Sustainability (and such)

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Infographics! Let’s Do This!

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on October 29, 2013

Amidst the round of student questions coming mid-quarter/semester, this one’s especially forceful:  How do we bring strong visual content into our presentations?  While I’ll cover this in class over the next few weeks, I really want to pass along this great resource:  HubSpot’s “5 Infographics to Teach You How To Easily Create Infographics in PowerPoint.”  AWESOME — how long has it been since you’ve thought of Power Point as your BFF? Here are five infographic templates you can download to dazzle folks right now!

(Thanks, Frank Walton, for the continuing stream of great info!)

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Seattle Asian American Film Festival CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on September 4, 2013

Less than a month left to enter your film for consideration for the 2014 Seattle Asian American Film Festival!

Deadline is 9/15. Get that submission in soon! Seattle Asian American Film Festival CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

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Follow-Up: Food Sovereignty Summit

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on May 1, 2013

This was a conference about how dialogues and communities are creating tribal food sovereignty.  We found new ways to work together:  Check out the debuts of (a new online resource) and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (an organized food movement).  And we told stories, most of which left us shaking our heads with the undeniable proof of devastating CLIMATE CHANGE.

On one hand, tribes are adapting.   Traditional rice farmers harvesting only 30% of usual yields are returning to old, less-invasive ways of canoes, sticks, and weeding out water lilies and other pervasive early adapters.  When tons of chum didn’t show up for Washington’s Nisqually tribe– who have restored their river from its mouth to Mount Rainier – they called the neighboring Muckleshoots and discovered they had an overload of other fish that needed processing.  And several groups noted that Mother Earth is adapting traditional foods, such as corn that is growing on much shorter stalks to survive new, harsh winds.

But on the other, some are facing extreme threats.  The Grand Bayou Tribes of the Louisiana Coast have been hit by hurricane and the BP oil spill, not only ripping apart their homes from wind and erosion but also bringing salt water into their freshwater marshes.  And they can’t receive government funding because “they don’t believe there are enough of us to warrant resources.”  Traditional plants are dying and they worry about how the oil spill is affecting their livelihoods and food supplies of oysters, shrimp, and other sea food.  And a Midwestern tribe notes that moon cycles are shifting, seeing an inversion of strawberry and blueberry moons that used to signal planting cycles.

Many say it’s time people stop relying on forms of colonialism, such as public band-aids, to help us navigate our desperate need for food sovereignty amidst wild, game-changing climate shifts.  (“We must return to a calendar based on food; after all, no native moons are named after Roman emperors,” says Winona LaDuke.)

Food sovereignty is, of course, much more than a health and culture boost.  Tribal economists are finding that budgets are “hemorrhaging” up to half of revenues into two categories:  Energy and food.  And only a tiny sliver of that food money stays on the reservation.

So, seed banks are sprouting up as archaeological digs are unearthing 800-year old hard-shelled squashes with fertile seeds.  The Pueblo of Nambe is reclaiming idle land for community gardens, the Taos Food Center is open 24/7 with equipment for people wanting to start a new food business, and the Ute Mountain enterprises are sending sunflower seeds to the Ukraine.

And they’re sharing.  And this is a trending topic; for instance, Dr. Charlotte Cote and others in the American Indian Studies department at the University of Washington are currently sponsoring a “The Living Breath of Wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ”, a symposium about indigenous ways of knowing cultural food practices and ecological knowledge.

Come join us!



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Food Sovereignty: Talking About Health and Hope

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on April 11, 2013

Food.  Tradition.  Culture.  Health.  For American Indians, traditional diets of “First Foods” are being restored through food sovereignty programs.  Simply, when people take control of their own food supplies, they gain better nutrition and food security.  In the case of indigenous populations, they’re also reclaiming cultural practices that were disrupted by colonial interventions such as boarding schools and relocations.

The Food Sovereignty Summit's logo = Three Sisters philosophy.

The Food Sovereignty Summit’s logo = Three Sisters philosophy.

As always, one key to success is COMMUNICATION. 

So here’s my hope:  If you, or somebody you know, have any words of wisdom about community outreach and food security, please email:  I’m part of next week’s  Food Sovereignty Summit , a sustainability collaboration headed by the Oneida Nation.

My goal:  To create a toolbox of communication materials for any grassroots food group redefining their own local food systems. How can we better work together for access to fresh and healthy foods, branding and marketing local products, and collaborating to buy Indian/”stuff from HERE”. Have any suggestions?  Want to partner?

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For my students: Stand out in the job market!

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on March 5, 2013

As we move toward your graduation, I hear that you’re excited yet also a bit nervous about facing an increasingly competitive job market. Job application materials are our first business cards, and a student must be able to express his or her skills  to a potential employer in an articulate, professional manner from the first cover letter through the final interview. As an example, this post outlines the ways in which I communicate my professional and teaching life with blurbs pulled from my resume.
FORMATTING:  First, although Google is still your business card –which is why you should check your name often– your resume/CV must be attractive as both a hard copy and virtual document.
Here’s a copy of my Traditional CV.
And now for some tips about different sections of your resume.
EDUCATION:  Most recent/highest degree first.  If you are just finishing your Bachelor’s, think about including some courses that align with the job specifications.  For instance, I have:
2007 – Ph.D. in Communication, University of Washington.  Dissertation:  “Hard News, Soft News, and Tough Issues:  The Symbiotic Relationships between NGOs, News Agencies, and International Development.  Additional certificates:  Women’s Studies and International Management and Development.
WEB PRESENCE:  Example:  My website is  Write your Twitter ID as @NancyVanLeuven.  Include your Gmail address (it’s more professional than your college student address) e.g.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:  Omit this outdated line because it’s obvious you’re applying for a specific job with a purpose; instead, you can add a section about skills if relevant. Most employers will want to know about your hard and soft skills to make sure you have the practical experience plus social abilities to work well with others.  Use active words/voice as opposed to passive!  For example of hard skills:
Skills:  Marketing and branding, social media, technology, organizational management, groupware, etc.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY:  If you’re applying for teaching jobs, you’re often asked to submit thoughts about how you approach teaching and learning, as well as how you anticipate meeting the needs of your department and/or school.  Here’s an example.
TEACHING EXPERIENCE:  Again, if you’re applying for a job in education, you’ll want to briefly describe the courses you’ve taught.  Maybe you were the primary instructor, or teaching assistant — specify your role and also details that illustrate your skills.  For instance:
2009-2012:  Core Faculty, Presidio Graduate School, San Francisco, CA.  Courses: Managerial Marketing (MBA in Sustainable Development) and Sustainable Development:  Local and Global Institutions and Information Management, Technology, and Policy (MPA in Sustainable Development.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:  Remember that your resume is a marketing/branding tool!  Don’t include every single job back to babysitting; instead, focus on the most relevant skill builders and label volunteer positions that also give you credibility.
PUBLICATIONS:  Since you’re coming from a Communication background, use APA style.  For instance:

2012 – Book chapter in Citizen 2.0:  Public and Governmental Interaction through Web 2.0 Technologies.  “Citizen 2.0: How Government Uses Social Media to Reframe Public Messages.”  IGI Global.

AWARDS:  Keep these short and sweet, but make sure your audience knows you’ve been recognized.  My example:  2011-now – One of the “Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter”


REFERENCES:  “References available upon request” used to be a standard line at the bottom of each resume; now, everybody knows you’ll give them upon advancing, so leave this off.
FINALLY,  if you’ve applied to the right job and emphasize the requested skills, you’ll be called for an interview.  Here are tips about the most common interview questions and ways to think about replying.  And don’t forget to send a professional thank-you note about the experience!

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A great conference teaser: WAGL 2012

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on March 25, 2012

Good thing that I took off teaching for this semester:  Turns out that starting a nonprofit is much more time/energy intensive than I’d have dreamed!  But it’s so, so worthwhile, to learn all the best practices as well as legalities that keep charities focused on missions rather than profits.  And, while my Twitter and Facebook feeds have given some updates about our work with the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana, and the Women as Global Leaders conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, here’s an interesting promotional video for the WAGL conference.  We’ve all been to conferences, and know the spin about value of networks and information sharing, but I think this is an interesting image-only depiction of sustainability (a conference theme), culture, and leadership in the Middle East.  Thoughts?

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Coming soon, Global Spark!

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on February 17, 2012

It’s official:  I’m a co-founder of Global Spark, a nonprofit based in Seattle, WA.  While the formal launch is still a month away, here’s a glimpse:

Global Spark’s mission is to advance community development with a focus on education, social equity and the environment. As an educational partner and charity, we provide low-resource communities, public agencies, and other groups with holistic and sustainable tools such as:

  • Strategic planning
  • Technical support
  • Grantwriting assistance
  • Training

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Power of viral loops and the Ford Explorer

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on January 29, 2012

I’m posting a video that’s about to go viral, if it hasn’t already, of two young boys who’ve adapted “A Thousand Miles” to honor their mother.  But it’s much more than an homage; because their mom died in a first-generation Ford Explorer rollover, these boys are urging people to stop driving the cars and demand that Ford buys them back.  This isn’t the first time that social media has pushed this story forward — in 2010, Fast Company’s Adam Penenberg tweeted the $131M verdict against Ford because of the rollover death of Mets star Brian Cole.  It’s another instance of viral loops that increasingly force light into the darkest, most hidden stories that mainstream media skips.

Google “Ford Rollover” and see the building issue…Ford had better surface soon.

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Moving into a different realm…

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on January 5, 2012

It’s official:  I am now the Global Civic Education and Leadership Fellow for the Center for Legislative Studies at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.As a research fellow, I work to improve civic leadership outcomes tied to the Global Civic Education Leadership Program. I do this by helping guide:

– Curricular,
– Research,
– Service,
– Networking,
– Resource and grant building, and
– Publication projects tied to the Center.

Awesome new job, yes?  Yes!  I am honored to return to BSU (I used to teach in the Communication Studies Department) and this new realm of projects.  If you’d like to collaborate on any projects — especially anything relating to equity, education, and the environment — please let me know!

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While waiting for Keystone…

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on December 17, 2011

Bill McKibbon and others in the Twitterverse are trading readings, which includes this great NYT report on the dangers of permafrost.

“Experts have long known that northern lands were a storehouse of frozen carbon, locked up in the form of leaves, roots and other organic matter trapped in icy soil — a mix that, when thawed, can produce methane and carbon dioxide, gases that trap heat and warm the planet. But they have been stunned in recent years to realize just how much organic debris is there.”

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