Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Position

I'm pleased to be able to announce that I will be assuming a new professional role this fall, as I step down from my position as the Director of the Assumption College Honors Program and step into my new role as the Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Assumption College.  I will be the Center's founding Director, and am very excited about the opportunity to invent this position, and the office, on our campus.

Of course I won't be inventing the position in a more general sense, in that I have many models to consider as I work this summer and into the fall to put in place our first set of programs.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and speak with many directors of teaching and learning centers around the country--including, most recently, Kevin Barry at the University of Notre Dame's Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning--whose ideas and insights will undoubtedly inform my work.  I am looking forward to connecting with more teaching and learning center folks at conferences in the coming years, beginning with this summer's Teaching Professor Conference, where I'll be doing a presentation on my forthcoming book on academic dishonesty in higher education.

Speaking of which, the book heads into production this month.  I have some final tweaks to make to the index, and then I will finally get this project off my desk for good.  Happy as I am with the final product, I will not be sorry to take a break from it for at least a few months until it actually appears in August of 2013.

In the meantime, I am busy preparing for my visit to the American University of Armenia in mid-May.  The University will be admitting undergraduates for the first time this fall, and so I will spend a few days working with their faculty on making that transition from the teaching of graduate students to undergraduates.  The trip finally motivated me to pull a book called Black Dog of Fate off the shelf, a memoir by Armenian American author Peter Balakian about his slow journey to awareness of the Armenian genocide, and the impact it had on his own family.  The book is beautifully written, and illuminated in disturbing detail the contours of an event that I knew about in only the vaguest terms until now.  I have on my schedule a visit to the genocide museum in Yerevan, and am eager to learn more.

Finally, a new stage begins in my ongoing effort to understand the role that teaching and learning plays in higher education.  My eldest daughter will be heading off to college this fall.  My experience taking tours of college campuses motivated this month's column in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and I expect that my observation of the work of the university from a parent's perspective will continue to inform and inspire new writing and thinking.  Although I won't enjoy paying the tuition bills, I am looking forward to seeing what that new perspective will bring.