ways that “bad” can be used. Well over 150 synonyms and antonyms for “bad” are supplied. So if you mean “bad” in the sense of “the bad guys”, it gives alternatives like “corrupt,” “reprobate,” or “crooked” among others. If you mean “bad” in the sense of a “bad child,” it suggests “naughty,” “wayward,” or “undisciplined” among others. Remember, there are often subtle differences in meaning and connotation between some of the alternative suggestions. They are not necessarily inter-changeable parts. Keep your dictionary handy so that you can pick out the word that works best for your situation.

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The Elementary Reasons Why a University President Should Strive to Be Like Sherlock Holmes:

By Bob Glenn

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Ever since I first read the Adventure of the Red Headed League in my eighth grade literature book I have been a serious fan of Sherlock Holmes. During college I read and reread the fifty-six short stories and four short novels that comprise The Canon. After college I became acquainted with the The Baker Street Irregulars, that society of Sherlockian enthusiasts formed in the late 1940’s by author Christopher Morley that now boasts over 300 chapters in the United States as well as chapters across the world. My wife, Laurie, and I have had the good fortune to be a part of two such groups over the years. Recently while reading a marvelous little book called Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova, it occurred to me that many of the things I strive to do as President of Athens State University are very similar to the traits and habits of the famed detective. So, with apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. John H. Watson, I will in the next few Athens State Blog posts attempt to list all those reasons why a university president should strive to be like my favorite detective.

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Do We Have a Club That Fits Your Personality?

By Tena Bullington

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At Athens State University, we have many student clubs looking for new members and new ideas. Perhaps you are a closet artist who wants to learn more and participate but do not want to take classes – we have an Art Club for that. Or maybe you are a teacher-in-training and want to visit and learn from other teachers-in-training – there’s the Athens State University Teacher Ambassadors. Maybe you want to participate in things like cookouts and other student-led activities that create a collegiate atmosphere – then maybe the Student Government Association is the club for you.

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Tools of the Trade: The Roget’s Thesaurus, Old School

By Ron Fritze

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“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain
When it comes to advice on writing well, Mark Twain is someone to be heeded. One of the problems that any writer continually faces is maintaining the variety of their word usage. If you are not careful, you can end up using the same word over and over again. To your reader that practice comes across as dull and boring and may cause them rightly to question the extent of your vocabulary. So how do you get some life in your vocabulary and get from the “lightning bug” word to the “lightning” word? Answer, the thesaurus, a word book of synonyms and related concepts.

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