Today, my Dean, Lisa Vollendorf, notified me about receiving the 2015 Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Award for the College of the Humanities and the Arts.
I am, honored and ecstatic about the recognition by my colleagues but am most honored to have my work in all of my fields recognized with this award. I’ve blogged about my disciplinary and methodological schisms but have been ever determined to maintain my credentials as a literary scholar of the British Romantics while focusing on history of the book and textual scholarship. My training took me towards scholarly editing and then quite seamlessly into what is now called (or continuously contested as) Digital Humanities. This focus, in turn, led to working in Digital Pedagogy primarily because I work at a teaching institution that values interactions with students above all else. The graduate seminar in Digital Humanities — on the BeardStair Project — marked the turn of implementing what I already knew that I didn’t know: how to collaborate and, by that virtue, how to lead.
The last 4 years’ of work on the Forget Me Not monograph taught me how to manage a large project alone with multiple points of historical documentation. Working on the Forget Me Not Hypertextual Archive taught me editorial principles and digital scholarly editing as well as productive failure. But, working with my co-editors on the Digital Pedagogy project has taught me to be bold and stalwart and tenacious, not with my co-editors, but with believing in the project. The last year and half, though, as Chair of the California Open Educational Resources Council has opened up an entirely new world of learning how to collaborate and by that virtue how to lead…and do it successfully.
I have always made strategic moves about my career and was willful about subverting some of the traditional avenues, though I ended up working through some of those for the monograph. In the last year and a half, the monograph’s page proofs (and the stellar copyeditor’s recommendations) came back with a request for an index, the CA-OER Council got rolling with an unprecedented collaboration among diverse faculty, and the dream of a place for the stuff of digital pedagogy was finally validated (or authorized? or just moving forward?) by the major organization in my discipline.
All at once.
With the CA-OER Council continuing through the summer months, I didn’t have any time off to take care of everything regardless of being bought out of 3 of my 4 courses this Spring semester to continue the work of the CA-OER Council. While in the middle of it, I was in awe that I finally, after 10 years of very hard work and relying on plenty of mentors and great examples of leadership, got ‘er done (as we say in triathlon training).
The move from collaboration to leadership happened because of recent role models: Dean Lisa Vollendorf; my department chair, Shannon Miller; and CSU Asst Vice Chancellor of Academic Technology Gerry Hanley and Leslie Kennedy, Director of Affordable Learning Solutions, CSU. I often went to them for advice about how to lead collaborators towards a common goal, how to work with their passions and goals in order to attain the bigger picture. All that work is ongoing, but it’s nice to know that Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s original advice about 5 years ago was incredibly true: push boundaries, experiment, make mistakes, but have someone to back you up. At this level, the associate professor level, you have to go out and find that for yourself and really embrace that inevitable failure. Kathleen really was exemplary in her own practice of experimentation and demonstrated how to do it.
That 2011 MLA Convention was a tipping point after such an arduous professional journey — and I’ve learned so much along the way.
Now, I’m off to ride bikes really fast for an hour, then back to grading and tomorrow more duties as chair of the CA-OER Council.