What are you doing this summer?

Next week, final will be done and my summer vacation officially begins.  I do have one class to teach in May-June, but its one I've taught before so it will require minimal time and effort (8-10 hours per week).  Unfortunately, I'm not quite as ambitious as Phineas and Ferb, but here is what I'm going to do this summer.

My number 1 project this summer - Move to North Carolina.
That's right - for those of you who haven't heard yet, I have accepted a position at East Carolina University as an Assistant Professor of Information Systems.  This move will likely be our last for a very long time.  So my primary goal for the summer is managing our move and handling our house.  While ideally we will sell our house, the market in southeast Michigan is horrendous for sellers.  So there is a distinct possibility that our house will not sell.  In which case, option two is to rent it.  Either way, we have lots to keep us on our toes.  And then, when move time comes, we have to finish packing, drive cross country, and settle into our new home.  Lots and lots of stress, but worth it in the end.

My second most important project this summer - Improve my writing skills.
I consider myself an okay writer, but not great.  What I lack is the capability of writing fast and with high quality. Too often, I find myself writing a blog post or a research article that upon review, contains numerous mistakes and/or poorly worded sentences.  When I attempt to edit these mistakes, I rush through it, leaving additional problems.  With practice, focus, and feedback, I am confident I can improve my skills in writing.  The Art of Non-fiction by Ayn Rand, Writing in the Disciplines, and Brief Holt Handbook will guide my study.  Blog posts and research articles (I have two in mind) will provide material for practice.  And hopefully I can work with various friends to perform copy-editing on my completed materials (I will pay if you are interested).  As our budget allows, I may follow this summer project with an effective writing/communication class.  Eventually, I would like to write a book or two, so the better my skills, the greater the payoff!

My third project this summer - Improve my skills in advanced web development.
I am still debating between PHP and ASP.NET.  One the basics of each, but have not actively built websites in a number of years.  Whichever one I choose, I want to experiment and improve my ability to create new, slick, high quality websites quickly.  If I focus on PHP, I will probably combine that project with learning the content management system called Drupal. Perhaps I will even create a web site for making a little money on the side.  There is also a 9 hour video on learning Flash sitting on my desk.  Watching those videos and practicing some Flash programming might be rocking good fun too!

So those are my plans.  What are you doing this summer?


  1. I've heard great things about an academic writing book. I'll try and get the name and author soon.

    I think I benefited a lot from writing music before I ever got into academic writing. The reflexivity of writing along with listening to other writers and trying to understand what they were doing.

    As I do that in academic writing I notice some neat tricks that some writers do that I try to incorporate. I also notice, however, that there's a ton of smart people who aren't good writers. Makes getting their point across a lot more difficult.

    I think just the fact that you're conscious of it will put you above the average.

  2. Writing in the Discipline is an academic writing book. I have the abridged version, but hopefully that will be sufficient for my summer project.

    Non-fiction writing is a skill and as such, I know that I can improve. Just need focus, practice, and feedback.