Raúl A. Mora – Dissertating across the miles: Survival skills for international students… and their families


Raúl A. Mora – Dissertating across the miles: Survival skills for international students… and their families


Dissertating across the miles: Survival skills for international students… and their families!

Will be presented by

Raúl A. Mora, Assistant Professor at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana

November 2, 2014, 8:00 pm, USA/New York Time Zone)

IMPORTANT NOTE about Upcoming Daylight Saving Time Clock Changes:

Sunday, November 2, 2014: 2:00 AM back to 1:00 AM

At 2:00 AM local time,

the clock is moved back to 1:00 AM in the United States

Visit timeanddate.com for time changes in other areas in the world,

and adjust your time accordingly.

Please join the seminars by clicking on the link below within 90 minutes of the start of the seminar (Click here for technical support if needed)


Pursuing a Ph.D., no matter how you want to frame it, is not an easy feat. If you add to the already hard requirements leaving family and friends behind, or sometimes the issues your own family faces once they move to school with you, and the odds may stack up against you more than you wished for. There’s an element of doing your Ph.D. abroad that may not be fully comprehensible for domestic students and there are levels of support and ideas to cope with everything that only “survivors” who can relate to it can provide.

This seminar, told from the perspective of one of those survivors (and one who had great moments and instances of despair during his doctoral years at the University of Illinois), intends to offer some ideas to help doctoral students and their families on campus and overseas deal with the doctoral program, in particular the dissertation stage. Topics that this seminar will include are:

  • How to garner support from you family… even if it’s just prayers!
  • Helping the dissertator’s family cope with the dissertation (especially if haven’t walked that path)
  • Dealing with language barriers… on campus and at home
  • Facing the tough questions (e.g. what’s your dissertation about?)
  • The importance of study groups… or the value of international students (and recent international PhD graduates) as a safety blanket
  • Why isolation is the worst thing one can make as a dissertator

Doctoral students and candidates, along with MA/MS students working on their master’s theses, are welcome to join us in the seminar. The presenter also encourages students’ families on campus to participate in the seminar. The goal of this seminar is to start a conversation about how to make the doctoral (and dissertation) experience one that is not too onerous to the families. After all, what good is getting a PhD if your family is the cost you may have to pay?

Meet Dr. Raúl A. Mora

Raúl A. Mora

Dr. Raúl A. Mora

Dr. Raúl Alberto Mora, born and raised in Colombia, finished his Ph.D. in Language and Literacy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010, under the tutelage of Dr. Arlette Willis). He is currently an Assistant Professor at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, in his hometown, Medellín. He also coordinates the MA in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages at this university. He teaches undergraduate seminars on communicative competence and teaching methods and graduate seminars on research methods and literacies in second language contexts. His current research focuses on exploring second language literacies in urban contexts in Medellín, both inside and outside of schools.

Recent publications:

Mora, R. A. (forthcoming). Learning and teaching world languages: Four challenges for advanced education in Latin America.

Mora, R. A. (2013). The notion of second languages: Responding to today’s linguistic ecologies. The Journal for ESL Teachers and Learners, Vol. II, 53-61.

Mora, R. A. (2012a). Bourdieu y la formación de docentes: Reflexividad sobre los retos y horizontes en el campo de la educación (Bourdieu and teacher education: Reflexivity about the challenges and horizons in the field of education). Revista Pensamiento Universitario, 23, 55-62.

Mora, R. A. (2012b). Literacidad y el aprendizaje de lenguas: nuevas formas de entender los mundos y las palabras de nuestros estudiantes (Literacy and language learning: new ways to understand our students’ words and worlds). Revista Internacional Magisterio, 58, 52-56.

Mora, R. A., Martínez, J. D., Alzate-Pérez, L., Gómez-Yepes, R., & Zapata-Monsalve, L. M. (2012). Rethinking WebQuests in second language teacher education: The case of one Colombian university. In C. Wankel & P. Blessinger (Eds.) Increasing Student Engagement and Retention using Online Learning Activities: Wikis, Blogs and WebQuests (pp. 291-319) London, UK: Emerald. doi: 10.1108/S2044-9968(2012)000006A013

Mora R. A. & Muñoz Luna, R. (2012). A critical deconstruction of TV ads for online English courses: toward a reconstruction of the concept of second language. In L. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, & I. Candel Torres (Eds.), ICERI2012 Proceedings (pp. 413-421). Madrid, Spain: International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED).

Mora, R. A. (2011). Tres retos para la investigación y formación de docentes en inglés: reflexividad sobre las creencias y prácticas en literacidad (Three challenges for research and English teacher education: a reflexivity on literacy beliefs and practices). Revista Q, 5(10). Available from http://revistaq.upb.edu.co/ediciones/13/364/364.pdf

Keynote Addresses

Mora R. A. (2012b, October). Rethinking the Second/Foreign Language Dichotomy: Can we Still Talk about Foreign Languages in Today’s Language Ecologies? Keynote Presentation at the 47th ASOCOPI Annual Conference, Tuluá (Valle), Colombia.

Mora R. A. (2011, September). Understanding what literacy is and where it comes from: lessons and Implications from a study of teachers and teacher educators. Keynote Presentation at the 14th National ELT Conference, Bogotá D.C., Colombia

Invited Talks

Mora, R. A. (2014, April). Incorporating alternative literacies in second language education in Colombia: Examples from teacher education and research. Skype presentation at Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Mora, R. A. (2013, September). Have we told our children why they should learn another language? A critical discussion on the new roles and questions for language learning in Colombia. Presentation at Seminario Miradas Contemporáneas en Educación, Universidad Distrital “Francisco José de Caldas”, Bogotá. D.C.

Mora, R. A. (2013, January) Linguistics, Languages, and Social Dynamics: An Introduction to (Critical) Discourse Analysis. Guest Lecture at the Department of English, French, and German Philology, Universidad de Málaga

Mora, R. A. (2012, December). Literacidad en la enseñanza de lenguas: Repensando los mundos, las palabras y las lecturas (Literacy in Language Teaching: Rethinking worlds, words, and readings). Guest Lecture at the MA in Applied Linguistics in Spanish as a Foreign Language, Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, Madrid, Spain.

Peer-reviewed presentations

Mora, R. A. (2014, August). New forms of English language use in Medellín, Colombia: An analysis of two studies. Forthcoming paper presentation at ISLE-3 Conference, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Mora, R. A. (2014, May). From novice researcher to mentor: A self-reflexivity exercise on educating teachers-as-researchers. Forthcoming paper presentation at the Tenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Mora, R. A. (2014, February). Critical literacy and English language textbooks: A meta-analysis. Paper presented (via Skype) at Confluence V, India.

Mora, R. A. (2013, November). Nuevas literacidades y multimodalidad: Revisando cómo leemos el mundo, la palabra (y los signos) en las ecologías del lenguaje contemporáneas (New literacies and multimodality: Revising how we read the world, the word (and the signs) in today’s language ecologies). Paper presented (via Skype) at the VII UNESCO International Lectureship Congress, Córdoba, Argentina.

Mora, R. A. (2013, August). El concepto de literacidad en ELE: Nuevas dimensiones para la lectura del mundo y la palabra (The concept of literacy in ELE: New dimensions to reading the world and the word). Paper presented at the 3rd international and 4th national Spanish as a foreign language event, Medellín, Colombia.

Mora, R. A. (2013, April). Reflexivity on the Learning and Teaching of English in Diverse Contexts: Research macroproject for a new MA program in Colombia. Paper presented at the 1st ISLE (Post-)Doctoral Spring School “Englishes in a Multilingual World: New Dynamics of Variation, Contact and Change”. University of Freiburg, Germany.


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