Squirrel’s choice

The narrative or personal statement for a tenure file is not my favourite genre to write, for a lot of reasons. My coach and I decided I needed to find a way to inject some joy and larger purpose into the entire exercise since I do not respond well to pointless things –and the statement felt/feels like that to me. (I haz feelings about the tenure process in general, but here is not the place.) So… What could I do with my file that would leave me with something re-usable, if I had to create something from scratch anyway like that stupid statement? What could inject some joy? A few months earlier I had got back into drawing, and that gave me immense satisfaction. Was there any way…? Oh yes!

Turns out if I can put squirrels on it, I can reframe even writing a tenure statement as a (somewhat) fun task. QED:

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small cartoon illustrating choosing between two options
Squirrel makes a choice!

During our online era (2020-21) I offered exploration packs for my classes, and students told me they liked that: even when neither of the two options were something they really wanted, they could at least choose against something. I wrote a bit more about the how and why of this approach on my other blog. I opted here for an engaged and energetic European Red Squirrel who goes on an adventure, here choosing between two options for Shang dynasty history.

This squirrel also acted as the cover card for my tenure file’s Canvas course shell. And I can easily go into the drawing and write something else on the arrows to represent an active choice, so he is very re-useable. Where should he point next? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Pingback: Look at the size of that thing! – Radio Blackbird Illustrations

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