Employee Spotlight – Gayle Larson

This week we take a moment to recognize a recent accomplishment of one our very own faculty members, Gayle Larson of Continuing Education.Lawrence2

Can you tell us about your recent accomplishment and the how the process began?

I have always been an avid reader and writer. Over the years, I created courseware for classes at the colleges that did not have appropriate books and published online articles and tips at software websites, but had not pursued book publishing until this year. What started the ball rolling was a client that wanted a Kindle eBook published from a printed book I had edited and formatted for him a few years earlier. Deciding it would be a great opportunity to see how it all worked, I walked the path; editing, formatting, cover design and the actual publishing. This turned into an amazing (and sometimes hair-pulling) journey to create my own eBooks.

A big believer in getting things done the quick and easy way, I have always taught tips and shortcuts in my classes. Realizing that everyone could benefit if they had them in one place, this spring I published “21+ Tips and Tricks: Must have Shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2013″, the first in a series directed at the Microsoft Office Suite. The second of the same title for Excel was published in October. The third, on PowerPoint, will be published soon.

How would you describe the process of getting published?

A lot of research and digging! The client eBook was a great training ground but my books were going to require more screenshots and graphics. Knowing that I wanted to start with Amazon Kindle and that it is a proprietary format, additional study was needed. There are so many surprising moving parts, but after much reformatting and testing, I had the courage to press the “Publish” button.

Why is writing personally important and necessary to your profession?

I see so many people struggling with features of software that they have to use daily, when a little targeted knowledge would help streamline a project, whether in the classroom or the boardroom.  Providing solutions to the common and sometimes baffling problems of ever increasing complex applications, brings purpose and meaning to writing and teaching technology.

The purpose behind my books is to show people how to save time and frustration in the future. Many users suspect there must be a faster way to do a task but don’t have time to figure it out or maybe are not aware the six mouse clicks they have always used for a command could be done in one mouse click. People don’t know what they don’t know and I love to see the light come on!

What are some of your own favorite books?

I love a wide variety of literature; from the latest about innovative technology to historical novels, biographies, mysteries and science fiction, and even some of the classics. I belong to a book club that chooses a book every two months that spans all genres, and in the meantime I keep Amazon in business with Kindle downloads.

Do you have any other writings (journals and book articles) that others may be interested in learning more about? 

The third eBook in the “21+ Tips and Tricks” series is due to be published shortly and will also be available on Amazon.

I have also contributed to editing of the Microsoft Office Suite series and the QuickBooks series courseware for Labyrinth, a major developer of printed and digital courseware that strives for clearer exercises and understanding for the student.

Being a dual-personality author, I write short stories, poetry and have a novel in the works. Now that I know death does not occur during the production process, I may publish some right-brain missives!

Employee Spotlight – Marisela Fleites-Lear

This week we take a moment to recognize a recent accomplishment of one of our very own faculty, Dr. Marisela Fleites-Lear.

Marisela Fleites-Lear

Can you tell us about your recent accomplishment and the how the process began?
I have been doing research for a while on the underground movement of Independent Libraries in Cuba and its literary price and I presented a paper at the 2010 conference “Imagining America” that was held at the University of Washington. Out of the panel came the idea to put together a volume edited by Julie Shayne dealing with academic activism and the difficulties of doing research about sensitive issues related to Human Rights and social justice in different countries and political environments. The book Taking Risks. Feminist Activism and Research in the Americas is the result of the re-writing and re-working the contributions to that panel and we were very lucky to have Margaret Randall writing the Foreword. She is a very noted scholar on both feminism and Cuban studies. Our library has purchased the book and it is available for our GRC community.

How would you describe the process of getting published?
Getting published is both exhilarating and very hard work. It is a very rewarding experience, particularly when you publish in peer reviewed publications, since it means a committee of your peers looked at your work and thought that it was interesting.

Marisela Fleites-Lear

Why is writing personally important and necessary to your profession?
I see writing essays, presenting at conferences and publishing as part of my teaching and preparation to be a better instructor, mentor and a better example for my students. Writing and presenting at academic conferences forces us to be updated about the scholarship of the subjects we teach; allows us to establish connections with colleagues from other institutions (many of which receive our students); and to think and re-think issues we teach about in different ways. It also levels the playing field with the students: we are asking them to constantly write academic essays. If I am doing the same, while teaching and taking care of family and trying to take care of all aspects of my life, I am demanding from them the same thing I am demanding from myself. Sometimes people don’t realize that teaching is not just the time we spend in the classroom or grading papers: teaching is part of a life style of constant learning and studying to be able to convey updated information to our students. We don’t stop working when we finish a lesson plan or when we get out of the classroom. Reading, studying, writing is part of our teaching and work. That is hard to put into numbers but it definitely improves the quality of our work and the prestige of our institution.

What are some of your own favorite books?
I love to read and I am constantly trying new authors and genres. I particularly like to read historical novels, and in general works of fiction that reflect on complex social and psychological issues. Amongst my favorite books are The General in His Labyrinth and The Autumn of the Patriarch, both by Gabriel Garcia Márquez; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Dominican author Junot Díaz; The Kingdom of this World, by Alejo Carpentier; Here’s to You, Jesusa, by Mexican Elena Poniatowska; The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; The Youngest Doll, by Rosario Ferré; Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos; The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss and many more.

Marisela Fleites-Lear

Do you have any other writings (journals and book articles) that others may be interested in learning more about? 

“Cuban Transgressions: Ofelia Rodriguez Acosta and the independent lesbian woman/nation.” (Currently under revision by the Journal of Literature and Linguistics of the University of Costa Rica.) 

“Reinventando a Tina Modotti desde la escritura massmediática: La mujer infinita de José Ignacio Valenzuela.”   Hispanic Journal 35. 2 (2014). 131-146.

“Violencia y papas fritas: Cuba en la oscuridad en Posesas de la Habana de Teresa Dovalpage.” Romance Notes 53.3 (2013). 353-365.

“Navigating the Cuban Ideological Divide: Research on the Independent Libraries Movement,” in Taking Risks: Feminist Stories of Social Justice Research in the Americas, ed Julie Shayne.SUNY Press; Praxis: Theory in Action series.

“Mirrors in the Kitchen: The New Cuban Woman Cooks Revolutionarily.” Food Culture and Society. Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2012.