This has been an incredibly busy semester both for me and in the larger educational system of which I am a part. This semester has been one of many transitions. I’ve been tasked with taking over the Association for Educational Communication and Technology’s Instructional Technology Forum (IT FORUM) and it has been a struggle to figure out what I’m allowed to do with that as I transition it from one university to another. Uncertainty can be a crippling thing and made the process very slow, which is more my fault for not asking the right questions of the right people or taking proper advantage of the people who offered help. The former moderators have been wonderful throughout and very patient with me as I have moved forward.
For anyone interested, the blog is here:
The web site is here:
On a related topic, it has been an odd semester. Given that I’ve been teaching a systems theory, change and research course, I should have spent more time thinking about my role in the larger systems of which I am a part, but have spent much more time with students thinking about my local system. I suppose that it is because, as a professional, I feel a need to ensure that system is as functional as possible before I am comfortable seeking change in other systems. Further, the people who rely on me day-to-day need that local system to work for them, me and the people I work with here. The only way I can figure out to do that is to do research. My students have been amazing with that during the semester and it was nice to have them work on a project they had a strongly vested interest in seeing succeed.
In the spring, I spent the entire semester focused entirely focused inward for the Autobiographical Cine-Ethnography project. Looking at the data from that, it was very difficult feeling powerless and overwhelmed. It has made me think much more deeply about how we make our students feel when our systems are dysfunctional and our choices are poor, centered on our own needs first. It has forced me to reflect on how I have treated past students, failing to value them properly, allowing myself to be a poor mentor and friend.
It is a hard thing to give up self-interest in the support of others. As faculty, it should be our mission to be for others first, ourselves second. Isn’t that what the protection of tenure should allow?
Perhaps, beginning here can provide us some direction: