UCAAC 2014 – part 4

UCAAC E-Knowledge sm
Here are the final few sketches from the UC Academic Advising Conference. I went to two different workshops on the Friday and when I say different I mean polar opposite. One had superhero costumes and databases, one had cops and guns. The session sketched above was given by staff from UC Riverside, and they shared with us some of their “E-Knowledge”, their use of certain databases and websites to gather up student data. The first presenter dressed in a Superman outfit (or maybe Supergirl, minus the Supergirl costume adjustments, I’m not an expert, I’ve been reading a lot more Marvel lately than DC)
UCAAC Active Shooter sm
The final workshop attended was the most interesting by far, albeit disturbing. “Surviving an Active Shooter”, presented by the UC Davis Police, is unfortunately in the United States of America an all too real factor to consider, as we saw tragically at UC Santa Barbara last weekend. Mike Valenzuela was the main presenter and he showed us all a variety of scenarios and types of firearm. I was official sketcher so I didn’t have to take part in the exercise on how to run out of the building. The videos we had to watch were scary to say the least, but the tips they gave on survival, and the mantra of “RUN-HIDE-FIGHT” (very much in that order) were very strong. I would recommend anyone to take a course like this, and many thanks to Mike, Mary, Tim and Janet for offering this workshop. I absolutely hope I never have to use what I learnt.
UCAAC Elizabeth sm
These last couple of sketches are of some UC Davis staff I know, my former department colleague and one of the conference organizers Elizabeth Dudley (I had to include her camera as she is a great photographer), also a keen cyclist and foodie – check out her website, the Cycling Foodie. I must thank Elizabeth, as it was she who recommended me as the official sketcher to the organizing committee (after I had left it too late to register, doh!). Cheers Elizabeth! Below is Cris Breivik, a long-term academic counselor who works with Elizabeth in the L&S Dean’s Office (who I’m sure I have I have sketched before at a meeting or previous conference). He is very well-known on campus and even has a banner devoted to him (it’s near the Silo). I think I captured him quite well.
UCAAC Cris sm
And so that is that. I enjoyed this UC Academic Advising Conference, in both my daily work and my sketching capacities, and am pleased I had the opportunity to live in both worlds for a couple of days. By the way, the UCAAC posted all the sketches on Facebook in this full set: “UCAAC SKetches by Pete Scully” Cheers!

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UCAAC 2014 – part 2

And so, continuing the sketches from day one of the UC Academic Advising Conference at the end of last month…
UCAAC Jenny Blake1 sm
The Keynote Speaker was Jenny Blake. Jenny is an author and career coach who used to work for Google before branching out on her own, travelling the country giving talks and signing her successful book “Life After College”. According to her website, http://jennyblake.me/, she loves helping smart people organize their brain, and it really shows. I’m not one to go for all the motivational speaker stuff that is so popular over here and elsewhere, but I must say that Jenny was extremely inspiring. “Is the life you’re living worth the price you’re paying for it?” This is a great questions for us all. I’m always wondering how to manage my life and all its busy-ness. I’ve had a ‘cluttered’ time the past few years, and even considered reining in stuff like my drawing all the time, as if that would help. Jenny talked a lot about ‘decluttering’, and then at one point she encouraged us all to do something we’ve always loved doing. I realized that in my case I was doing it right there and then – drawing!
UCAAC Jenny Blake2 sm

I felt pretty positive after listening to her speech and my sketches over this conference showed it, . Here is Jenny with the sketches after her talk. Thanks for an excellent seminar!

JennyAfter the keynote speech, it was time for the first afternoon breakout workshop, and I happened to attend one of those which sounded useful but was perhaps a little less up my alley. “Self-care Made Simple”, sketched below, was a popular workshop because while it had little to do with actual advising, it was offering ways to better manage our stressful lives and a lot of people, as they say, love that shit. I came in a few minutes after it had already started, and took one of the only spare seats, which was at the front. The whole place was silent, apparently in the middle of some period of quiet meditation. Ok, I thought, I’ll sit at the back, better view. The only sound in the room was my pencil case opening, the zip tearing through the silence, my pens scratching against the paper. From then, there was standing and stretching, walking about in a circle, there was some hugging (and another session next day also tried getting people to do this thing called hugging – yeah, no, I’m British), there was a lot of conversing (or “ventilation” as they called it) and of course there was “visualization”. They put on a tape which sounded like something from the Dharma Initiative, one of those self-hypnosis things, “Imagine you are on a sandy beach…become the sandy beach, imagine you are that sandy beach”, all that sort of stuff. I really fought hard to Jules Winfield it, “do I LOOK like a BEACH?”, but I didn’t need to break the spell as one lady (who is in the sketch) was asleep and snoring away. That made me smile. I don’t mean to mock the workshop, it was probably really great for almost everyone in the room and I met the presenters and they were very nice and I think they liked my sketch, but as I say, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. (A nice cup of tea is more my cup of tea.)
UCAAC Self Care sm
The final workshop of the day was very interesting and informative. “Helping and Supporting International Students” outlined (in admittedly technical terms with diagrams) the tribulations that are faced by students from other countries adjusting to degree programs in the U.S. I did really enjoy it and recognised a lot of the issues not only with my own experiences of international students at work, but also with my own experiences as someone living in a foreign country (and yes I do still see this as a foreign country – see above under ‘hugging’). There were some foreign students there sharing their experiences, and I sketched away. It’s funny sketching these sort of workshops because they are like a time-lapse photo, the lady speaking by the podium wasn’t there when the students were seated in a panel up front, and the blonde lady with the pink scarf stood to the left is the very same person sat to the right there, at a different moment. An important lesson in sketching however is that none of that matters, you are sketching an hour in history and all of those things were true at various moments. Also, you weren’t there so you don’t know any better (or care, probably).
UCAAC International Students sm
Hope you liked the sketches! Check back for Day Two!

UCAAC 2014, part 1

UCAAC opening 042414 sm
A few weeks ago, I attended the University of California Academic Advising Conference which was held at UC Davis. This conference was always held annually, hosted by a different UC campus each time, and I had previously attended the conferences in 2007 (Anaheim) and 2009 (San Diego). I hoped to go in 2010, however the UC had a big budget crisis and sadly, the advising conferences were cancelled for the foreseeable future. That was a shame, but nobody could afford to send staff on these trips like they used to. There was a mini-revival one year in Riverside, however this year 2014 marked the first year that the beloved “UCAAC” returned in full swing, and our very own campus was to be this year’s host. I however left it too late to register, and almost missed out. Fortunately though, I was at the last minute invited to attend as the “official sketcher”! Many great thanks to the organizers for extending this opportunity to me, I was incredibly honoured and took full advantage (and of course, learnt a lot about advising, this all being massively important for my day job too). I sketched quickly and productively, colouring on site as I went along too, using the smoother but thicker Zeta paper in a Stillman and Birn sketchbook.

Here are my sketches from the first part of the first day!

UCAAC Carolyn de la Pena sm
The Welcome Speaker was Carolyn de la Peña, American Studies professor and vice-provost and dean for undergraduate education, who opened the proceedings. I tried my best to write down some of the things she was saying while sketching her.

UCAAC Creative Strategies sm
The first breakout workshop I attended was about graduate student recruitment (ever wonder what I do all day? That’s a really big part of it). It was called “Creative Strategies” and was presented by Melissa Woehrstein from UCLA. I enjoyed it, and asked questions, but it was just long enough for me to get this whole scene sketched. I did tell Melissa beforehand that I would be sketching, and many of the same people show up in each of my workshop sketches, many of whom I have attended meetings with for years. It’s always funny when they suddenly get to see you in your other guise as the sketcher, I kinda felt like as if Clark Kent wore his cape while sitting at his desk at the Daily Planet (actually he probably does, under his shirt, but that’s the best analogy I can come up with, not that I’m Superman or anything). Anyway hopefully it didn’t distract anyone, but everyone was very positive about my sketches which was nice. Plus I had a badge that said “Official Sketcher” (handwritten admittedly but still, Official).

More to come…

you do the math

mathematical sciences building

I don’t like that expression, by the way. Plus being British I’d say ‘maths’ (though being a Londoner it sounds more like ‘maffs’). A lunchtime sketch; I’d never drawn the front of my work building before, so thought I should give it a go. since one of my other drawings will be adorning the front of the chemistry dept’s new handbook, maybe i’ll use this sketch for something one day too. Or not. There are then still things in Davis I’ve not drawn. It’s just usually too hot to draw them (he says with several full sketchbooks).

Mathematics…it must be popular in California, you always hear about all those math labs on the news, I think. At school, all I wanted was just to pass maths, no better. I quite hated the teacher of the top class, Blindty, an ancient creature who had been teaching there since before Pythagorus got into triangles, and he quite disliked me; well, me and almost everyone else. So I requested to move into the second class (and tried my best not to get moved back up), and as a result had a much much better teacher, Miss Barker, and I passed the GCSE no problem, and restored my self-esteem. I left maths behind at 16, but I’m still pretty good at the numbers game on Countdown. Perhaps I should try to become Vorderman’s replacement?

fish big

help! i'm a fish

for the second day in a row i didn’t leave the office during lunch, because it’s too hot, and i brought something homemade to eat (this time tomato soup; yesterday was jamaican jerk chicken). Both times I got out the superthin copic pens and drew something in the office. Yesterday was the view behind me, today was a detail of the same view, but with the fish that got left out. Why do I have a fish? Well, why not?

I have drawn little cartoon fish around the place. It was something I used to do in England.

The Danish tomte seen yesterday is to the fish’s left. That’s from the fish’s perspective. From your, it’s behind the fish.