Weekly reflection 2016—25

A lightbulb, my symbol of reflection, by Ashes Sitoula

A lightbulb, my symbol of reflection, by Ashes Sitoula

I’ve received Audrey Watters’s “Week in Review” email for a few months now, and I’ve wanted to produce a similar regular weekly reflection of my own. I’ve finally made time to put this newsletter together.

I like Watters’s outline, so I’ve mostly replicated it here with my own twist. Taking Steven Covey’s emphasis on roles and goals, I organize my digital files using present participles. I’ll see what works and what doesn’t, so the first few may not be as consistent as I would like.


  • Drafting a paper on military interventions and group emergence with Christopher Linebarger. We have some interesting statistical results (neutral interventions significantly and positively precede group emergence). We submitted a proposal to present at the International Studies Association meeting in Baltimore next year.
  • Drafting a paper on the strategic benefits of military interventions to interveners with Isaac Castellano. We submitted a proposal to present at the International Studies Association meeting in Baltimore next year.
  • Revising a paper on arming rebels and military interventions. I present a game-theoretic model to look at the effects of arming and the possibility of intervention on bargaining between a rebel group and its government. This paper has languished a bit since presenting it at the Texas Triangle IR Conference in Houston in 2015.


I’m planning two 45-minute talks on civil-military relations in Sweden this August.


We’re finishing the second week of the first summer term at Texas State. I have three courses currently:

In my POSI 3301 and POSI 4327 courses, I’ve introduced specifications grading, a method that focuses on whether or not students satisfactorily meet explicitly specified learning objectives. I found out about the system from Amanda Rosen’s post on Active Learning in Political Science. I’ve also joined a great online group that discusses and share ideas about the method.

I find specifications grading much more objective than points, but students—and I—have learned that it can be harsh for those who do not keep up with the work.


I recently added the Pocket app for collecting online articles and posts to read, so follow my list, and I’ll take a look at yours.

I’ve put topical reading on hold for the next few weeks, until my face-to-face course ends the first week of July. I usually read after lunch, and this course meets 2:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m., which kills that time slot for me.


A few weeks ago, Patricia Shields, editor-in-chief of Armed Forces & Society, appointed me to a book review editor position. I have one book out for review, and another on order to put in the hopper. If you have a relevant book or would like to review for the journal, let me know.


I have two posts in process:

  • My personal uniform: inspired John-Stephen Stansel’s recent post.
  • Your ridiculous email: ways to avoid me hating getting an email from you.


The Texas State University Common Experience thematically ties together campus events and the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series. I’ve represented the Department of Political Science on the working group.

I’m also planning a workshop on the effects of military interventions at Texas State in the spring semester. I’ve had some limited funds promised, but I will apply for an ISA Venture Research Grant.


My wife and have been under contract to buy a house in San Marcos for a few weeks now. We got the appraisal back this week, which came in under the current offer but just above our initial offer. Now we’re hoping the sellers will meet us in the middle.

I’ve also been journaling with pen-and-paper over the last week. I tried journaling a lot over the years, never really succeeding in developing a plan that stuck. The Five Minute Journal system seems to work for me. It’s simple, it really doesn’t take a long time, and the prompts are open enough to encourage me to write freely while directive enough to guide me through writing an entry.

Tweet of the week

I hope you enjoyed this reflection

I look forward to presenting more. If anything piqued your interest, let me know! I’ll follow up with a specific post or two.

Also, if you’re looking for help with your writing, or if you’re sick of Microsoft Word and want to learn a better writing platform, get in touch.

Jeremy L. Wells

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *