I don’t think I’ll be making all that many changes to the blog this year. I might give it a bit of a makeover some time (e.g., give it a new look), but doubt I will change the focus or style much. I would like to explore how to use it to develop my writing more and might do a few more short posts providing a brief overview of interesting resources or information I find. I hope to use it to help in writing a few articles for publication.
I didn’t set any specific blogging goals last year, but this year I’m going to publically commit myself to a few:
- Post at least 50 times during 2017. I would like it to be at least once every week, but sometimes life gets quite busy and I don’t have the time. I don’t won’t blogging to become a chore, so I’m happy to be a bit flexible about when I post. This means there will be some weeks where I post three or four times, and other weeks where I don’t post anything.
- Trial at least two posts based on interviews with practitioners about their work. I often post about concepts (which are generally the most popular posts) and I would like to experiment with some posts that are more journalistic in style. I meet some great workers and think there could be some real benefit in sharing some of their experiences. Hearing from practitioners could be quite useful for my students too.
- Practice telling stories in at least five posts. I’m not a natural story-teller, but really see the value of stories that capture examples of successful work. I’d like to collect stories about my work and/or the work of people I know for both my blog and for other presentations I have to do.
- Have at least 150,000 views for the year. Last year the blog had 134,343 views so it isn’t all that big an increase. I don’t heavily promote the blog – most views come via internet searches – and I don’t want to spend lots of time chasing views. I hope the blog keeps growing, but I also keep reminding myself that the blog is also important to me as a way of reflecting on how best to work with families and communities.
Family Action Centre
My work at the Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, is not all that secure but it looks like I have work until at least the end of the year. Work as an academic is divided into teaching, research and community service and, at least for now, my role involves all three.
I am teaching four courses (as we call subjects) this year:
- An undergraduate course on engaging communities (HLSC2241)
- An undergraduate course on working with men and boys (HLSC2242)
- A postgraduate course on engaging families and communities, which is being heavily adapted from a course I taught last year on community engagement (HLSC6105)
- A postgraduate course on evaluation and evidence-based practice, which is a brand new course that will draw on some of the work I did last year on evidence-based programs and practice (HLSC6506)
I will also help to develop a mixed mode graduate certificate (online and some workshops) with a particular focus on Indonesian students, which has arisen from the recent visit we had from a delegation of Indonesian academics.
I plan to be involved in a number of research projects:
- Helping to refine a tool for promoting parenting partnerships
- Exploring strengths based approaches to working with Aboriginal communities (click here for the first article we’ve published based on this work)
- Developing a program logic and an evaluation plan for Alternatives to Violence Project workshops for parents
- Exploring characteristics of strengths-based group work
- Working with the community programs team on a yet to be decided research project.
It’s quite a large research agenda. While it sounds fairly broad, they are all based on strengths-based approaches to working with families and communities.
One of the expectations of an academic is writing for peer-reviewed publications so I’m planning to submit at least three articles this year, as well as at least one conference presentation. I’m also aiming to obtain at least $10,000 in research income and start supervising a PhD or research master student.
Often a major focus of my work is supporting other organisations (e.g., the work through the Children and Families Expert Panel supporting children and parenting programs to implement evidence-based practice). This will continue to be a focus of my work. I’m not sure what shape it will take this year but already I have been approached to work with a few organisations.
As part of my commitment to maintaining a focus of practice, I make sure I’m actively involved in community groups. This year I plan to continue to facilitate workshops with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and support Transition Newcastle. With AVP we have a series of workshops planned for Term 1 that will focus on parenting and we will offer other workshops after that.
I’m hoping that Transition Newcastle won’t take quite as much of my time as it did last year (due to the Fair Share Festival) but as I will probably be the convenor again, it does involve quite a bit of work.
It’s going to be a busy year, particularly when combined with my role as a father and partner, but it’s shaping up to be an interesting one too.
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