Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Think It's Worth A Shot?

I'm consdiering sending this letter to Utah State university to see if I can sqing a deal on starting towards a doctorate without having to move to Logan.

Dr. Grant-Davie,

In July 2009, I graduated from Utah State with a MS in English with an emphasis on technical communication. My wife Michelle is currently enrolled in the program and, if all goes well, will graduate with her MS in the spring of 2012.

We’re both interested in furthering our studies at Utah State, and are considering pursuing doctorates in the Theory and Practice of Technical Communication, but are facing some stumbling blocks as we face the decision to apply for the program. I’ll outline them here, then suggest some possible solutions for your consideration. I know there are others who would have to be brought into this conversation; this is just an exploratory feeler to see what kind of reception our solutions might receive.

The largest concern is financial, of course. Given the uncertain economy at the moment, leaving Sugar City, Idaho, for Logan would be financial suicide. I have what I consider to be a stable government job in Idaho which should keep me employed at least through the end of 2015. I have sought employment in the Logan area, but given the fierce competition that exists right now for technical writers, I have not met with success. Ours is a single-income family – we have three children – whose ideals focus on remaining a single-income family for the foreseeable future.

To supplement our income, I began teaching a beginning-level English course at Brigham Young University-Idaho in April. They’re pleased enough with my work to have offered me a contract for the coming fall semester as well.

I am curious to know if Utah State would consider looking at the class I teach at BYU-Idaho and consider letting me use it to meet the teaching component portion of a USU doctorate. If such an arrangement could be reached, it would allow me to pursue doctorate studies at USU in a more financially-secure situation that is in harmony with our family goals. Such an arrangement could potentially open up the option for my wife to pursue a doctorate degree through a USU/BYU-Idaho cooperative effort as well.

Areas of research that intrigue me include exploring how teachers and social media entrepreneurs can use the connectivist philosophy to increase the quality of online education and to make for more robust social media networks that want to function and turn a profit on a micro scale (hundreds of thousands of active participants) versus the macro scale (hundreds of millions of active participants). I feel I could pursue those research efforts as easily with Sugar City/BYU-Idaho/USU as a home base as I could with Logan/USU as a home base.

I’m willing to provide further information on this proposal and to do any necessary legwork with BYU-Idaho if this proposal is in any way acceptable to USU’s graduate studies program. I look forward to your reply.

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