Goodbye 2017. Hello 2018!

So much has happened this past year but we cannot forget auld lang syne (times gone by). I started at ESU in 2006 getting a wonderful foundation and inspiration through DMET (MCOM) with a focus on instructional, learning and design technology. I was fortunate to have the awesome mentors of Dr. Elzar Camper and Dr. Shiv Bunjun (Economics), and work alongside of other inspiration colleagues such as Prof. Gary Braman, Dr. Yi-hui Huang, Dr. Richard Otto, Dr. Susan Bonser, Dr. Steve Kohen, Prof. Andrian Wehmeyer, Dr. Carol Walker, Prof. Joan Kistler, Prof. Nicholas D’Angelo and many others. The students inspired me with their creativity, perseverance and ever questioning. After 11 years, it was time to move to pursue the next step.

During this year of transition, I earned the promotion of professor, celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary, and earned a black belt after 19 years (Ph.D., brain tumor, family deaths, and childbirth all were priorities). My husband has been along for the very long ride; both my husband John and son Jaz have been an ongoing encouragement that would put the sun’s stability to shame.

Now, I am grateful for the opportunity to work and learn in the Department Professional and Secondary Education. While working with other brilliant colleagues and education students, they are sharpening me, and hopefully, I am supporting their paths. The students, whether pre-service, in-service teachers or professionals, are passionate about teaching and have a desire to make a positive impact on lives.

In my new role, I strive to learn more about the changing social infrastructure and practicality of the K-12 learning environment so that with others, I can facilitate systemic evolutions. Together, we will better align learning environments with how we know people learn and support students and personnel in their academic, social and emotional growth.

TEDX – Unleash the Power of Teachers

Here is the TEDx that I did this past fall – 2016. The talk focuses on the way we need to re-boot teachers as designers if we are going to remake education for the 21st century. The original talk was 29 minutes but needed to be cut to 18 minutes in order to be posted as a TEDx (TEDx rules).  As a result of the time limit, some thoughts seem incomplete. However, the viewer can uncover the main idea; we need to unleash teachers, stop handcuffing them, and work together to use what we know about learning to redesign education!

Putting a Stake in the Ground (Presentation Given @ AECT 2015 )

Innovations have a record of dissipating after a grant-funded initiative culminates; public policy has changed or is substituted with another new trend. However, if an innovation is worth continuing, it should be sustained. This research study reports on the way an initiative that was initially grant- funded comes to be institutionalized through the use of sustainability dimensions and feedback-based systems thinking in order to create a “win-win” partnership between a university and local elementary school.

The AECT – Systems Thinking & Change

As the incoming president for the AECT’s Division on Systems Thinking and Change, I had the privilege of planning this year’s conference. Since I have the skill of media design, I put myself to work in order to create this year’s minimag for the division. The minimag was very well received and I’m glad to have served in a such way. Many division members supplied content, input and modification suggestions. Thank you all for such fine work!

The AECT Conference is just around the corner! Find out what Systems Thinking and Change is doing!

Professors Purgatory – Learning My Way Out

What is purgatory for a professor? I suspect it is different for each; isn’t that the point of purgatory?  November 2014, I began my purgatory. One of my students, one that I mentored, defended his work… at the defense, he did not display the results of a statistical method according to APA style nor were all the calculated results necessary. One could say, “This was not just your mistake, but your mentee’s.” That makes it worse! The person that I guided made an error due to my lack of oversight! Could there be anything so egregious to a professor! We don’t want to share our ignorance but rather, our insight! Carracci's Purgatory

Excuses – yes, I could make excuses. There was a deficiency of understanding by committee members, who did not complete their work prior to the defense. There was my inability to be insistent on following particular protocol. Regardless of pretexts, the end result was the same. My student was humiliated, and I, probably more so. It was my responsibility, my watch. It was my death.

Wikipedia writers note that Purgatory, is an “intermediate state after physical death in which those destined for heaven “undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven(August 21, 2015). Officially, I don’t ascribe to purgatory, which comes from Roman Catholic doctrine. However, this idea is very convenient for me albeit changing it around – a bit. I didn’t die a physical death but a metaphorical one.

What I found out about this metaphorical death: I survived! It has forced me to re-evaluate goals, say “no” to some tasks, and emphatically state the appropriate protocol in a situation. Prior to this incident, I would easily capitulate to a person’s insistence on issues where I felt less confident. Now, I pause, think of scenarios, review contracts, ask more questions, and I hope, am a little wiser – seeking out advice of experts. I would like to metaphorically think that I was purified in order to move on, to be a better professor and better person.

I love being a professor, but it is challenging if taken seriously. Many of my friends have noted that I have busted the “mythical bubble of professor-hood” when they see me work. They see my long hours, disappointments, frustrations, and probably not enough of the joys. But, they see that I do the work willingly because I love it. Student successes are the best! I have learned that it is impossible to do all things well, which makes me mad. I want to do all things well, but I have my limits! That sticks! The new academic year begins in 3 days. I have learned important lessons, and am ready to move out of own internal purgatory.

AECT presentation: Systemic Framework Supports Sustainability

This presentation at AECT was a lively discussion about the way that systemic thinking can influence that way that we create positive change. Regina Sayles Koilparampil, a former GA – now Alumna, was a great help to explain the roles of trust and how she was able to build the build trust between the university and the school. After this presentation, some in the audience asked that I write about the experience and thinking so that others can better identify leverage points, stakeholder involvement and pressures from supra-systems, peer systems and feedback. I will after the holidays!

Workflow – Water over Rocks

I learn so much from one of my favorite teachers — nature. I walk down the slope to the local stream. I find a stable rock so to stand in middle of the rushing water. With eyes gently opened, I gaze at the water rushing, reminding me of life. Like water, life keeps moving, and there is not a second of a stillness. If there is less motion, it is really because the water gets stuck behind a rock. But, the water doesn’t stop; it revolves in a quick circle, finds an opening and quickly exits to continue finding its way down stream — where it is meant to go. Rocks do not detain water for long. In fact the rocks are shaped and smoothed by the water as it continues to move.

May my activity be like water in a stream. When reaching the rocky obstacles of time, money, and other ideas, may I gently roll over the rocks so that the rocks may be shaped due to my fluid and positive influence. While I move mentally, may beauty be created in the environment so that others moving through either desire to be part of the stream or may  enjoy the milieu. May the stream of my life continue to lead me to where I am meant to go with beauty, persistence and part of the whole.